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How to Become a Material Handler: A Comprehensive Guide

Considering a career as a Material Handler? Hamilton Connections is here to guide you. We’ll explain what it takes to excel in this role, and ensure you understand the responsibilities and rewards involved. Let’s begin the journey towards your new, satisfying career.

So, What is a Material Handler and What Do They Do?

A Material Handler plays a crucial role within the logistics department of any manufacturing company. They ensure the seamless flow of materials, from one location to another, aiding in producing the final products which reach our homes and businesses.

This role requires them to safely handle, neatly organize and correctly store various kinds of materials, which may or may not be hazardous. Core tasks involve ensuring transportation items are loaded and unloaded meticulously, accurately tracking the status of items in the warehouse inventory, and verifying that deliveries correspond precisely with the initial purchase orders.

Here are some of the tasks carried out by a Material Handler (these were taken from one of our recent job listings):

  • Driving forklifts to move materials in and out of pallet racks
  • Ensuring materials are delivered on time to assemblers
  • Using Microsoft Word’s label program to create labels
  • Disposing waste cardboard and lumber in designated dumpsters
  • Assembling and disassembling pallet racks and shelves as required
  • Conducting special inventory counts for the buyer or planner
  • Packing of products to prepare them for shipping
  • Performing other assigned duties as required

Usual Job Requirements

If you possess previous forklift operation experience and certification (more on this below), this is an excellent start. As with most jobs, an essential requirement is a minimum of a high school diploma or GED. Organizational skills are also paramount to ensure the right components reach assemblers on time, helping maintain a smooth workflow. Given the nature of the role, you should also be able to handle its physical aspects, including lifting weight up to 70 lbs. Attention to detail, careful handling, and organized thinking are crucial skills for this important role.

Forklift Operator Certification

Forklift holding 2 boxes

Material Handler positions usually require forklift certification. Operating one can be dangerous if not done correctly, hence, safety training is needed. This training doesn’t take a lot of time, you can finish it in as little as 8 hours.

The training involves a process.

  1. First, you need to find a school that offers the training. You can see a list of schools that offer forklift training in Connecticut here: https://forkliftlicenseguide.com/forklift-license-in-connecticut.
  2. Sign up and pay for the course. It might cost you a bit, usually around $100 or less, depending on how long the course takes.
  3. The course consists of classroom lessons, which include lectures and discussions.
  4. Afterwards, you take a written test, which you need to pass at 80%.
  5. Then, you do some practical training, where you’ll get to operate the forklift and perform tasks like loading and unloading, lifting loads, and maneuvering in tight spaces.

A trainer will evaluate your skills, and if you pass, you receive a certificate of training and an operator license card. These prove that you’ve completed the training and are certified to operate a forklift. Remember, you need to renew your certification every three years.

Pay Rate

Based on data from Zippia, Material Handlers in the United States earn an average salary of about $33,215 per year, which equates to a national average hourly wage of $15.97. However, one of our current job listings for a Material Handler position located in Connecticut, is even more competitive – starting at an impressive $20.54 per hour, highlighting the potential for higher earning within specific regions and job placements.

With this comprehensive guide, we hope you’re ready to embark on this rewarding career journey. Your perfect Material Handler position could be waiting for you among our job listings at Hamilton Connections. Please explore your opportunities here.

If you have any questions or need further assistance, never hesitate to reach out to us. At Hamilton Connections, we’re here for you every step of your career journey.