What is the typical job description of a warehousing material handler?

A warehouse material handler job description would look something like this:

In search of a reliable and talented individual to act as a Material Handler for our production line. Job duties include organizing supplies, delivering necessary supplies to the production line, pulling orders for shipping and arranging finished products. Additional related duties include labeling product locations, preparing finished items for shipping, and data entry of stock used or created. Candidate must be great at multitasking, time management, organizing and staying detail-oriented.

What does a material handler do in general?

A material handler is very important since this person can make or break warehouse and factory production. Material handlers are responsible for maintaining and organizing all the materials throughout the production process.

What is the salary of a material handler for a warehouse?

The average salary for a material handler is about $29,000 annually or $14.00 an hour. As with any job, this wage can vary depending on the company and location.

On the low side, a material handler can expect about $11.00 per hour or a little under $23,000 each year. On the high side, you may see upwards of $19.00 per hour, which equates to an annual salary of $39,500.

Again, these wages depend on several factors, including where you live. If you live in Wyoming or Iowa, you are in luck! These states have the highest average pay for material handlers. If you find yourself in California or Hawaii, however, you may be at the tail end of this list of average wages per state.

How do I find material handler jobs near me?

You can find a material handler job just about anywhere you live. This position is very common among warehouses, factories, shipyards and construction sites. That being said, at least one of these listed industries are probably near your location. A simple Google search for “Material Handler jobs near me” should provide you with many opportunities.

You should also reach out to your local recruiter so you will have someone who can keep an ear to the ground on possible job openings. Many times, recruiters may be privy to positions with their partner companies that are not open to the public. As well, a recruiter can match you with a job or company that fits your personality, skillset or even lifestyle requirements (such as specific shifts or insurance needs).

What kind of education do I need to become a material handler?

While you can snag a material handler position straight out of high school or with a GED, but some companies do require more. Many material handlers are required to attend company or OSHA-approved training course once they are hired. This is to ensure that they know how to properly handle the materials they will be working with at a specific company. Some material handlers have to deal with items that are heavy, sharp or abrasive. This requires training so they and others don’t get hurt. Other handlers may have to move chemicals, which require training so no one is in danger. Even other handlers may be put on a track to become forklift certified as the materials they move require the use of heavy equipment.

All this is to say that, to become a material handler, you are not required to have any prior training or education but that you should expect it to be a part of the job as you move throughout your career. You can even get ahead of the game by taking on some of these pieces of training beforehand if you are interested in a particular industry or company and know what training and certifications they may want.

What kind of other qualifications do I need to think about to become a material handler?

Again, while there is no formal schooling that you need before becoming a material handler, there are certifications and training opportunities you can seek out to help your resume and job chances. These can include OSHA safety training, a commercial driver’s license (CDL) or hazardous waste management.

You may also want to work on your physical fitness. This job requires many hours of standing, walking, squatting, lifting and moving materials so your endurance and strength must be ready for the work too.

Finally, you may want to consider your prior work experience and resume. If you are applying to become a material handler it looks better on your resume if you have some prior experience in the work environment you will be entering. Having prior experience in a warehouse, factory or construction site indicates to potential employers that you understand the working conditions and goal of the job.

Where do material handlers work?

Given the universal skillset that a material handler brings to the table, this position can be seen in many different industries. Material handlers will typically work in warehouse, factory or construction-site industries. There are many other industries that can utilize a material handler’s skill. An automotive garage may need a material handler who understands how to move, store and maintain flammable liquids like oil and gas. A grocery store may need a material handler who understands how to manage and store food with expiration dates. One thing to keep in mind with these other industries is they may not label the job as a “material handler.” A grocery store may call the position “Inventory Manager” and the automotive garage may call the job “Hazardous Materials Specialist.” While the job title may vary, the overall duties remain the same.

What types of industries can you be a material handler in?

As we discussed above, there isn’t a finite list of industries that require a material handler’s skills. However, there are likely a few common industries you will notice in your job search. These industries include anything that normally falls into the warehousing, manufacturing or construction businesses — think carmakers, construction sites, utility plants or even chemical storage sites.

The reason these industries are so commonly related to a material handler job is simply the nature of their business. These types of industries often work with large amounts of dangerous materials which can be corrosive chemicals, metals that are sharp or heavy objects that could hurt someone if not properly handled. These industries also move large quantities of items, such as a manufacturing plant, so they need someone who can efficiently and accurately organize and move these materials.

What kind of skills do you need for a material handler?

Since a material handler is responsible for the “fuel” of the operation (i.e.— raw materials that become products, or simply the finished products themselves), there are some skills that you should possess to be a good fit for this job. For a material handler to perform well, they should have the following skills:

  • Organization
  • Attention to detail
  • Time management
  • Physically fit
  •  Safety-oriented
  • Hand-eye coordination
  • Multi-tasking

What are similar jobs to a material handler?

When seeking out a particular position, there are quite a few similar titles that a job may fall under. A material handler is no different. If you are looking for material handler jobs, be on the look-out for similar jobs with slightly different names:

  • Stock Handler
  • Package Handler
  • Freight Handler
  • Bulk Material Handler
  • Inventory Handler
  • Chemical Handler
  • Parts Handler

Beyond alternate job titles, some jobs are similar to material handling in the work being done. A Picker is a similar position since they are responsible for picking out exact parts or products to complete orders. A Warehouse/Line Operator is responsible for running a production line or warehouse. This job requires similar organization and time-management skills. Finally, an Order Selector is similar to material handling but normally occurs in the outgoing portion of a warehouse. This job involves picking out finished products, packaging them and preparing them for shipment to the consumer.

Another option to consider, if you are looking to move beyond material handling, is jobs in the same field but with different responsibilities. You may choose to pursue your forklift operator’s license or welding certification and move into one of these jobs, both of which are also often based in the same industries a material handler would be found in.

What is it like to be the lead material handler?

Becoming a lead material handler is fantastic news. It means a pay raise and direct reports, but it also means more responsibilities. Lead material handlers are responsible for all the normal day-to-day tasks as a material handler, but they are also often responsible for coordinating the activities of other material handlers for various areas of operations. A lead material handler needs to organize operations so each department gets the materials they need, when they need them. They are also responsible for overseeing all inventory of materials and restocking these promptly.

Do you need a license to become a material handler?

You do not require a license or prior certification to move into a material handler position. This makes the job the perfect opportunity if you are straight out of high school, college or simply looking for a job without any prior experience.

Many times, a company will take you on without prior training because they want to provide you with their training and necessary certifications. There will be some companies that prefer prior experience or particular certifications, especially if their industry works with special materials. For example, if you are looking to become a material handler at a water treatment facility, it would be a good idea to take a course on proper chemical handling since you may be working with chlorine or hazardous waste disposal in case you are responsible for handling the by-products after the water is cleaned.

Some more general licenses you can receive that will work for any material handler position are safety-related training such as CPR or First Aid. No matter if you work with dangerous materials or not, safety is always an appreciated skill when working in manufacturing or warehousing industries.

What kind of training do you need to become a material handler?

You won’t require any prerequisite training to become a material handler but it is never a bad idea. If you have the time and finances, you may want to seek out optional training that can boost your resume. This can include OSHA safety training, specialized materials handling or first aid certification. These additional pieces of training or certifications may mean the difference between you and another candidate coming in for the same job.