Paper Processing Workers

Paper Machines in Factory

In papermaking, wood, recycled paper, and a small amount of vegetable fibers are turned into pulp, which is spread in a very thin layer, pressed, and dried. The mass-production processes in which large quantities of paper are made involve the use of highly complicated machinery. Paper processing workers are skilled and semiskilled production workers who complete this process. Also among this group of workers are research, technical, and supervisory personnel, who play various roles in the production of the end product. Approximately 91,400 people are employed as paper goods machine setters, operators, and tenders. The United States was the leading producer of paper products until the market was taken over by China in 2009.

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Quick Facts
Alternate Title(s) Paper Machine Operators
Duties Start machines and synchronize speed of components; measure, space, and set saw blades; test samples of the digester liquid and other paper-making products; use power tools to cut products; monitor output and correct production problems
Salary Range Below $25,000 to $75,000
Work Environment Primarily Indoors
Best Geographical Location(s) Opportunities exist in all regions with greater demand in the northwest and southeast
Minimum Education Level
  • High School Diploma
School Subjects
  • Chemistry
  • Computer Science
  • Technical/Shop
Experience On-the-job training
Personality Traits
  • Hands On
  • Problem-Solving
  • Technical
  • Interpersonal
  • Math
  • Mechanical/Manual Dexterity
Certification or Licensing None
Special Requirements None
Employment Prospects Fair
Advancement Prospects Good
Outlook Decline
Career Ladder
  • Supervisor
  • Paper Machine Operator
  • Paper Processing Workers