The education level and qualifications needed to enter these jobs vary depending on the industry and employer. Although a high school diploma is enough for most jobs, experience and extra training is needed for more advanced assembly work.
Most employers require a high school diploma or equivalent for assembler positions. Workers usually receive on-the-job training, sometimes including employer-sponsored technical instruction.
Some employers may require specialized training or an associate’s degree for the most skilled assembly jobs. For example, jobs with electrical, electronic, and aircraft and motor vehicle products manufacturers typically require more formal education through technical schools.
The Fabricators & Manufacturers Association International (FMA) offers the Precision Sheet Metal Operator (PSMO) Certification. Although not required, becoming certified can demonstrate competence and professionalism. It also may help a candidate advance in the profession.
In addition, many employers that hire electrical and electronic assembly workers, especially those in the aerospace and defense industries, require certifications in soldering, such as those offered by the Association Connecting Electronics Industries.
Color vision. Assemblers and fabricators who make electrical and electronic products must be able to distinguish different colors because the wires they work with often are color coded.
Dexterity. Assemblers and fabricators must grasp, manipulate, or assemble parts and components that are often very small. As a result, they should have a steady hand and good hand-eye coordination.
Math skills. As the manufacturing process continues to advance technologically, assemblers and fabricators must know basic math and must be able to use computers.
Mechanical skills. Modern production systems require assemblers and fabricators to be able to use programmable motion control devices, computers, and robots on the factory floor.
Physical strength. Assemblers and fabricators must be strong enough to lift heavy components or pieces of machinery. Some assemblers, such as those in the aerospace industry, must frequently bend or climb ladders when assembling parts.
Stamina. Assemblers and fabricators must be able to stand for long periods and perform repetitious work.
Technical skills. Assemblers and fabricators must be able to understand technical manuals and schematics for a wide range of products and machines to properly manufacture the final product.
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2012-13 Edition