Furnace, Kiln, Oven, Drier, and Kettle Operators and Tenders
51-9051.00

Operate or tend heating equipment other than basic metal, plastic, or food processing equipment. Includes activities such as annealing glass, drying lumber, curing rubber, removing moisture from materials, or boiling soap.

Sample of reported job titles: Annealing Operator, Dry Kiln Operator, Dryer Feeder, Evaporator Operator, Furnace Operator, Kiln Fireman, Kiln Operator, Lime Kiln and Recausticizing Operator, Oven Operator

Occupation-Specific Information

Tasks

  • Monitor equipment operation, gauges, and panel lights to detect deviations from standards.
  • Confer with supervisors or other equipment operators to report equipment malfunctions or to resolve production problems.
  • Press and adjust controls to activate, set, and regulate equipment according to specifications.
  • Record gauge readings, test results, and shift production in log books.
  • Read and interpret work orders and instructions to determine work assignments, process specifications, and production schedules.
  • Examine or test samples of processed substances, or collect samples for laboratory testing, to ensure conformance to specifications.
  • Transport materials and products to and from work areas, manually or using carts, handtrucks, or hoists.
  • Stop equipment and clear blockages or jams, using fingers, wire, or hand tools.
  • Load equipment receptacles or conveyors with material to be processed, by hand or using hoists.
  • Remove products from equipment, manually or using hoists, and prepare them for storage, shipment, or additional processing.
  • Calculate amounts of materials to be loaded into furnaces, adjusting amounts as necessary for specific conditions.
  • Melt or refine metal before casting, calculating required temperatures, and observe metal color, adjusting controls as necessary to maintain required temperatures.
  • Weigh or measure specified amounts of ingredients or materials for processing, using devices such as scales and calipers.
  • Direct crane operators and crew members to load vessels with materials to be processed.
  • Feed fuel, such as coal and coke, into fireboxes or onto conveyors, and remove ashes from furnaces, using shovels and buckets.
  • Replace worn or defective equipment parts, using hand tools.
  • Clean, lubricate, and adjust equipment, using scrapers, solvents, air hoses, oil, and hand tools.
  • Sprinkle chemicals on the surface of molten metal to bring impurities to surface and remove impurities, using strainers.

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Technology Skills

Hot technology Hot Technologies are requirements frequently included in employer job postings.

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Occupational Requirements

Work Activities

  • Controlling Machines and Processes — Using either control mechanisms or direct physical activity to operate machines or processes (not including computers or vehicles).
  • Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events — Identifying information by categorizing, estimating, recognizing differences or similarities, and detecting changes in circumstances or events.
  • Inspecting Equipment, Structures, or Materials — Inspecting equipment, structures, or materials to identify the cause of errors or other problems or defects.
  • Handling and Moving Objects — Using hands and arms in handling, installing, positioning, and moving materials, and manipulating things.
  • Monitoring Processes, Materials, or Surroundings — Monitoring and reviewing information from materials, events, or the environment, to detect or assess problems.
  • Getting Information — Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
  • Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates — Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.
  • Making Decisions and Solving Problems — Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.
  • Judging the Qualities of Objects, Services, or People — Assessing the value, importance, or quality of things or people.
  • Performing General Physical Activities — Performing physical activities that require considerable use of your arms and legs and moving your whole body, such as climbing, lifting, balancing, walking, stooping, and handling materials.
  • Processing Information — Compiling, coding, categorizing, calculating, tabulating, auditing, or verifying information or data.
  • Operating Vehicles, Mechanized Devices, or Equipment — Running, maneuvering, navigating, or driving vehicles or mechanized equipment, such as forklifts, passenger vehicles, aircraft, or watercraft.
  • Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge — Keeping up-to-date technically and applying new knowledge to your job.
  • Analyzing Data or Information — Identifying the underlying principles, reasons, or facts of information by breaking down information or data into separate parts.
  • Documenting/Recording Information — Entering, transcribing, recording, storing, or maintaining information in written or electronic/magnetic form.
  • Organizing, Planning, and Prioritizing Work — Developing specific goals and plans to prioritize, organize, and accomplish your work.
  • Evaluating Information to Determine Compliance with Standards — Using relevant information and individual judgment to determine whether events or processes comply with laws, regulations, or standards.
  • Coordinating the Work and Activities of Others — Getting members of a group to work together to accomplish tasks.
  • Training and Teaching Others — Identifying the educational needs of others, developing formal educational or training programs or classes, and teaching or instructing others.

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Detailed Work Activities

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Work Context

  • Wear Common Protective or Safety Equipment such as Safety Shoes, Glasses, Gloves, Hearing Protection, Hard Hats, or Life Jackets — 100% responded “Every day.”
  • Sounds, Noise Levels Are Distracting or Uncomfortable — 82% responded “Every day.”
  • Very Hot or Cold Temperatures — 76% responded “Every day.”
  • Exposed to Contaminants — 83% responded “Every day.”
  • Indoors, Not Environmentally Controlled — 81% responded “Every day.”
  • Responsible for Others' Health and Safety — 57% responded “Very high responsibility.”
  • Face-to-Face Discussions — 68% responded “Every day.”
  • Spend Time Using Your Hands to Handle, Control, or Feel Objects, Tools, or Controls — 57% responded “Continually or almost continually.”
  • Exposed to Minor Burns, Cuts, Bites, or Stings — 65% responded “Every day.”
  • Consequence of Error — 60% responded “Extremely serious.”
  • Importance of Being Exact or Accurate — 39% responded “Very important.”
  • Responsibility for Outcomes and Results — 47% responded “Very high responsibility.”
  • Impact of Decisions on Co-workers or Company Results — 40% responded “Very important results.”
  • Spend Time Standing — 50% responded “Continually or almost continually.”
  • Work With Work Group or Team — 44% responded “Extremely important.”
  • Duration of Typical Work Week — 66% responded “40 hours.”
  • Structured versus Unstructured Work — 32% responded “A lot of freedom.”
  • Contact With Others — 41% responded “Constant contact with others.”
  • Exposed to Hazardous Equipment — 56% responded “Every day.”
  • Freedom to Make Decisions — 32% responded “A lot of freedom.”
  • Pace Determined by Speed of Equipment — 43% responded “Extremely important.”
  • Spend Time Making Repetitive Motions — 41% responded “Continually or almost continually.”
  • Frequency of Decision Making — 57% responded “Every day.”
  • Physical Proximity — 31% responded “Very close (near touching).”
  • Importance of Repeating Same Tasks — 30% responded “Important.”
  • Spend Time Bending or Twisting the Body — 25% responded “Continually or almost continually.”
  • Spend Time Walking and Running — 32% responded “Less than half the time.”

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Experience Requirements

Job Zone

Title
Job Zone Two: Some Preparation Needed
Education
These occupations usually require a high school diploma.
Related Experience
Some previous work-related skill, knowledge, or experience is usually needed. For example, a teller would benefit from experience working directly with the public.
Job Training
Employees in these occupations need anywhere from a few months to one year of working with experienced employees. A recognized apprenticeship program may be associated with these occupations.
Job Zone Examples
These occupations often involve using your knowledge and skills to help others. Examples include orderlies, counter and rental clerks, customer service representatives, security guards, upholsterers, and tellers.
SVP Range
3 months to 1 year of preparation (4.0 to < 6.0)

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Training & Credentials

State training
Local training
Certifications
State licenses
Apprenticeships
Have a career path or location in mind? Visit Apprenticeship.gov external site to find apprenticeship opportunities near you.

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Worker Requirements

Skills

  • Operations Monitoring — Watching gauges, dials, or other indicators to make sure a machine is working properly.
  • Active Listening — Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
  • Critical Thinking — Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions, or approaches to problems.
  • Monitoring — Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.
  • Operation and Control — Controlling operations of equipment or systems.
  • Reading Comprehension — Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work-related documents.
  • Speaking — Talking to others to convey information effectively.
  • Quality Control Analysis — Conducting tests and inspections of products, services, or processes to evaluate quality or performance.

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Knowledge

  • Mechanical — Knowledge of machines and tools, including their designs, uses, repair, and maintenance.
  • Production and Processing — Knowledge of raw materials, production processes, quality control, costs, and other techniques for maximizing the effective manufacture and distribution of goods.
  • Public Safety and Security — Knowledge of relevant equipment, policies, procedures, and strategies to promote effective local, state, or national security operations for the protection of people, data, property, and institutions.

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Education

How much education does a new hire need to perform a job in this occupation? Respondents said:

  • 56%
     
    responded: High school diploma or equivalent requiredmore info
  • 21%
     
    responded: Less than high school diploma required
  • 16%
     
    responded: Post-secondary certificate required

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Worker Characteristics

Abilities

  • Problem Sensitivity — The ability to tell when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong. It does not involve solving the problem, only recognizing that there is a problem.
  • Control Precision — The ability to quickly and repeatedly adjust the controls of a machine or a vehicle to exact positions.
  • Oral Comprehension — The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
  • Written Comprehension — The ability to read and understand information and ideas presented in writing.
  • Arm-Hand Steadiness — The ability to keep your hand and arm steady while moving your arm or while holding your arm and hand in one position.
  • Near Vision — The ability to see details at close range (within a few feet of the observer).
  • Speech Recognition — The ability to identify and understand the speech of another person.
  • Information Ordering — The ability to arrange things or actions in a certain order or pattern according to a specific rule or set of rules (e.g., patterns of numbers, letters, words, pictures, mathematical operations).
  • Oral Expression — The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.
  • Reaction Time — The ability to quickly respond (with the hand, finger, or foot) to a signal (sound, light, picture) when it appears.
  • Selective Attention — The ability to concentrate on a task over a period of time without being distracted.
  • Speech Clarity — The ability to speak clearly so others can understand you.
  • Deductive Reasoning — The ability to apply general rules to specific problems to produce answers that make sense.
  • Inductive Reasoning — The ability to combine pieces of information to form general rules or conclusions (includes finding a relationship among seemingly unrelated events).
  • Manual Dexterity — The ability to quickly move your hand, your hand together with your arm, or your two hands to grasp, manipulate, or assemble objects.
  • Multilimb Coordination — The ability to coordinate two or more limbs (for example, two arms, two legs, or one leg and one arm) while sitting, standing, or lying down. It does not involve performing the activities while the whole body is in motion.
  • Perceptual Speed — The ability to quickly and accurately compare similarities and differences among sets of letters, numbers, objects, pictures, or patterns. The things to be compared may be presented at the same time or one after the other. This ability also includes comparing a presented object with a remembered object.
  • Trunk Strength — The ability to use your abdominal and lower back muscles to support part of the body repeatedly or continuously over time without "giving out" or fatiguing.

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Interests

Interest code: RC
Want to discover your interests? Take the O*NET Interest Profiler at My Next Move.
  • Realistic — Realistic occupations frequently involve work activities that include practical, hands-on problems and solutions. They often deal with plants, animals, and real-world materials like wood, tools, and machinery. Many of the occupations require working outside, and do not involve a lot of paperwork or working closely with others.
  • Conventional — Conventional occupations frequently involve following set procedures and routines. These occupations can include working with data and details more than with ideas. Usually there is a clear line of authority to follow.

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Work Values

  • Support — Occupations that satisfy this work value offer supportive management that stands behind employees. Corresponding needs are Company Policies, Supervision: Human Relations and Supervision: Technical.
  • Independence — Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to work on their own and make decisions. Corresponding needs are Creativity, Responsibility and Autonomy.
  • Relationships — Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to provide service to others and work with co-workers in a friendly non-competitive environment. Corresponding needs are Co-workers, Moral Values and Social Service.

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Work Styles

  • Attention to Detail — Job requires being careful about detail and thorough in completing work tasks.
  • Dependability — Job requires being reliable, responsible, and dependable, and fulfilling obligations.
  • Self-Control — Job requires maintaining composure, keeping emotions in check, controlling anger, and avoiding aggressive behavior, even in very difficult situations.
  • Initiative — Job requires a willingness to take on responsibilities and challenges.
  • Stress Tolerance — Job requires accepting criticism and dealing calmly and effectively with high-stress situations.
  • Cooperation — Job requires being pleasant with others on the job and displaying a good-natured, cooperative attitude.
  • Independence — Job requires developing one's own ways of doing things, guiding oneself with little or no supervision, and depending on oneself to get things done.
  • Achievement/Effort — Job requires establishing and maintaining personally challenging achievement goals and exerting effort toward mastering tasks.
  • Concern for Others — Job requires being sensitive to others' needs and feelings and being understanding and helpful on the job.
  • Adaptability/Flexibility — Job requires being open to change (positive or negative) and to considerable variety in the workplace.
  • Persistence — Job requires persistence in the face of obstacles.
  • Leadership — Job requires a willingness to lead, take charge, and offer opinions and direction.
  • Integrity — Job requires being honest and ethical.
  • Innovation — Job requires creativity and alternative thinking to develop new ideas for and answers to work-related problems.
  • Analytical Thinking — Job requires analyzing information and using logic to address work-related issues and problems.

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Workforce Characteristics

Wages & Employment Trends

Median wages (2021)
$21.01 hourly, $43,710 annual
State wages
Local wages
Employment (2020)
17,800 employees
Projected growth (2020-2030)
Slower than average (1% to 5%)
Projected job openings (2020-2030)
1,800
State trends
Top industries (2020)

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics 2021 wage data external site and 2020-2030 employment projections external site. “Projected growth” represents the estimated change in total employment over the projections period (2020-2030). “Projected job openings” represent openings due to growth and replacement.

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Job Openings on the Web

State job openings
Local job openings

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