Other Wood Processing Machine Operators

Occupation:Machine Operators in Woodworking and Wood Processing
Category:Manufacturing and Utilities

About the job

Nature of work:

This group includes machine-related jobs that require some skill and are generally performed inside a building. These workers assist with repairs and maintenance of machinery; feed conveyors and other equipment; handle materials; monitor machine operations; and clean work areas.

Other machine operators in wood processing remove bark from logs, produce wood chips, preserve and treat wood, and produce wood products such as particle board, plywood, or veneer. They are employed in sawmills, pulp mills, planing mills, wood treatment plants, waferboard plants and other wood processing plants.

Woodworking machine operators make and repair wooden parts for furniture and other wood products. They are employed in furniture, fixture and other wood products manufacturing establishments.

Job duties:
Machine operators in this group perform some or all of the following duties:
  • Operate and tend various wood processing equipment and machines to remove bark, knots and dirt from logs; reduce logs or sawmill waste into wood chips or flakes; stack and band lumber; screen wood chips; and produce waferboards, particleboards, hardboards and insulation boards.
  • Operate and tend conveyors, lathes, sanding machines and other equipment to peel and slice veneer from logs and log sections, and to glue, press, trim, sand and splice veneer sheets.
  • Operate and tend kilns, treating tanks and other equipment to dry lumber and other wood products, and to treat chemically and impregnate wood products with preservatives.
  • Observe equipment, panel indicators, video monitors, and other instruments to detect malfunctions and ensure that processes are operating according to specifications.
  • Assemble plywood panels and repair plywood and veneer mechanically or manually.
  • Start up, shut down, set up, adjust and assist in maintaining processing equipment and machines as required.
  • Complete and maintain production reports.
Woodworking machine operators perform some or all of the following duties:
  • Set up, program and operate one or more computer numerically controlled (CNC) or manual woodworking machines such as saws, moulders, lathes, routers, planers, edgers, pressing machines, shapers, drills and sanders to fabricate or repair wooden parts for furniture, fixtures and other wood products.
  • Operate gluing machines to glue pieces of wood together or press and affix wood veneer to wood surfaces.
  • Operate preset special-purpose woodworking machines to fabricate wood products such as coat hangers, mop handles, clothes pins and other products.
  • Read and interpret specifications or follow verbal instructions.
  • May clean and lubricate equipment, and replace parts as necessary.
Sample job titles:
  • chipper operator - wood processing
  • drill press operator - woodworking
  • lathe operator - woodworking
  • lumber kiln operator
  • machine plywood patcher
  • machine sander - woodworking
  • planer - woodworking
  • plywood press operator
  • power saw operator - woodworking
  • wood treater

To work in these jobs, you should be responsible, alert, and in good physical health. Coordination, agility, and a mechanical aptitude are important. You must be accurate and attentive to detail. You must also be able to take direction and carry out instructions given by a supervisor.

Job requirements:
  • Completion of some secondary school is usually required.
  • On-the-job training is usually provided.
  • Some college or company courses may be required for some jobs within this group.
Other considerations:

These are largely rural jobs, and self-employment is not common. Generally, work is carried out in shifts at various hours of the day. Previous experience as a labourer within the same company is usually required as an entry point to this group of jobs. Mobility is common among jobs in this group. Progression to supervisory positions is possible with experience.

Labour Market Information

Work Prospects:Undetermined

This is not a large occupation in Nova Scotia so job opportunities may not be that frequent. The number employed in this occupation is expected to decline moderately over the next few years, which will likely limit the number of new opportunities available. With a large percent of workers being 55 years of age and older, retirements are expected to be a key contributor to employment opportunities over the coming years. Machine Operators in Woodworking and Wood Processing most commonly work full-time hours. Furthermore, the jobs are typically permanent positions.

The median employment income for 60% of Machine Operators in Woodworking and Wood Processing who worked full-time, year-round in 2015 was $38,660. Across all occupations in Nova Scotia, 59% of those who worked full-time year round had a median employment income of $43,600.
(Source: 2016 Census)

OccupationEstimated employment in 2018Estimated change in employment between 2017 and 2019Estimated openings due to growth and retirements, 2017-2019Estimated rate of unemployment in 2018 Estimated hourly earnings in 2015 (learn more)Estimated annual earnings in 2015
Other Wood Processing Machine Operators205Decline20x
Minimum: $12.80
Median: $19.00
Maximum: $24.52
Minimum: $5,766
Median: $29,631
Maximum: $63,100
All NS Occupations427,305Weak growth33,315Moderate
Minimum: $11.00
Median: $19.89
Maximum: $40.00
Minimum: $2,872
Median: $29,983
Maximum: $83,126
Other Wood Processing Machine OperatorsCompared to: All NS Occupations
Percent employed full-time86%78%
Percent self-employed0%10%
Where will I likely work?
Area of EmploymentOther Wood Processing Machine OperatorsCompared to: All NS Occupations
% EmployedMedian Annual Income% EmployedMedian Annual Income
Cape Breton16%x13%$32,974
Annapolis Valley16%x13%$32,958
What are the workers like?
AgeOther Wood Processing Machine OperatorsCompared to: All Manufacturing and Utilities
% Employed% Employed
Median Agex45
GenderOther Wood Processing Machine OperatorsCompared to: All NS Occupations
% Employed% Employed
EducationOther Wood Processing Machine OperatorsCompared to: All Manufacturing and Utilities
% EmployedMedian Annual Income% EmployedMedian Annual Income
Less than high school25.0%$60,42522.9%$21,011
High school23.8%$52,60038.1%$28,358
Trades certificate19.0%x12.4%$37,356
College certificate or diploma28.6%x20.3%$36,968
University certificate or diploma2.4%x1.1%$35,915
Bachelor's degree4.8%x4.4%$36,852
University advanced certificate or diplomaN/Ax0.3%$55,581
Master's degreeN/Ax0.5%x
Medicine, dentistry, veterinary, optometryN/Ax0.1%N/A
Wage Disclaimer

Hourly earnings data are from the Labour Force Survey by Statistics Canada. Data are not available for all occupations. Hourly earnings are calculated based on usual hours worked per week. This is how an annual salary, for instance, gets converted to an hourly rate. The data include full and part-time workers along with new and experienced workers. Self-employed workers are excluded.

Annual employment income data reported in the Work Prospects section, are from the 2011 National Household Survey by Statistics Canada. Much of the data (around 70%) came directly from tax records. The data relates to the year 2010 and includes total wages and salaries and net income from self-employment.


Employment Requirements & Contacts

No regulating bodies were found under this occupation profile
Useful contacts:
63 Otter Lake Court, 2nd Floor
Halifax, NS B3S 1M1
Tel: (902) 455-9327

Training Paths & Education

Program Name:Adult high school/secondary diploma programs
Education Level:This program is typically offered at the high school level.
Program Description:
This instructional program class comprises any program that defines the prescribed requirements, specified by the appropriate jurisdiction, for the completion of and graduation from a secondary school program of academic subject matter offered for adult learners outside of the regular secondary school program. This does not include adult compensatory education programs resulting in completion of a high school equivalency certificate or diploma.
See all institutions providing this program+
Universite Sainte-Anne
Siège Social: 1695, Route 1
Pointe-de-l'Église, NS B0W 1M0
(902) 769-2114
Nova Scotia Community College - Annapolis Valley Campus
50 Elliott Road
Lawrencetown, NS B0S 1M0
(902) 825-3491
Nova Scotia Community College - Cumberland Campus
PO Box 550, 1 Main Street
Springhill, NS B0M 1X0
(902) 597-3737
Nova Scotia Community College - Akerley Campus
21 Woodlawn Road
Dartmouth, NS B2W 2R7
(902) 491-4900
Nova Scotia Community College - Burridge Campus
372 Pleasant Street
Yarmouth, NS B5A 2L2
(902) 742-3501
Nova Scotia Community College - Kingstec Campus
236 Belcher Street
Kentville, NS B4N 0A6
(902) 678-7341
Nova Scotia Community College - Lunenburg Campus
75 High Street
Bridgewater, NS B4V 1V8
(902) 543-4608
Nova Scotia Community College - Institute of Technology Campus
5685 Leeds Street
Halifax, NS B3K 2T3
(902) 491-6722
Nova Scotia Community College - Pictou Campus & School of Fisheries
PO Box 820, 39 Acadia Avenue
Stellarton, NS B0K 1S0
(902) 752-2002
Nova Scotia Community College - Shelburne Campus
PO Box 760, 1575 Lake Road
Shelburne, NS B0T 1W0
(902) 875-8640
Nova Scotia Community College - Strait Area Campus & Nautical Institute
226 Reeves Street
Port Hawkesbury, NS B9A 2A2
(902) 625-2380
Nova Scotia Community College - Marconi Campus
PO Box 1042, 1240 Grand Lake Road
Sydney, NS B1P 6J7
(902) 563-2450
Nova Scotia Community College - Truro Campus
36 Arthur Street
Truro, NS B2N 1X5
(902) 893-5385
Program Name:Machine tool technology/machinist
Education Level:This program is typically offered at the trades/college level.
Program Description:
This instructional program class comprises any program that prepares individuals to apply technical knowledge and skills to plan, manufacture, assemble, test, and repair parts, mechanisms, machines, and structures in which materials are cast, formed, shaped, moulded, heat treated, cut, twisted, pressed, fused, stamped or worked.
See all institutions providing this program+
Nova Scotia Community College - Kingstec Campus
236 Belcher Street
Kentville, NS B4N 0A6
(902) 678-7341
Nova Scotia Community College - Pictou Campus & School of Fisheries
PO Box 820, 39 Acadia Avenue
Stellarton, NS B0K 1S0
(902) 752-2002
Apprenticeship Training
Department of Labour and Advanced Education 2021 Brunswick Street, PO Box 578
Halifax, NS B3J 2S9
(800) 494-5651
Additional resources:

There are no additional resources for this occupation.