Materials Handler apprenticeship

Description of an apprenticeship as a Materials Handler

Materials Handler apprenticeship

O*NET code: 53-7199.99

Visit the Occupational Outlook Handbook for a detailed description of this trade. Type the trade name in the search box and hit enter.


Material moving/handler workers are categorized into two groups: operators and laborers. Operators use machinery to move construction materials, earth, petroleum products, and other heavy materials. Generally, they move materials over short distances-around a construction site, factory, or warehouse. Some move materials onto or off of trucks and ships. Operators control equipment by moving levers or foot pedals, operating switches, or turning dials. They may also set up and inspect equipment, make adjustments, and perform minor repairs when needed. Laborers and hand material movers manually handle freight, stock, or other materials; clean vehicles, machinery, and other equipment; feed materials into or remove materials from machines or equipment; and pack or package products and materials.

Material moving occupations are classified by the type of equipment they operate or goods they handle. Each piece of equipment requires different skills to move different types of loads.

Work process schedule

On-the-job training
Most material moving jobs require little work experience or specific training. Some employers prefer applicants with a high school diploma, but most simply require workers to be at least 18 years old and physically able to perform the work. For those jobs requiring physical exertion, employers may require that applicants pass a physical exam. Some employers also require drug testing or background checks before employment. These workers often are younger than workers in other occupations-reflecting the limited training but significant physical requirements of many of these jobs.

Material workers generally learn skills informally, on the job, from more experienced workers or supervisors. However, workers who use industrial trucks, other dangerous equipment, or handle toxic chemicals must receive specialized training in safety awareness and procedures.

To download a complete description and work process schedule for this trade click on the folder shown above.

Related technical instruction

The Commonwealth of Massachusetts requires 150 hours each year of related technical instruction which must be mastered by the apprentice in order to successfully complete the program. For further information, please call the Division of Apprentice Standards at (617) 626-5409.