What does a loader do?

A loader must face daily challenges and changes to move light or heavy items in a warehouse in preparation for shipping the items. You will have a major impact on the success or failure of logistics operations regarding storage and transportation. Your work as a loader involves consistently inspecting and moving hundreds or thousands of different products. The most important part of the job is verifying and preparing the right items for delivery by a specific deadline.

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What is the average loader salary?

The average mean annual salary for tank car, truck, and ship loaders in May 2021 was $55,330, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The mean hourly wage was $26.60. Wages range from $33,090 to $79,860 per year, which translates to hourly wages of $15.91 to $38.39.


Working as a loader

A positive attitude, problem-solving abilities, and flexibility are important qualities for your work as a loader. You must be resilient at facing new challenges with the understanding a loader works in a fast-paced environment.

Diverse duties

Every warehouse is different, but many have moved toward consolidating positions so that a loader might also be a picker and a packer. A manufacturing plant uses equipment such as machine feeders that process materials. You will likely need to learn how to shift materials when machines become jammed. Some loaders also play the role of stockers who fill orders and track merchandise with handheld scanners.

What are the responsibilities of a loader?

Loaders work with pickers. A picker moves through aisles and pulls inventory items from shelves, and then places them on carts or pallets, which are wooden crate-like platforms. A loader makes sure that the right pallets are loaded on the appropriate trucks in preparation for delivery. During much of a regular workday, a loader manually wraps product bundles and arranges them safely on pallets so that they can be moved easily.

What types of equipment do loaders use?

Different warehouses use their own selection of machinery for picking, packing, and loading. The most common machines for moving items are forklifts, pallet jacks, and cranes. A pallet jack is like a wagon for manual transport, while cranes are used to move items too heavy for humans to lift by hand. Operating a crane requires certification as it is a very delicate process. As a picker, you also use handheld scanners to log the items that you load and possibly a computer system to track them.

What is the work environment of a loader?

You must enjoy the warehouse environment in order to be a successful loader. Warehouses are typically large facilities that store supplies and products, but many times, loaders are stationed in one area. They walk or drive forklifts and use scanners to verify the proper items to load onto pallets. The work is indoors, but warehouses can sometimes be hot in the summer and cold in the winter. Employers will train you on OSHA guidelines and enforce these rules and standards to maintain a safe work environment. Loaders may also load products outside on occasion. Travel will not be required.

Who are your colleagues as a loader?

Aside from pickers and packers, loaders work with truck drivers and  warehouse associates. In many cases, the warehouse customer is a truck driver, particularly at a wholesale storage facility. As a loader, you will work with order processors and others throughout the supply chain. You will also coordinate the transport of items with signal machine operators and keep records of inventory movement.

What is the work schedule of a loader?

Many loaders work late night and early morning hours. Weather conditions can affect pickup and delivery times, which makes loader schedules variable. Although work schedules vary depending on the employer, a typical work week is from Monday through Thursday. For evening shift workers, the job commonly starts after lunchtime and continues until the job is complete.


What is the career outlook for a loader?

If you're a loader who's planning on becoming a logistician, which requires a bachelor's degree, there's a 30% job growth outlook. That's a much faster expansion than the average job. But for individuals who just want to specifically be loaders, industry experts expect less job growth. In terms of the broader logistics category of hand laborers and material movers, the job outlook through 2030 is 7%. However, these are lower-paying jobs that, on average, pay $14.58 per hour.

Making more as a loader

Illinois is known as a state with abundant logistics jobs. The warehousing industry still has demand for loaders. There are ample opportunities to make additional money as a loader. Because of supply chain shortages and delays, you will almost always be offered the option to work overtime as a loader. The majority of employers pay time and a half or even double time for working additional hours.

What are the advantages of working with Spherion as a loader?

Working with Spherion helps you find loading jobs in your region and across the United States. The site keeps you informed on the warehousing job market and what specific employers are looking for. Here are some of the key ways in which Spherion empowers you and enhances your job search for loader positions:

  • Find out about the latest job openings for loaders
  • Join a national network that stays updated on new employment opportunities
  • Search for flexible temp-to-hire loader positions
  • Tap into career, employer, and franchising resources
  • Learn where the better paying loading jobs are across the country
  • Spherion saves you time by helping you find the right match

What education do you need as a loader?

Usually, the main requirement for a warehouse loader is a high school diploma or GED. In order to drive a forklift, you'll need an OSHA-compliant forklift certification. Generally, loaders learn on the job from more experienced coworkers since every warehouse is unique and requires its own learning curve.

Skills & competencies

Loaders must always be eager to learn new skills in a warehouse environment where new internal and external challenges constantly appear. You must be able to work in a fast-paced environment with tight pickup and delivery deadlines. The job requires critical thinking and math skills for moving a number of items in a limited amount of time.

Who do logistics employers want to hire?

Logistics employers want employees who share the goal of providing accurate services for major manufacturers, distributors, and retailers. Loader performance is vital to the reputation of a logistics firm. Logistics employers want loaders who pay close attention to details and safety standards. Ultimately, they want to hire dependable workers who are highly organized.

What do loaders need to know?

Loaders need to know how the distribution industry works and have a deep awareness of measurements. If you want to pursue logistics management, you'll need at least an associate degree in logistics and an understanding of inventory management. Since logistics is an extremely competitive field, it helps to have a college education in logistics. Logistics is an industry in which experience and the ability to deliver results often matter more than formal education.



Loaders are an essential part of the successful distribution of products and essential goods across the nation. Here are some answers to commonly asked questions about becoming a warehouse loader.

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