By: Donagh Fitzgerald and Claire Wilson. Last Updated: July 2024

Manufacturing Safe Medicines (Foundation Course)

A Packaging Operator is responsible for taking the finished product of a manufacturing process and ensuring that it is packaged in line with company and industry standards, making it ready for sale or distribution.

Some Companies Might Call This Role…

  • Packaging Operative

Let’s take a closer look at the details of the role of a Packaging Operator.

As the title would suggest, packaging roles within this manufacturing setting are jobs which focus on taking the finished medical device or pharmaceutical product and packaging them for distribution and sale.

Regulations, protocols, and quality systems are just as important here as they are at every other stage of the manufacturing process.

And similar to every other part of the process – the aim is for a streamlined and efficient process that operates quickly while keeping safety and quality for the finished product as a top priority.

BTW, if you are interested in retraining for a packaging operator role in the Pharmaceutical or Medtech industries, check out our Conversion Course into Pharmaceutical Manufacturing.

What does a Packaging Operator do?

Packaging Operators are responsible for the daily operation of the machinery involved in packaging. They must have an acute understanding of the normal function of their machinery as well as a good understanding of basic troubleshooting.

Packaging Operators tend to work in shifts, these depend entirely on the set-up of their particular facility. While the specific tasks of each job may also differ based on the product being manufactured and the type of packaging involved, general tasks can include:

  • Startup and close down of their machine as necessary
  • Routine checks and preventative maintenance of equipment
  • Efficient completion of final assembly and then packaging processes (such as applying fastenings or ties) if required
  • Product labeling and inspection of final product
  • Completion of distribution documentation may also be a responsibility of packaging operators
  • May be required to move completed boxes of products – operation of a forklift would not be an uncommon preferred skill for these roles
  • Maintaining cleanliness of equipment and work area
  • Reporting issues when they arise – this should be done quickly to minimize any impact on the efficiency of production
  • Quality checks of their equipment, process or product in accordance with the site’s quality requirements
  • Maintaining all relevant documentation for their equipment and/or process. This documentation is likely to include quality documentation, ensuring adherence to internal procedures as well as external regulations

Watch this video from the Department of Education and Training, South Africa on the role of a packaging operator.

Becoming a Packaging Operator

A high school level education is typically required for roles as a Packaging Operator. Understanding the regulations involved in these industries is highly desirable. Companies will typically give new employees the training needed for their specific packaging processes.

If you want to know more about making a mid-career change into this area, check out our Conversion Course into Pharmaceutical Manufacturing.

What Skills Do I Need?

The ideal skill set for someone moving into packaging includes:

  • Communication Skills – good written skills are required for reading and understanding the technical documentation for their equipment or process to ensure proper use. Must also be able to effectively explain issues when they arise, to senior colleagues or staff assigned to troubleshoot
  • Manual Dexterity – professionals in the area must have excellent hand-eye coordination and be able to perform potentially tricky actions quickly and correctly, for a prolonged period of time
  • Attention to Detail – must be able to maintain concentration and quickly notice deviations from normal function of their equipment
  • Basic mathematical skills – some basic mathematics may be involved, depending on the specifics of the facility and the product being packaged

Packaging Operator in the Pharmaceutical and Medical Device Manufacturing Industry

Take our 10-week part-time, Conversion Course into Pharma. This program is the quickest way to learn all you need, to successfully move into a packaging operator role in pharmaceutical or medical device manufacturing.

Take our Certificate in eBioPharmachem program to move your career beyond an entry-level role and beyond, get an NFQ Level 7 university qualification from Technological University Dublin, Ireland, and better jobs with a higher salary.

Packaging Operator Salaries & Job Growth

Check out our salary guide for Packaging Operator salary information local to you.

Packaging Operator Resume Tips

As with all resumes, it’s extremely important that you tailor your Packaging Operator resume to reflect the language used within the job advert. Where you have relevant experience or skills, use the words and phrases that the employer has used to describe them. Do not assume that someone will read similar wording and know what you mean.

Packaging Operator roles will typically be looking for the skills previously outlined:

  • Communication skills
  • Manual Dexterity
  • Attention to detail
  • Basic mathematical skills

For more help with your resume, check out these templates and this list of 30 tips to improve your resume.

Packaging Operator Job Vacancies

For more information on currently available Packaging Operator roles in the pharma sector,  head to our pharmaceutical jobs board for Ireland and our pharmaceutical jobs board for the UK and select Production/Manufacturing in the “Jobs by Category” menu.

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About the Author

Our Team

Donagh Fitzgerald

Head of Marketing & Product Development
Mechanical/Production Engineer

Donagh looks after the marketing and product development including the training and pedagogical elements of our programs and makes sure that all GetReskilled’s users can have a great online learning experience. Donagh has lived and worked in many countries including Ireland, America, the UK, Singapore, Hong Kong and Japan. Donagh has also served as the Program Manager for the Farmleigh Fellowship based out of Singapore.

Donagh holds Degrees in Production Engineering and Mechanical Engineering from South East Technological University, Ireland.

Image with Claire Wilison from GetReskilled Team

Claire Wilson

Content Marketing and Career Coaching

Claire runs GetReskilled’s Advanced Career Coaching Programme – our specially devised job hunting course that helps our trainees take that final step into employment by leading them through the job hunting process. She is extremely enthusiastic about helping people reach their final goal of employment in their new career path.

Claire has a BSc (Hons) in Medical Biology from Edinburgh University and spent 7 years working in the pharmaceutical and medical device industries.