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A Press Brake Operator using a hydraulic press in a factory.

Press Brake Operator Salary: How Much Does a Press Brake Operator Make?

Press Brake Operators enjoy a hands-on career where they're able to create. But how much does their salary vary? FactoryFix explains.

Being a Press Brake Operator may be the perfect job if you're interested in a manufacturing career that involves operating sophisticated machinery. It’s also a great gig if you’re someone that likes to build things and have a tangible end product to create.

But how much does a Press Brake Operator make? What factors influence their salary? Let’s find out!

What Is a Press Brake Operator? 

A Press Brake Operator is a skilled worker who uses a press brake, a machine that bends and forms metal, to create parts for various industries. Operating a press brake requires attention to detail and precision, as well as the ability to follow instructions and safety protocols.

Press Brake Operators typically receive on-the-job training from their employers. Some may also receive certification from The American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME), which can offer higher starting salaries and lead to career advancement opportunities.

How Much Does a Press Brake Operator Make?

In May 2021, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that the median annual income for press brake operators was $37,630. 

The salary ranges from about $57,000 per year for the top ten percent and $29,000 for the bottom ten percent. 

What Influences a Press Brake Operator's Salary? 

How much money you make as a Press Brake Operator depends on various factors, including location, experience, and industry.

Salary Based on Location

Location is crucial. For example, press brake operators in Massachusetts earn $51,660 per year on average, while those in Kentucky earn an average salary of $37,740.

These differences can exist within states as well. Press Brake Operators in metropolitan areas often earn higher salaries than those in more rural locations. If you get a job in Detroit, MI, you can expect to take home $46,380 on average. However, move to Grand Rapids, MI, the average salary drops to $40,330.

Salary Based on Experience

Additionally, Press Brake Operators with more experience usually earn higher salaries than those just starting out. The BLS reports that press brake operators with one to five years of experience earn about $35,983 per year.

Those with five to ten years of experience should earn $48,108 annually.

Press brake operators with more than ten years of experience may earn salaries above $56,412 per year.

Salary Based on Industry 

Pay varies by industry as well. The most lucrative opportunities for Press Brake Operators lie in the motor vehicle manufacturing industry, where the average annual salary is $54,280. By contrast, the plastics product manufacturing industry pays $36,420. This is good news for anyone interested in a career in the automotive manufacturing industry!

How to Improve Your Press Brake Operator Salary

If you’re interested in earning a higher Press Brake Operator salary, there are several things you can do to improve your prospects. Below are some options:

If you’re interested in becoming a Press Brake Operator, keep the trends & insights listed above in mind. You can earn a good salary while working in a challenging and exciting field with hard work and dedication.

Ready to look for a job? Visit the FactoryFix job board to browse open positions. Or schedule an appointment with our Career Coach for more personalized help.