Last Updated on 2023-12-18

Entry Level Amazon Warehouse Job Titles Explained

We worked with these active, experienced gig-workers to write this article and bring you first-hand knowledge.

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Phil Grossman

Experienced writer/researcher in the gig industry working alongside our gig-workers

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Ismael Flores

T3 with experience in a Fulfillment Center and Amazon Corporate. He has 3+ years of experience working in the Waterspider, Problem Solver, Stower, and Compliance Specialist roles

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Shane Lynch

T1 Asssociate with experience working both a Delivery Station and Sortation Center working in the XL Associate, Receive Dock, Waterspider, Picker, Problem Solver, and Packer roles.

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Ozy Watson

T1 Asssociate with 1+ year of experience working in the Unloader, Scanner, Stager, Stower, Picker, Inducter, Pusher, Diverter, and Pick-to-Buffer roles

When you work at an Amazon warehouse, you’ll find yourself in one of many diverse roles. The list of roles can appear intimidating and confusing at first, with strange names like “water spider” and “SLAM operator,” but it’s not as complex as it might seem. 

Here, we’ll take you through each of the main roles that you might work in at an Amazon warehouse. 

What are direct vs indirect roles?

All jobs at Amazon warehouses can be sorted into one of two categories: direct and indirect. 

Direct roles are jobs in which your progress is measured directly in terms of a rate, typically expressed in units per hour (UPH). 

For example, packing is a direct role — your performance is determined by how many items per hour you successfully package. In these roles, your goal is to “make rate,” i.e. achieve a specified target rate. 

Workers in direct roles are also judged based on their time off task (TOT) — spend too much time off task, and you may receive disciplinary action. 

Indirect roles are indirectly tracked (hence the name), don’t have a rate to meet, and don’t measure TOT. Instead, your goal is to help the process along in less direct ways. Water spider is an example of an indirect role — your job is to supply other Amazon associates with work so that they can make rate. 

How do Amazon job tiers work?

Amazon breaks its jobs into tiers and levels. The lowest tier is Level 1 (L1, sometimes referred to as Tier 1) and the highest tier is Level 12 (L12). 

When you’re hired to work at an Amazon warehouse, you’ll start as a Level 1 associate. As a tiered associate, you’re guaranteed a pay raises in accordance with the Amazon Step Plan. The precise details of when you’ll get a raise vary depending on the facility, but you can expect to receive raises at some combination of 6, 12, 18, 24, and 36 months on the job (for example, you may get a raise at 6, 18, and 24 months or 6, 12, and 36 months). 

Level 2 jobs are very rare, so we won’t cover them here, so for all intents and purposes, L3 jobs are the next step up. You can apply for a L3 job at any time, even without Amazon experience, but you’re more likely to get hired if you’ve worked at an Amazon warehouse for at least a year. 

Types of Amazon Warehouses

There are three primary types of Amazon warehouses: fulfillment centers (FCs), sortation centers (SCs), and delivery stations (DSs). 

FCs are where inventory is stored and orders are received and packed. SCs are where packages are sorted for faster delivery, and DSs are where they’re sent off to their final delivery destination. 

There are also variations on these primary warehouse types, including Amazon robotics versions and XL versions. Amazon Robotics FCs (ARFCs), for example, use automated technologies, such as robotic shelving units, to optimize operations.

Amazon XL Warehouses

XL warehouses are facilities that handle oversized and extra large packages. Most roles you’ll find at XL warehouses are large versions of FCs and DSs. 

Workers in these warehouses need to use specialized machinery called powered industrial trucks (PITs) to complete their tasks. If you’re hired to work at an XL warehouse, you’ll be trained on how to use PITs. 

You’ll also be required to lift heavier items without the use of PITs, so XL warehouses are not a good fit for those with mobility restrictions or other health problems that prevent them from lifting heavy items. 

Take a look at our full posts on XL warehouses and the XL Warehouse Associate position for more details.

Amazon Fulfillment Center Associate

Fulfillment centers (FCs) are Amazon warehouses where products are stored and orders are received and packed.

As an FC associate, you’ll need to spend long hours on your feet, and you need to be able to lift objects that weigh up to 49 pounds. If you work at an XL FC, you’ll need to lift even heavier objects and use PITs.

FCs typically have long shifts of 10 hours with a 30-minute lunch and two 15-minute breaks (not including bathroom breaks, which you can take whenever you want). However, shifts are flexible, and you can work part-time, full-time, reduced-time, flex-time, or seasonally. 

Be sure to check out our full post on the FC Associate position for a more detailed overview of the job. 

Receive Dock (Inbound Shipping Dock)

As an Amazon receive dock worker, your job is to unload products from Amazon trucks and place them on conveyor belts. Sometimes, you’ll need to move boxes around on the belts to make sure they’re spaced out enough to avoid congestion and jams.

There’s a lot of movement involved, and you’ll need to be comfortable lifting boxes all day. 

This is a direct role. 


Decanters grab the boxes from the receive dock off the conveyor belt, open them up, and empty their contents into a yellow bin called a tote. This is a stationary position, and there isn’t usually any heavy lifting required. 

Decant can be a pretty fast-paced job when things get busy — if you move too slowly, you can cause a warehouse-wide backup. 

In some fulfillment centers, decanters don’t open the boxes, they just put the unopened boxes on the conveyor belt and send them off to stow. 


Amazon stowers are tasked with grabbing items from bins and placing them in the correct compartments in robotic storage towers (“pods”), which look like yellow shelves on Roombas. The pods will drive themselves to your station and rotate so that the correct side is facing you.

An item will be sent to you in a bin via the conveyor built, and you’ll need to place it in the correct compartment on the shelving unit. There’s a lot of movement involved, and you’ll need to be comfortable using a step ladder. 

Once you’ve placed the item properly, the pod will be sent off to the picker.

At some FCs, stowers also need to open the cardboard boxes with a boxcutter. 

This is a direct role. 

There are some Amazon warehouses that aren’t automated. If you work at those, you’ll have to walk around much more to get to the right shelves. 

This job is also known as inbound stow.


Pickers spend their days on their feet at their picking stations. Your job is to grab a specified item from the pod, place it in the correct bin, and, once the bin is ready, push it down the conveyor belt so it can go to the packer. 

In ARFCs, the pods are robotized, so you don’t have to walk around much — the pods come to you. An order for an item will appear on the screen in your station, and a spotlight will illuminate where on the pod you can find the item. 

Pickers also only work with small items, so if you have lifting and movement restrictions, picking may be a good choice for you. Picking is generally considered one of the least physically demanding roles, but if you work at a non-automated Amazon warehouse, you’ll have to walk more to find the items on traditional shelves. You may also be required to use a scanner and large machine called an Operating Picker, which is similar to a driveable elevator. This machine will allow you to reach items that are on shelves up to 32 feet high — not recommended for those with a fear of heights.

This is a direct role. 


When you work in count, your job is to count how many items are in each compartment of a pod. It’s very similar to stow and picking, but it requires more accuracy — you’ll need to give a precise count of the items. It’s a straightforward role, but you’ll need to be accurate — there’s very little room for error before you’ll get called in for documented coachings. 

Like stow, it requires going up and down a ladder, but there isn’t usually any heavy lifting involved. 

This is a direct role. 


Inductors work at a standalone station at the top of a staircase called induct. There are two conveyor belts at the station: one with totes full of items from the pickers, and another with empty trays that will be sent off to rebinners down below. Your job is to transfer items from the totes into the trays.

This is a direct role. 


Rebinners pick up the baton from induct and pass it on to pack. In some facilities, rebinners also do the work of the inductors. If your FC has a separate inductor, then you’ll receive totes full of items from them. In both cases, you’ll need to sort the items into pods so that packers can pack them up.

This is a direct role. 


Amazon packers pack orders for delivery. You’ll work at a station with a small workbench, a screen, and two conveyor belts. As a packer, you’ll spend your time building boxes, placing items in them, sealing them, and applying barcode stickers. 

Items will be sent to you in bins via conveyor belt. You’ll remove them from the bins, scan them, and follow the instructions to build the correct-sized box, add the proper packing materials, and adhere the SP00 (pronounced “spoo”) label — a barcode sticker that contains all the order information. When you’re done, you’ll place the box on the conveyor belt next to you and send it off to SLAM. 

You might be assigned to pack singles (one item per box) or pack multis (multiple items per box). Everything except the number of items per box is the same for both of these jobs. 

This is a direct role. 

This job is also known as packing, pack singles, pack multis, packager, outbound pack flow.

Amazon Water Spider

Water spiders support other Amazon associates. The term “water spider” has origins in Japanese manufacturing and alludes to how these workers are constantly moving from place to place, just like a spider skimming over the water. 

The precise tasks you’ll carry out will depend on which role you’re supporting. For example, if you’re water spidering for stow, you might be stacking totes, loading totes onto pallet jacks, moving them to stow stations, and unloading them. But if you’re water spidering for packers, you’ll be supplying them with cardboard boxes, tape, and other packing materials. 

This is an indirect role and it’s widely considered to be one of the hardest and most physically demanding roles at an FC. However, that all depends on your personality. Ismael says “it can be the most fun positions too. It's  a workout, which can be a positive for many people. It makes time go by so much quicker than any other position. It is also the most social position. Since the water spider is going to every station and communicating with managers, they will have an opportunity to meet many people.”

This is an indirect role. 

SLAM Operator

SLAM is an acronym that stands for “Scan, Label, Apply, Manifest.” Most of the SLAM process is automated. Packages come down the conveyor belt from packing, and when they reach the SLAM station, an automated laser scanner reads the SP00 label to check the package information. Then, an automated scale weighs the package to cross check the package weight against the expected weight to verify that the right item is inside. If everything lines up, the package will continue down the conveyor belt where a shipping label will be applied before it’s sent off for delivery. 

If something isn’t right, then the package will be kicked out of the conveyor belt. For that reason, this part of the process is sometimes called “Kick Out.” 

SLAM operators come in when something goes wrong — if the package weight doesn’t line up or the SP00 is incorrectly placed, for example. Your job is to fix whatever the problem is, which may involve replacing the SP00 or weighing the individual items to find out which one is causing the issue. 

This is an indirect role. 

Inbound Flats

Inbound flats is almost exactly the same as SLAM, but you’ll only be working with small packages called “flats.” Other than the size of the packages, there’s no difference. 

This is an indirect role. 

Problem Solver

Problem solvers  are tasked with solving issues that occur at various points in the FC process. This is one of the most sought-after roles at an FC because it requires a lot of critical thinking, there’s a lot of variety, and you get to use a computer. 

Problem solvers have a lot more control over how they do their job than other associates do. They can make their job very social, moving from station to station, like a water spider, or they can hole themselves up in a corner and do their work alone. As long as the work gets done, problem solvers can do it however they want. 

Plus, if you work in problem solve, you can move into other locations in the FC, like Damageland, where you’ll process damaged goods, and ISS, where you’ll fix system errors.  

This is an indirect role. 


Some FCs have separate print-on-demand centers, where print-on-demand (POD) products, like books and T-shirts, are made. There’s a wide range of jobs available at these centers, including book cutter, water spider, book binder, loading dock worker, and maintenance worker. 

Generally, these positions are less physically demanding than other FC jobs. 

Amazon Sortation Center Associate

Sortation centers (SCs) are where packages go after leaving a fulfillment center. Here, they’re sorted by destination for faster delivery. 

Just like at FCs, there’s a lot of standing, walking, and lifting involved, and you’ll need to be able to lift up to 49 pounds. 

Shifts at SCs are typically shorter, averaging three to five hours each, with the option to double up on shifts. Shifts can be either early mornings, days, nights, or weekends, and they may flex up or down an hour without advance notice. 

Check out our full post on the SC Associate position for a more detailed look at the job.


Unloaders take packages off Amazon trucks and place them on conveyor belts, where they’ll be sent off to scanners. There’s a lot of lifting and movement involved in this job.


Splitters sort (“split”) the packages coming from receive dock onto the right conveyor belt. This position doesn’t exist at ARSCs (Amazon Robotics Sort Centers), a type of SC that uses automation. 

This is a direct role. 


Most sortation center associates start out in this role. Scanners retrieve packages that pickers have laid out for them, scan them, and place them on pallets according to the letters on the label. You’ll need to stack packages six feet high, which can be difficult if you’re not very tall. A water spider will then wrap the stack. 

This is a direct role. 

Water Spiders

At sortation centers, water spiders wrap pallets that have reached the six-foot height limit in plastic. Water spiders also close and scan the containers that have been filled with packages and take them to buffer zones where they’ll be picked up by stagers. 

Amazonians tend to consider water spidering one of the hardest and least appreciated jobs at the warehouses. 

This is an indirect role. 


Stagers use go-karts or pallet jacks to take the wrapped stacks of packages and bring them to a dock, where they’ll be placed onto trucks and shipped to the next destination. 

This is a direct role. 

Container Loader

Container loaders take the containers that have been laid out in the staging area and place them onto trucks that will bring them to delivery stations. 

This is a direct role. 

Problem Solver

Problem solvers step in whenever a problem arises — that could mean finding a misplaced package, figuring out what to do about a damaged package, or fixing a package that won’t scan properly. This is a highly sought after role as it requires critical thinking to solve problems — plus, you get to use a computer, which allows SC associates to rest more instead of moving around all day. 

This is an indirect role. 

Amazon Delivery Station Associate

Delivery stations (DSs) are the last stops before an Amazon order reaches its destination (many packages won’t ever hit an Amazon DS, if they are being fulfilled by a non-Amazon delivery company). As a delivery station associate, you’ll load trucks, put packages on conveyor belts, and stage packages so drivers can pick them up.

DSs are smaller than the other types of Amazon warehouses, so if you’re intimidated by the large warehouses, working at a DS might be right for you.

Most DS shifts are overnight, weekends, or early mornings, and you’ll typically work four-day weeks and have three-day weekends, but you can work more hours if you want. 

Take a look at our full post on the DS Associate position for a more in-depth look. 


Unloaders unload packages from trucks and transfer them to conveyor belts for further processing.

This is a direct role. 


Diverters are responsible for guiding packages to the appropriate belts leading to stowing stations. In some warehouses, this task is automated with robotic arms.

This is a direct role. 


Also known as “pick-to-buffer”, a picker’s job is to remove packages from the conveyor belt and place them on buffer shelves, ready for stowers to sort.

This is a direct role. 


Stowers scan each package in their aisle and then direct it to the appropriate staging bag. Each package has a unique QR code which, when scanned, provides information about its final destination. 

This is a direct role. 


Loading associates grab all the bags and packages that are going to a certain destination and place them onto a cart. Then, they stage them so the delivery driver can easily load them into their truck. 

This is a direct role. 

Route selector

Route selectors organize carts with packages sorted by Stowers and then stage them in areas that are easily accessible to Delivery Service Providers (DSPs). 

This is a direct role. 

Problem Solvers

When packages are returned to the delivery station, these are the warehouse associates who log them, check for damages, and determine whether they can be restocked or returned to the supplier.

This is an indirect role. 

Returns processors

When packages are returned to the delivery station, returns processing associates log them, check for damages, and determine whether they can be restocked or returned to the supplier.

This is an indirect role. 

Your job will be to pick large items from the warehouse shelves using the forklift and send them off to packing. 

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