Last Updated on 2023-11-08

Amazon Sortation Centers Explained For Workers

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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Stephanie Paige

T1 Asssociate with 2+ years of experience working in the Receive Dock, Inbound Flats, Material Handler, Unloader, Scanner, Stager, Splitter, Goalie, and Jackpot roles.

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James Enright

L5 having worked in a Fulfillment Center, Sortation Center, and in Reverse Logistics with 6+ years of experience across Receive Dock, Decant, Waterspider, Stower, Picker, Count, Packer, SLAM Operator, Problem Solver, and Unloader roles

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Dustin Stowell

T2 in a Sortation Center with 3+ years of experience working in the Problem Solver, Scanner, Stager, Picker, Stower, Waterspider, Material Handler, and Unloader roles

Amazon sortation centers (SCs) are large warehouses where packages are received, sorted by delivery destination, and then sent off to an Amazon delivery station (DS) or other last-mile carrier, like FedEx, UPS, or USPS. 

Sortation centers should not be confused with other Amazon warehouses, like fulfillment centers (FCs) or delivery stations. Amazon orders are packaged at FCs, then move to SCs, where they’re sorted for delivery, and finally go to either Amazon DSs or other carriers’ stations depending on availability in the destination area. However, some SCs are located within FCs.

Originally, sortation centers were created to help fill in the USPS’s Sunday delivery gap. There are now dozens of SCs across 27 states.

Stephanie Paige, who has been working at an SC for over two years, says that “sortation centers allow for flexible schedules: you can choose your shifts, take advantage of voluntary time off (VTO) or voluntary extra time (VET). The pay is competitive, with a decent hourly wage and incentives and benefits, such as health insurance, 401(k), and employee discounts. Career growth is available by getting cross-trained, apply for internal promotions or transfer to other locations and departments.”

She also notes that SC employees can take advantage of Career Choice, “a program that allows for up to $2,000 in tuition assistance.”

What does an Amazon sortation center do?

SCs are intermediate stops in the Amazon order pipeline. Their purpose is to optimize and shorten delivery times by grouping packages together based on their delivery destination. 

Employees at sortation centers work to unload inbound trucks and trailers, sort packages, troubleshoot problems, and load packages onto outbound trucks and trailers. Stephanie says, “it is a fast paced environment with little to no down time. You receive fifteen minute breaks per shift. There is a lot of walking, lifting, and bending.”

How do Amazon sortation centers work?

Packages arrive at SCs from FCs. Unloaders working in receive dock unload the packages from the Amazon trailers and place them on conveyor belts to be sent off to the next station. Sideloaders also work in receive dock, but they take pallets out of the truck to unload them from the side of the belt. 

Shuttle dumpers operate a machine that turns shuttles — six foot tall boxes full of jiffy packages (any package that isn’t a box) — upside down. This empties the shuttle’s content onto a conveyor belt. 

Splitters stand by the conveyor belts and divide the packages into groups based on their destination. Scanners then scan the packages that have been laid out for them and stack them six feet high on pallets based on their codes. 

In automated facilities, called ARSCs (Amazon Robotics Sortation Centers), goalies stand by the conveyor belts, separating packages that are stuck together or damaged, which would make them unable to be scanned by the automated scanner. 

Workers in jackpot diagnose the packages that were rejected by the goalies and send them back to different parts of the process depending on what the issue is. 

Next, a waterspider wraps the stacks in plastic, closes the containers, and places them in buffer zones. Stagers (also known as container loaders) use go-karts to move the pallets from the buffer zone into the staging area, where receivers load them onto the trucks that will bring them to the DS or other carrier’s station.

If there’s ever an issue with a lost, damaged, or mislabeled package, problem solvers get on the case, and process assistants and area managers oversee the process from beginning to end. 

What do you do in a sortation center?

Amazon splits all its positions into tiers and levels, with Tier 1 (T1) being the lowest and Level 12 (L12) being the highest (Andy Jassy, the current Amazon CEO is L12). All Amazon employees, regardless of level, are called Amazonians. 

T1 employees are entry-level workers called associates. If you apply for any Amazon position with “associate” in the job position title, you’re applying for a T1 position. T1 workers are paid an hourly wage and receive guaranteed pay raises every six to 12 months. At SCs, T1 employees work in the following roles:

  • Receive Dock (Unloader / Side loader)
  • Splitter
  • Scanner
  • Waterspider
  • Stager / Container loader
  • Problem Solver

The next step up is Tier 3 (T3) — for practical purposes, there’s no Tier 2 (there are a few positions, but they’re incredibly rare). Although you can apply for a T3 role without any prior experience, most T3 employees have worked for Amazon for at least one year. T3 roles are supervisory and managerial positions, such as:

  • Process Assistant
  • ICQA Data Analyst
  • Associate HR Partner
  • Shift Assistant
  • Ship Clerk

Level 4 (L4) comes after T3 and are the lowest-level salaried positions at Amazon (some L4 positions have hourly wages instead of salaries) Some L4 positions are:

  • Area Manager
  • Operations Manager
  • Learning Area Manager

That covers most of the jobs you’ll find at a SC, but there are a few higher-level positions remaining:

  • Operations Manager (L6)
  • Senior Operations Manager (L7)
  • Operations Site Manager (L7)
  • General Manager (L8)

Anyone beyond L8 works in corporate offices, not in warehouses. 

Sortation centers vs fulfillment centers

Fulfillment centers and sortation centers are both Amazon warehouses but serve different purposes. Inventory is stored and orders are packaged in FCs by fulfillment center associates. From there, packages are sent off to SCs, where they’re sorted for optimal delivery speeds and sent off to DSs or other last-mile carriers for delivery. 

Sortation centers vs delivery stations

Sortation centers are where packages are sorted by destination so that they can be sent off to the optimal delivery station. Delivery stations receive packages from SCs and deliver them to customers. DSs are the smallest Amazon warehouses because they focus on serving specific localities instead of large regions like FCs and SCs. 

Where are Amazon sortation centers located?

Here are a few examples (this is not a complete list) of SC locations in the United States:


  • MOB1/MOB5/DBM3: 6735 Trippel Road, Theodore, AL 36619


  • AZA5: 6000 West Van Buren Street, Phoenix, AZ 85043
  • PHX8: 800 N. 75th Ave, Phoenix, AZ 85043-3101


  • LAX5: 6400 Valley View Street, Bueno Park, CA 90620
  • OAK5: 38811 Cherry St. Newark, CA 94560
  • ONT5/XIX2: 2020 E. Central Ave. San Bernardino, CA 92408
  • SMF5: 300 Crocker Drive, Vacaville, CA 95688


  • COS5: Colorado Springs Airport, Colorado Springs, CO 
  • DEN5/HDE1: 19799 E. 36th Avenue, Majestic Commercenter Building #29, Aurora, CO 80011-8189


  • BDL5: 29 Research Parkway, Wallingford, CT 06492


  • JAX5: 4948 Bulls Bay Hwy, Jacksonville, FL 32219-3235
  • MCO1/MCO5: 205 Deen Still Rd. Davenport, FL 33897
  • MIA5/HMI1: 1900 NW 132nd Pl. Doral, FL 33182


  • ATL5: 4190 Jiles Road, Kennesaw, GA 30144
  • ATL6: 4200 N Commerce Dr. East Point, GA 30344
  • MGE5: 235 Hog Mountain Road, Jefferson, GA 30549-2009


  • MDW5: 16824 Enterprise Blvd., Crest Hill, IL 60435


  • MCI5: 16851 W 113th St. Lenexa, KS 66219


  • CVG5/CVG7: 2285 Litton Ln. Hebron, KY 41048 
  • CVG9: 2305 Litton Lane, Building 1, Hebron, KY 41048 


  • AVP4/DBA2: 7458 New Ridge Rd, Hanover, MD 21076
  • BWI5/UMD1: 5501 Holabird Ave. Baltimore, MD 21224


  • BOS5: 1000 Tech Center Dr Stoughton, MA 02072


  • DTW5/UMI1: 19991 Brownstown Center Dr. Trenton, MI 48192


  • MSP5: 5825 11th Ave. East, Shakopee, MN 55379-3810
  • MSP9: 9001 Wyoming Ave. N, Brooklyn Park, MN 49316


  • STL5: Building 3, 462 Hazelwood Logistics Center Drive, Hazelwood, Missouri 63042

New Jersey

  • ACY5: 2277 Center Square Rd. Swedesboro, Logan Township, NJ 08085
  • EWR5: 301 Blair Rd. Avenel, NJ 07001 
  • PNE5: 18 Applegate Drive, Mercer, Robbinsville, NJ 08691

New York

  • BUF5: 4201 Walden Avenue, Lancaster, NY 14086


  • LAS5/HLS1: 4410 Nexus Way, Las Vegas, NV 89115 

North Carolina

  • CLT1/CLT5: 1745 Derita Rd., Concord, NC 28027-3353
  • RDU5: 1805 TW Alexander Drive, Durham, NC 27703


  • CLE5/HCE1: 2000 East Aurora, Twinsburg, OH 44087


  • OKC5/OKC9/HOK1: 1414 S. Council Road, Oklahoma City, OK


  • PDX5: 5647 NW Huffman Street, Hillsboro, Oregon 97124


  • PIT5: 2250 Roswell Dr. Pittsburgh, PA 15205


  • BNA4/BNA5: 50 Airways Blvd Nashville, TN 37217
  • MEM5: 5155 Citation Drive, Memphis, TN 38118


  • DAL9: 1400 Southport Parkway, Building #7, Wilmer, TX 75172
  • DFW8: 2700 Regent Blvd. Dallas, TX 75261
  • HOU1: 8120 Humble Westfield Rd. Humble, TX 77338
  • SAT5: 1410 S. Callaghan Rd., San Antonio, TX 78227


  • RIC5/RIC9: 11600 N Lakeridge Pkwy, Ashland, VA 23005


  • BFI5: 20526 59th Place South, Kent, WA 98032 

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