Machinists and Tool and Die Makers: Salary, career path, job outlook, education and more

Education Required
Machinists typically have a high school diploma or equivalent, whereas tool and die makers may need to complete courses beyond high school. High school courses in math, blueprint reading, metalworking, and drafting are considered useful.
Training Required
There are multiple ways for workers to gain competency in the job as a machinist or tool or die maker. One common way is through long-term on-the-job training, which lasts 1 year or longer.
Job Outlook
The projected percent change in employment from 2016 to 2026: 1% (Little or no change)
(The average growth rate for all occupations is 7 percent.)
A number of organizations and colleges offer certification programs. The Skills Certification System, for example, is an industry-driven program that aims to align education pathways with career pathways. In addition, journey-level certification is available from state apprenticeship boards after the completion of an apprenticeship.
Median pay: How much do Machinists and Tool and Die Makers make?
$43,160 Annual Salary
$20.75 per hour

Machinists and tool and die makers set up and operate a variety of computer-controlled and mechanically controlled machine tools to produce precision metal parts, instruments, and tools.

What do Machinists and Tool and Die Makers do?

Machinists typically do the following:

  • Read blueprints, sketches, or computer-aided design (CAD) and computer-aided manufacturing (CAM) files
  • Set up, operate, and disassemble manual, automatic, and computer numerically controlled (CNC) machine tools
  • Align, secure, and adjust cutting tools and workpieces
  • Monitor the feed and speed of machines
  • Turn, mill, drill, shape, and grind machine parts to specifications
  • Measure, examine, and test completed products for defects
  • Smooth the surfaces of parts or products
  • Present finished workpieces to customers and make modifications if needed

Tool and die makers typically do the following:

  • Read blueprints, sketches, specifications, or CAD and CAM files for making tools and dies
  • Compute and verify dimensions, sizes, shapes, and tolerances of workpieces
  • Set up, operate, and disassemble conventional, manual, and CNC machine tools
  • File, grind, and adjust parts so that they fit together properly
  • Test completed tools and dies to ensure that they meet specifications
  • Smooth and polish the surfaces of tools and dies

Careers for Machinists and Tool and Die Makers

  • Automotive machinists
  • CNC machinists
  • Die makers
  • Gear machinists
  • Jig bore tool makers
  • Machinists
  • Maintenance machinists
  • Manual lathe machinists
  • Metal die finishers
  • Metal gauge makers
  • Plastic die maker apprentices
  • Precision machinists
  • Production machinists
  • Tool and die makers
  • Tool room machinists
  • Toolmakers

Similar Careers