Machinists: Salary, career path, job outlook, education and more
Machinists use machine tools, such as lathes, milling machines, and grinders, to produce precision metal parts. Many machinists must be able to use both manual and CNC machinery. CNC machines control the cutting tool speed and do all necessary cuts to create a part. The machinist determines the cutting path, the speed of the cut, and the feed rate by programming instructions into the CNC machine.
Although workers may produce large quantities of one part, precision machinists often produce small batches or one-of-a-kind items. The parts that machinists make range from simple steel bolts to titanium bone screws for orthopedic implants. Hydraulic parts, antilock brakes, and automobile pistons are other widely known products that machinists make.
Some machinists repair or make new parts for existing machinery. After an industrial machinery mechanic discovers a broken part in a machine, a machinist remanufactures the part. The machinist refers to blueprints and performs the same machining operations that were used to create the original part in order to create the replacement.
Some manufacturing processes use lasers, water jets, and electrified wires to cut the workpiece. As engineers design and build new types of machine tools, machinists must learn new machining properties and techniques.
- 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
Careers for Machinists and Tool and Die Makers
- Automotive machinists
- CNC machinists
- Die makers
- Gear machinists
- Jig bore tool makers
- 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