Machinist and tool and die maker essential career information:
- 2012 median pay: $47,000
- 2012, number of jobs: 76,430
- Employment growth forecast, 2010-2020: 7 percent
- Entry-level education requirements: High school diploma or equivalent
Machinists and tool and die makers; what they do:
If working with machines and computers to create precise parts, instruments, and tools sounds interesting, you may excel in a career as a machinist or tool and die maker.
Machinists and tool and die makers must be able to read and understand blueprints, sketches, or computer-aided design (CAD) or computer-aided manufacturing (CAM) files, as they utilize them regularly. Machinists and tool and die makers also regularly use math while using measuring tools to calculate dimensions. Physically, machinists and tool and die makers work with a variety of tools installing, aligning, securing and adjusting cutting tools and work pieces.
A machinist career and a tool and die maker career includes frequently monitoring the feed and speed of the machines they work with, as well as inspecting and testing all completed products looking for defects.
A production machinist career involves making a single part in large quantities. These parts are usually quite complex and require great accuracy and precision. As most machinists use CNC machines now, a production machinist must determine the cutting path, speed of the cut, and feed rate of the machine.
Maintenance machinists either repair existing parts or makes new parts for existing machinery. A maintenance machinist career sometimes involves referring to blueprints to fix or rebuild broken parts. Maintenance machinists work in a variety of manufacturing industries.
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Machinists and tool and die makers job titles:
- Production Machinist
- Maintenance Machinist
- Computer Numerical Control Machinist
- CNC Machinist
- Machine Operator
- Aircraft Toolmaker
- Tool Repairer
- Carbide Tool Die Maker
- Tool and Die Machinist
Machinists and Tool and Die Makers Education, Certification and License Requirements
A machinist career may begin with an apprenticeship program, vocational school, community college, technical college, or on-the-job training. A tool and die maker career may begin with four to five years of technical instruction and on-the-job training. Apprenticeship programs for machinists or tool and die makers have strong competition.
Machinist and tool and die maker programs cover subjects such as:
- Mechanical drafting
- Tool processes
- Technical math
- Computer numerical control operations
- CAD/CAM technology
- CNC machine tools
- Computerized measuring machines
Although machinists or tool and die makers don’t certifications, they’re highly recommended to show skill and competency. Machinists or tool and die makers may earn certification through multiple different training facilities, state apprenticeship boards, and colleges. After completing an apprenticeship, an individual can obtain journey-level certification through a state apprenticeship board.
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Machinists and Tool and Die Makers Job Outlook
Forecast: 8 percent employment growth from 2010 to 2020 for machinists, slower than the average for all occupations.
Improved machine tools, autoloaders, and high-speed machines have replaced many machinist jobs, however, machinists are still required to set up, monitor, and maintain the machines. Employers still seek machinists with a wide variety of machine skills and knowledge, allowing them to perform any task in a machine shop.
Forecast: little or no employment growth from 2010 to 2020 for tool and die makers. Foreign competition and advances in automation have decreased employment growth.
Machinists and Tool and Die Makers Salary
- 2012 median annual wage: $47,000
- 2012, workers at the 75th percentile annual wage: $58,490
- 2012, workers at the 25% percentile annual wage: $39,180
- Manufacturing; machine shops, tool rooms, and factory floors