Career Advice on How to Become a Machinist

General Career Information

Machinists, not too surprisingly, work on machines. They operate all sorts of industrial machines, such as milling machines and lathes. They are often employed in producing large amounts of a given part. In general, machinists take a blueprint, and then use tools, whether it is a drill press, lathe or some other machine, to build the requested part. In short, if you are interested in adding machinists to your job search, realize that this career is one of the key careers in all of manufacturing.

Career Facts:

The work place of the machinists in the United States has changed considerable over the last few decades. The image of the dirty, noisy and often extremely dangerous machine shop is slowly being replaced with one that is much cleaner, quieter and safer due to computerized equipment. Of course, this is not to say that the career does not have its dangers. Those in the middle of career planning should realize that machinist’s work is not without some serious risk. There is still a great deal of noise, and there are potential hazards abound. After all, drill and presses are being used!

Those who frustrate easily or do not like very precise work should avoid becoming a machinist at all costs. This is no joke. Machinists are commonly expected to engineer parts that to within a mere fraction of an inch. If this sounds like a good time to you, then go at it!


Career Opportunities and Job Outlook-Not Good:

In 2006, there were nearly 400,000 machines. By 2016, this number will be reduced by three percent to around 384,000 people. Yet, the job outlook is not grim, as there are not enough replacements to fill the jobs being vacated by older workers. Meaning if you want a job as a machinist, you can probably find one. Many machinists advanced to the more skilled position of a tool and die maker, which enjoys higher pay as well.
Job Outlook is Not Good    

A Day in The Life:

If you like working with machines and you can deal with the pressure of tight tolerances, then you will feel right at home working as a machinist. While the modern work environment for the machinist has improved dramatically in recent decades, the work can still be loud, dirty and dangerous. Some new technologies such as computer, laser cutters and water cutting machines have changed the workplace substantially.  Machinists spend their days building parts and working with a very wide assortment of machines.

Average Salary:

A great deal of skill goes into becoming a good machinist. However, the average pay is only $16 per hour, with the top ten-percent earning about $25 per hour. This is why there is a shortage of skilled machinists looking to replace retiring workers.

$30k - $52k


Career Training and Qualifications:

Machinists can learn the trade through vocational schools, community college and apprenticeship programs. Due to the skill level involved, it is not uncommon for machinist to first earn a two-year associates degree before entering the workplace.
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