Career Advice on How to Become a Tool and Die Maker

General Career Information

Tool and die makers are among the most skilled of all tradesmen. The typical tool and die maker builds other tools that are then used in the manufacturing process. The tools which a tool and die maker creates are used to form metal into different shapes, whether this is done through cutting or bending. 
A die is a metal form that is used to shape metal, but tool and die makers also make molds as well. These molds can be used to produce parts made of almost any material, ranging from plastic to even composite materials. Due to the nature of the work, tool and die makers frequently work with engineers and need to have a detailed knowledge of machine operation, as well as an ability to read blueprints.

Career Facts:

Those engaged in career planning realize that tool and die makers often have several years of classroom training, usually at least four years. This training is in addition to their apprenticeships and additional course work often at technical schools. Tool and die makers with a college degree can also venture into engineering or tool design. The numbers for this skilled position are expected to decline.


Career Opportunities and Job Outlook-Fair:

While this occupation may be very skilled, there is an expected decrease in their numbers. In 2006, there were 101,000 tool and die makers. As of 2016, that number is expected to contract considerably to 91,000. This is a significant ten-percent reduction.  
On the plus side, however, because of the vital nature of their work for industry at large, the tool and die maker is more protected from layoffs than many other workers involved in manufacturing. However, the overall picture is complicated, as there are not enough projected skilled tool and die workers to meet the demand. The job search for those looking for a career in tool and die should be a fruitful one.
Job Outlook is Fair  

A Day in The Life:

Tool and die makers are highly skilled, and, as a result, are often able to bypass some of the more dangerous jobs in manufacturing. Traditionally, their skill sets are sought after by the manufacturing industry. Increasingly, they are using computers in their work. Tool and die makers need to know how to work with engineers and read blueprints. This is vital to their job, for without the ability to read blueprints, tool and die makers can simply not build the machines necessary.
Tool and die makers spend most of their day literally building machines or tools and dies from the ground up. The end result is a serious contribution to the manufacturing process.

Average Salary:

Despite the very high level of skill that the job requires, tool and die makers do not enjoy a pay that is reflective of their overall skill. On average a tool and die maker earns about $21 per hour, with the top ten-percent of earners seeing about $32 per hour.

$40k - $67k


Career Training and Qualifications:

Several years of technical training and apprenticeship is quite common for this career’s training. Additional training at technical schools and community colleges is likewise common. Due to the skill level involved, constant on the job training is also the norm.
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