How to Become a Machinist

Machinists use a variety of machine tools in order to create precision metal parts.

These professionals use their hands on skills to use machine tools such as grinders, milling machines and lathes.

These professionals may be responsible for making large quantities of precision metal parts, or smaller batches of several types of precision metal parts.

Continue reading below if you are interested in a career as a Machinist.

Below you will find information regarding the educational requirements to begin this career, a general job description and salary and wage information.

Education Requirements to Become a Machinist

There are several ways an applicant can become a Machinist.

Some professionals learn their skills on the job but there are several other ways to get started in this field.

Search for Machinist Programs Now!
Choose a Program

sponsored schools

A handful of employees become a Machinist by having similar job experience working as tenders, operators or machine setters.

In addition, candidates can apply for an apprenticeship program to learn under an experienced professional while earning a salary.

Finally, students can attend a formal education institution such as a technical or vocational school in order to learn the ropes.

Candidates gaining experience as tenders, operators or machine setters should work on a certain set of skills in order to gain entry as a Machinist.

These skills include mathematical proficiency in trigonometry and geometry.

Additionally, candidates need to be skilled in reading blueprints, drafting and metalworking as well as having some basic computer skills.

Apprenticeship programs are very competitive to get into but once accepted, a candidate will learn a variety of information regarding this profession.

A candidate will learn how to become a Machinist hands on through an apprenticeship offered through a union or manufacturer.

A student will need a high school diploma or a GED in order to be accepted.

In addition, candidates should have knowledge and proficiency in algebra and trigonometry.

Apprenticeship programs typically last up to four years.

During this time, candidates will learn from an experienced machinist.

They will work under the supervision of an experienced Machinist and learn how to use a variety of machine tools and equipment.

Students who enter a program offered through a vocational, technical school or community college will need two years to complete a program and earn their Associate’s degree.

After completing a program, candidates will need on the job training in order to be fully qualified for Machinist jobs.

In most cases, certification is optional.

However, earning a certification from a State apprenticeship board or a college will show employers your abilities and skills.

Certification will also lead to better job opportunities.

Machinist Job Description

A Machinist’s goal is to make several types or one specific kind of precision metal part.

The first step is to read and analyze a previously created blueprint and specification before beginning to make the metal parts.

They will need to determine the type of metal they will shape; they can work with metals such as aluminum, titanium, steel, plastic or silicon.

They will then need to determine where they will begin the cutting to the material they are working with in order to shape it according to the written specifications.

Machinists will then determine the proper machine and tools needed to precision cut the material they are working with.

They will use the accurate speeds in order to prevent accidents or improper shaping.

They will finally use measuring tools to determine accuracy and whether the blueprint instructions have been followed.

Machinist Salary and Career Path

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the national median wage for Machinists in 2008 was approximately $17.41 per hour.

The salary range for these professionals during the same year was approximately $10.79 to $26.60 per hour.

Exact wages for these professionals will depend on geographical location, years of experience and the industry they work in.

The industry that pays the highest wages is the Aerospace product and parts manufacturing while the Employment Services industry pays the lowest wages.

In addition, apprentice Machinists earn lower wages while they train and gain expertise on the job.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that employment opportunities for those who want to become Machinists.

Job opportunities for these professionals are expected to decline by 5 percent through the year 2018.

However, this is not completely bad news for jobseekers.

The number of applicants wanting to enter this field is less than the number of jobs available creating more opportunities for people seeking jobs in this profession.

Top Programs

Find a Program