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Machinists
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Description: what do they do?
Set up and operate a variety of machine tools to produce precision parts and instruments. Includes precision instrument makers who fabricate, modify, or repair mechanical instruments. May also fabricate and modify parts to make or repair machine tools or maintain industrial machines, applying knowledge of mechanics, mathematics, metal properties, layout, and machining procedures.
Also known as:
Production Machinist, Set-Up Machinist, Tool Room Machinist, Gear Machinist, Machinist, Journeyman Machinist, Maintenance Specialist, Machine Repair Person, Maintenance Machinist, Machine Operator

    What does this information tell me?

    This description is a quick overview of what workers in this career might do.

    "Also known as" shows other common names for this career.

    What is the source of this information?

    This information comes from an O*NET database. Learn more on the Help page.

Career video
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    Transcript: To build everything workshops and factories around the country rely on the handiwork of machinists, and tool and die makers. Starting from blueprints, sketches, or computer-aided design files, they set up the machines that produce parts. Once products are made, they file and grind them to meet project specifications, giving them a final smoothing and polish to finish. Machinists run computer numerically controlled or CNC—machines… that produce precision metal parts and tools. They may produce a large number of one part– such as automobile pistons… or many small batches— like bone screws for medical implants… or even one-of-a-kind items. They need to be skilled with a wide range of machines and techniques. Toolmakers craft precision tools for cutting and forming metal, and create different gauges and other measuring devices. Die makers construct metal forms used to shape metal, and make molds for shaping plastics, ceramics, and composite materials. Tool and die makers are trained to write CNC programs as well as operate the machines. Workers wear safety glasses, earplugs, and masks when needed to protect themselves during hazardous phases of their work. Schedules are generally full time, with some shifts on evenings and weekends to keep production running around the clock. A high school diploma or equivalent is necessary, and skills in math and problem-solving are important. Machinists may train in on the job, apprenticeship, or at technical colleges. Becoming a tool or die maker takes several years of instruction and on-the-job training.
View transcript
Outlook: will there be jobs?
Image. Employment outlook for this occupation
New job opportunities are less likely in the future.


    What does this information tell me?

    Outlook information can tell you whether a career is expected to be in demand in the future—that is, whether there are likely to be job openings if you choose this career. Careers can have one of three outlooks:

    • A Bright outlook means new job opportunities are very likely in the future
    • An Average outlook means that a small number of new job opportunities are likely in the future (less than an 8 percent increase)
    • A Below Average outlook means new job opportunities are less likely in the future

    You can also view local job listings in this field by clicking "Find job openings" above. This can help you see if local businesses are hiring—another way of looking at demand.

    What is the source of this information?

    This information comes from the O*NET Resource Center. Learn more about O*NET’s Bright Outlook occupations. Note this information is only available at a national level, so even if you selected a state, you’ll only see this information for the whole country.

Projected employment
Kentucky
6,210
2016 Employment
6,450
2026 Employment
4%
Percent change
660
Annual projected job openings
United States
396,200
2016 Employment
404,100
2026 Employment
2%
Percent change
40,700
Annual projected job openings

    What does this information tell me?

    Projected employment shows how much employment is expected to grow in this occupation over a 10-year period. This can help you decide if this career is a good choice for future job opportunities. You can look at projected employment in your state, or in other states where you might consider living.

    You can see the total number of people employed in this occupation in 2016, the number expected to be employed in 2026, and rate of growth over those years.

    The projections are based on assumptions of unemployment rates and labor productivity growth rates.  While the projected numbers may not be exact, they are helpful to compare one career to another, or one location to another.

    What is the source of this information?

    State-level data come from Projections Central and each state's Labor Market Information office.

    National-level data come from the Bureau of Labor Statistics Employment Projections, 2016-26.

Typical wages

Annual wages for Machinists in Kentucky
LocationKentuckyUnited States
10%$27,040$26,430
25%$33,410$33,410
Median$40,830$42,600
75%$51,290$53,540
90%$60,690$63,790


    What does this information tell me?

    This chart shows you a range of how much most workers in this occupation earn per hour, in the location that you selected.

    You can select from three views of this data:

    • The Graph shows you wages at the 10th, 25th, 50th, 75th and 90th percentiles. Note that the lowest (10th %ile) wage shown is not necessarily a "starting wage." Instead it means that 10 percent of all workers in this career earn less that this amount, and 90 percent earn more. However, you can assume that you might earn close to the 10th or 25th %ile wages when you start out in most careers.
    • Select "Chart" to see a visual comparison between national wages and wages in the location you selected.
    • Select "Table" to see more wage data the national and local level.

    Please note that wage data are not available at the city or ZIP code level. If you selected a city or ZIP code, you will see wage data for the regional area.

    Also note that in this update, 21 detailed occupations found within the 2010 Standard Occupational Classification (SOC) were replaced with 10 new aggregations of those occupations; read more about these OES changes.

    You can learn more about wages for this and other occupations by clicking “See more wages” above.

    What is the source of this information?

    The wage information comes from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Employment Statistics Program, 2017 data. For more detailed state wage data, please find the link to your state's wage data program in the Other Resources box.

Education and experience: to get started
People starting in this career usually have:
  • High school diploma or equivalent
  • No work experience
  • More than 1 year on-the-job training

Programs that can prepare you:

    What does this information tell me?

    This shows you the typical level of education, work experience, and on-the-job training that most people have when they start in this career. Note that these are not requirements for entering this field, but the information can help you understand how qualified you might be.

    Interested in starting in this career? You can search for education programs in your local area by clicking “Find local training” above.

    What is the source of this information?

    This information comes from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Office of Occupational Statistics and Employment Projections Education and Training Data.

Typical education
How much education do most people in this career have?
Chart. Percent of workers in this field by education level attained

    What does this information tell me?

    This chart shows you the range of education levels that people who currently work in this field have. You can use this to see if you fit in this range. Note that this includes ALL people who work in this field and not just those getting started.

    Interested in getting qualified for this career? You can search for programs that lead to the education needed, in your local area, by clicking “Find local training” above.

    What is the source of this information?

    This information comes from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Office of Occupational Statistics and Employment Projections Education and Training Data.

Certifications: show your skills
Let employers know you have the skills to do well at this job.
Earning a certification can help you:
  • Get a job
  • Get a promotion

    What does this information tell me?

    When you click "Find certifications" you'll see a list of national certifications that are related to this career. From there, you can learn how to achieve one of these certifications to help you enter or get ahead in this field.

    What is the source of this information?

    This collection of occupational certifications is collected and regularly updated by CareerOneStop. Learn more at Certification Finder Help.

Licenses: do you need one?
Some states require an occupational license to work in this career.

    What does this information tell me?

    When you click "Find license details in your state" you'll see the license name and contact information for the agency in your state that oversees licensing for this field. If you have not selected a location, you'll see a list of all state licenses for this occupation.

    What is the source of this information?

    Information on licensed occupations is gathered in each state by Labor Market Information units under a grant from the U.S. Department of Labor. Learn more at License Finder Help.

Apprenticeships: learn on the job
Apprenticeships combine paid on-the-job-training with classroom lessons.

    What does this information tell me?

    When you click "Find apprenticeship sponsors" you'll find information that can help you locate apprenticeship opportunities in your state:

    • If there are businesses that have sponsored apprenticeships in this field in the past, you'll find their name and contact information.
    • If there are related occupations that might have apprenticeship opportunities, you'll find links to that information.
    • You'll also see contact information for state and federal agencies that oversee apprenticeship programs.

    What is the source of this information?

    Apprenticeship information comes from the U.S. Department of Labor, Office of Apprenticeships, and from CareerOneStop. Learn more at Apprenticeship Finder Help.

Activities: what you might do in a day
  • Measure dimensions of completed products or workpieces to verify conformance to specifications.
  • Calculate dimensions of workpieces, products, or equipment.
  • Operate cutting equipment.
  • Operate grinding equipment.
  • Operate metal or plastic forming equipment.
  • Mount attachments or tools onto production equipment.
  • Monitor equipment operation to ensure proper functioning.
  • Maintain production or processing equipment.
  • Review blueprints or other instructions to determine operational methods or sequences.
  • Conduct test runs of production equipment.
  • Monitor lubrication of equipment or workpieces.
  • Program equipment to perform production tasks.
  • Diagnose equipment malfunctions.
  • Design tools, fixtures, or other devices for production equipment.
  • Exchange information with colleagues.
  • Measure materials to mark reference points, cutting lines, or other indicators.
  • Draw guide lines or markings on materials or workpieces using patterns or other references.
  • Assemble machine tools, parts, or fixtures.
  • Operate welding equipment.
  • Dispose of trash or waste materials.
  • Sort recyclable materials.
  • Advise others on ways to improve processes or products.
  • Plan production or operational procedures or sequences.
  • Disassemble equipment for maintenance or repair.
  • Replace worn equipment components.
  • Install mechanical components in production equipment.
  • Create diagrams or blueprints for workpieces or products.
  • Assemble electromechanical or hydraulic systems.

    What does this information tell me?

    This is a list of typical work activities that people in this career might do on the job. You can use this list to get an idea of whether this career might be a good fit for you.

    Click on “More activities” to see more detailed examples of activities for this career.

    You can also use this list to help you prepare for a job interview. Or, if you’ve already held a job like this, you can copy these activities to use on your resume.

    What is the source of this information?

    This information comes from O*NET OnLine's Occupation Information. They are O*NET’s Detailed Work Activities.

Knowledge
People in this career often know a lot about:
  • Mathematics - Knowledge of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, statistics, and their applications.
  • Mechanical - Knowledge of machines and tools, including their designs, uses, repair, and maintenance.
  • Production and Processing - Knowledge of raw materials, production processes, quality control, costs, and other techniques for maximizing the effective manufacture and distribution of goods.

    What does this information tell me?

    This is a list of general knowledge areas that are most commonly required for jobs in the career. Knowledge is typically gained through education and related experience.

    This list can help you learn if you are prepared for a job in this career. It can also help you decide on education or training programs that could help you prepare for the career.

    What is the source of this information?

    This information comes from the O*NET Resource Center. Learn more about O*NET's Knowledge descriptors.

Abilities
People in this career often have talent in:
  • Arm-Hand Steadiness - Keeping your arm or hand steady.
  • Manual Dexterity - Holding or moving items with your hands.
  • Finger Dexterity - Putting together small parts with your fingers.
  • Control Precision - Quickly changing the controls of a machine, car, truck or boat.
  • Multilimb Coordination - Using your arms and/or legs together while sitting, standing, or lying down.
  • Near Vision - Seeing details up close.

    What does this information tell me?

    This is a list of a list of personal qualities that might influence work and are most commonly required for success in this career.

    This list can help you understand if your natural strengths and abilities are a good fit for this career.

    What is the source of this information?

    This information comes from the O*NET Resource Center. Learn more about O*NET's Abilities descriptors.

Interests
  • Conventional - Occupations related to Conventional interests frequently involve following set procedures and routines. They include working with data and details more than with ideas. Usually there is a clear line of authority to follow.
  • Investigative - Occupations with Investigative interests frequently involve working with ideas, and require an extensive amount of thinking. They often involve research and figuring out problems mentally.
  • Realistic - Occupations with Realistic interests frequently involve practical, hands-on problems and solutions. They often deal with plants, animals, and real-world materials like wood, tools, and machinery. Many require working outside, and do not involve a lot of paperwork or working closely with others.

    What does this information tell me?

    This is a list of work environment-preferences that are most commonly associated with the career. It can help you understand if your natural interests are a good fit for this career.

    Click "Take an interest assessment" for a quick 30-question assessment that can help you understand your interests and see careers that might be good matches for them.

    What is the source of this information?

    This information comes from the O*NET Resource Center. Learn more about O*NET's Interest descriptors.

Typical tasks
  • Calculate dimensions or tolerances, using instruments such as micrometers or vernier calipers.
  • Machine parts to specifications, using machine tools, such as lathes, milling machines, shapers, or grinders.
  • Set up, adjust, or operate basic or specialized machine tools used to perform precision machining operations.
  • Align and secure holding fixtures, cutting tools, attachments, accessories, or materials onto machines.
  • Measure, examine, or test completed units to check for defects and ensure conformance to specifications, using precision instruments, such as micrometers.
  • Monitor the feed and speed of machines during the machining process.
  • Maintain machine tools in proper operational condition.
  • Study sample parts, blueprints, drawings, or engineering information to determine methods or sequences of operations needed to fabricate products.
  • Operate equipment to verify operational efficiency.
  • Check work pieces to ensure that they are properly lubricated or cooled.
  • Program computers or electronic instruments, such as numerically controlled machine tools.
  • Diagnose machine tool malfunctions to determine need for adjustments or repairs.
  • Design fixtures, tooling, or experimental parts to meet special engineering needs.
  • Confer with engineering, supervisory, or manufacturing personnel to exchange technical information.
  • Lay out, measure, and mark metal stock to display placement of cuts.
  • Fit and assemble parts to make or repair machine tools.
  • Set up or operate metalworking, brazing, heat-treating, welding, or cutting equipment.
  • Confer with numerical control programmers to check and ensure that new programs or machinery will function properly and that output will meet specifications.
  • Dispose of scrap or waste material in accordance with company policies and environmental regulations.
  • Separate scrap waste and related materials for reuse, recycling, or disposal.
  • Evaluate machining procedures and recommend changes or modifications for improved efficiency or adaptability.
  • Establish work procedures for fabricating new structural products, using a variety of metalworking machines.
  • Dismantle machines or equipment, using hand tools or power tools to examine parts for defects and replace defective parts where needed.
  • Install repaired parts into equipment or install new equipment.
  • Prepare working sketches for the illustration of product appearance.
  • Advise clients about the materials being used for finished products.
  • Install experimental parts or assemblies, such as hydraulic systems, electrical wiring, lubricants, or batteries into machines or mechanisms.

    What does this information tell me?

    This is a list of typical tasks that people in this career might do on the job.  You can use this list to get an idea of whether this career might be a good fit for you.

    Click on “More tasks” to see more detailed examples for this career.

    You can also use this list to help you prepare for a job interview. Or, if you’ve already held a job like this, you can copy these tasks to use on your resume.

    What is the source of this information?

    This information comes from O*NET OnLine's Occupation Information. They are O*NET‘s Tasks.

    What does this information tell me?

    These are additional online resources related to this career. You may find different or more detailed information at these sources.

    What is the source of this information?

    This information is collected and maintained by CareerOneStop.