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Woodworking Machine Setters, Operators, and Tenders, Except Sawing
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Description: what do they do?
Set up, operate, or tend woodworking machines, such as drill presses, lathes, shapers, routers, sanders, planers, and wood nailing machines. May operate CNC equipment.
Also known as:
Router Operator, Sander, Lathe Operator, Cabinet Maker, Molder Operator, Sander Operator, Knot Saw Operator, Boring Machine Operator, Machine Operator, Computer Numerical Control Operator (CNC 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: The wood products we use every day— furniture, kitchen cabinets, musical instruments, and more— are produced by highly skilled woodworkers. Woodworkers make wood products from lumber and synthetic wood materials. The modern woodworking trade is highly technical; while some continue to work with traditional methods in small workshops, most woodworkers use automated machinery, such as computerized numerical control —or CNC—machines, working in high-production assembly line facilities. Machine woodworkers set up the equipment, cut and shape wooden parts, and verify dimensions. They apply fasteners and adhesives and assemble the parts into finished units. To complete a piece, they install hardware, and fit products for glass, metal trims, electrical components, and stone. Finally, they sand, and apply finishes. Cabinetmakers and bench carpenters make wood pieces, and design custom cabinets to customers’ specifications, then build and install them. Furniture finishers do the finishing work of staining, sealing, and top coating wooden products. They also refinish furniture, and may work with antiques to preserve and repair them. Workers may handle heavy materials and be exposed to noise and dust. Injuries occur at a higher rate than in many other jobs. Protective gear, including safety glasses, respirators, and hearing protection devices, are worn for many jobs. Most woodworkers work full time during regular business hours. A high school diploma or equivalent is typically required for woodworkers. Full proficiency may take several years of 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
United States
77,100
2016 Employment
77,500
2026 Employment
1%
Percent change
8,400
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 Woodworking Machine Setters, Operators, and Tenders, Except Sawing in United States
This graph displays wage data.  Find details by selecting the table view.
This chart displays wage data.  Find details by selecting the table view.
LocationUnited States
10%$20,870
25%$24,520
Median$29,730
75%$36,710
90%$44,420


    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, 2018 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
  • 1 to 12 months 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.
  • Operate woodworking equipment.
  • Conduct test runs of production equipment.
  • Monitor equipment operation to ensure that products are not flawed.
  • Inspect lumber or raw woodstock.
  • Set equipment controls to meet cutting specifications.
  • Mount attachments or tools onto production equipment.
  • Select production input materials.
  • Determine production equipment settings.
  • Feed materials or products into or through equipment.
  • Select production equipment according to product specifications.
  • Maneuver workpieces in equipment during production.
  • Replace worn equipment components.
  • Remove accessories, tools, or other parts from equipment.
  • Mount materials or workpieces onto production equipment.
  • Load materials into production equipment.
  • Mark products, workpieces, or equipment with identifying information.
  • Stack finished items for further processing or shipment.
  • Inspect production equipment.
  • Clean production equipment.
  • Maintain production or processing equipment.
  • Clean work areas.
  • Set equipment guides, stops, spacers, or other fixtures.
  • Trim excess material from workpieces.
  • Remove products or workpieces from production equipment.
  • Program equipment to perform production tasks.
  • Lubricate production equipment.
  • Operate cranes, hoists, or other moving or lifting equipment.
  • Sharpen cutting or grinding tools.

    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.

Skills
People in this career often have these skills:
  • Operation Monitoring - Watching gauges, dials, or display screens to make sure a machine is working.
  • Operation and Control - Using equipment or systems.

    What does this information tell me?

    This is a list of a list the work-related skills most commonly required for jobs in the career.

    This list can help you understand how well your current skills fit this career. It can also help you plan your education or professional development.

    What is the source of this information?

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

Abilities
People in this career often have talent in:
  • Near Vision - Seeing details up close.
  • Reaction Time - Quickly moving your hand, finger, or foot based on a sound, light, picture or other command.
  • Manual Dexterity - Holding or moving items with your hands.
  • Control Precision - Quickly changing the controls of a machine, car, truck or boat.
  • Oral Comprehension - Listening and understanding what people say.

    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
  • Examine finished workpieces for smoothness, shape, angle, depth-of-cut, or conformity to specifications and verify dimensions, visually and using hands, rules, calipers, templates, or gauges.
  • Set up, program, operate, or tend computerized or manual woodworking machines, such as drill presses, lathes, shapers, routers, sanders, planers, or wood-nailing machines.
  • Start machines, adjust controls, and make trial cuts to ensure that machinery is operating properly.
  • Monitor operation of machines and make adjustments to correct problems and ensure conformance to specifications.
  • Examine raw woodstock for defects and to ensure conformity to size and other specification standards.
  • Adjust machine tables or cutting devices and set controls on machines to produce specified cuts or operations.
  • Install and adjust blades, cutterheads, boring-bits, or sanding-belts, using hand tools and rules.
  • Change alignment and adjustment of sanding, cutting, or boring machine guides to prevent defects in finished products, using hand tools.
  • Determine product specifications and materials, work methods, and machine setup requirements, according to blueprints, oral or written instructions, drawings, or work orders.
  • Feed stock through feed mechanisms or conveyors into planing, shaping, boring, mortising, or sanding machines to produce desired components.
  • Select knives, saws, blades, cutter heads, cams, bits, or belts, according to workpiece, machine functions, or product specifications.
  • Push or hold workpieces against, under, or through cutting, boring, or shaping mechanisms.
  • Remove and replace worn parts, bits, belts, sandpaper, or shaping tools.
  • Secure woodstock against a guide or in a holding device, place woodstock on a conveyor, or dump woodstock in a hopper to feed woodstock into machines.
  • Inspect and mark completed workpieces and stack them on pallets, in boxes, or on conveyors so that they can be moved to the next workstation.
  • Inspect pulleys, drive belts, guards, or fences on machines to ensure that machines will operate safely.
  • Clean or maintain products, machines, or work areas.
  • Attach and adjust guides, stops, clamps, chucks, or feed mechanisms, using hand tools.
  • Trim wood parts according to specifications, using planes, chisels, or wood files or sanders.
  • Unclamp workpieces and remove them from machines.
  • Start machines and move levers to engage hydraulic lifts that press woodstocks into desired forms and disengage lifts after appropriate drying times.
  • Operate gluing machines to glue pieces of wood together, or to press and affix wood veneer to wood surfaces.
  • Set up, program, or control computer-aided design (CAD) or computer numerical control (CNC) machines.
  • Grease or oil woodworking machines.
  • Control hoists to remove parts or products from work stations.
  • Sharpen knives, bits, or other cutting or shaping tools.

    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.