Machinist is a trained person who operates machinery and tools to create or modify metal, plastic, or other materials to precise specifications. These professionals use their expertise in drilling, shaping, cutting, and finishing materials to produce components and parts. Becoming a machinist is a laborious job because modern time machines are loaded with new technologies. They require adequate education, and training to handle the challenging profession. Machinists must have knowledge of machinery and tools like mills, grinders, lathes, and computer numerical control (CNC) machines. Safety is important because they work all the time near the machining environment. Machinists work in a variety of industries such as automotive, manufacturing, aerospace, and medical device production. In this article, we will discuss all related aspects of the machinist’s profession.
- Educational Qualifications
- Work Experience
- Work Environment
- Physical Requirements
- Top Industries
- Job Types
- Salary Information
Typical education level includes-
- High School Diploma or Equivalent
- Bachelor’s Degree (preferred)
Some certifications from industry organizations include-
- American Machinists’ Society (AMS) Certification – It offers Certified Machine Operator (CMO) and Certified Toolmaker (CT) designations.
- Certified Manufacturing Technologist (CMfgT) Certification – It validates knowledge of manufacturing materials, processes, and quality control.
- Certified Production Technician (CPT) Certification – It validates skills in production and manufacturing processes.
- Computer-Aided Design (CAD) Certification – It benefits to CNC machining works.
- National Institute for Metalworking Skills (NIMS) Certification – It offers certifications in areas such as materials, measurement, CNC programming, and more.
- Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) Certification – It may benefit in areas such as machine guarding, hazardous materials handling, and safety regulations.
Some of the key experiences include-
- CNC Programming Experience
- Quality Control Experience
- Communication/Teamwork Experience
- Hands-on Machining Experience
- Problem-Solving Experience
- Safety/Compliance Experience
The typical duties include-
- Follow Safety Protocols – Wear protective gear, identify potential hazards, and follow proper safety procedures
- Maintain Machinery – Perform routine maintenance, such as cleaning and oiling machines, and repair or replace parts as necessary
- Monitor/Adjust Machines – May make adjustments to the machines or tooling as necessary to maintain quality and accuracy
- Operate/Set up Machinery – Use a variety of machines, including mills, lathes, grinders, and drills to produce parts according to specifications
- Program/Troubleshoot CNC Machines – May need to write, edit, and troubleshoot CNC programs to ensure that machines operate correctly.
- Read/Interpret Blueprints – Read and interpret engineering drawings and blueprints to determine specifications and tolerances for the part to be produced.
- Use Precision Measuring Tools – Use a variety of precision measuring tools, such as gauges, micrometers, and calipers, to ensure that parts meet the required specifications.
Some of the key skills may include-
- Attention to detail
- Communication skills
- Hand-eye coordination
- Problem-solving skills
- Technical skills
- Time-management skills
Typical work environment may include-
- May also work overtime to meet production deadlines
- May work regular daytime hours, or shifts
- Stand for long periods of time and perform repetitive tasks.
- Wear appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE)
- Work in well-lit, temperature-controlled areas
- Work with heavy machinery and equipment
Some general physical requirements include-
- Agility – Move quickly and maneuver around machinery and equipment
- Hearing – Adequate hearing to communicate with others and hear warning signals
- Lifting/Moving Heavy Objects – Raw materials or finished parts, and move them around the production area
- Manual Dexterity – Good hand-eye coordination and manual dexterity
- Repetitive Motions – Turning a crank or feeding material into a machine
- Long Time Standing – Extended periods of time while operating machinery or performing other tasks
- Visual Acuity – Good eyesight to read blueprints and operate machinery with precision
Some common industries include-
- Aerospace Industry
- Automotive Industry
- Construction Industry
- Defense Industry
- Manufacturing Industry
- Medical Device Industry
Some common job types include-
- CNC Machinist
- Maintenance Machinist
- Manual Machinist
- Production Machinist
- Prototype Machinist
- Tool and Die Maker
The salary of a machinist is not equal in all places in the United States. It varies depending on the factors like location, education, experience, and industry. The average hourly wage for a machinist is around $20-$25. A machinist working full-time (40 hours per week) could earn around $3,200-$4,000 monthly and an annual salary is around $38,400-$48,000.
Machinists with specialized skills, certifications, or experience may earn higher salaries. The industries such as defense or aerospace may offer more than other industries. The highest hourly paying cities for Machinists are San Diego ($28.31), El Cajon ($26.58), Houston ($25.31), and Green Bay ($25.30).
The most common benefits include-
|401(k)||Health Savings Account|
|401(k) Matching||Life Insurance|
|AD&D Insurance||Paid Time Off|
|Dental Insurance||Parental Leave|
|Disability Insurance||Professional Development Assistance|
|Employee Assistance Program||Profit Sharing|
|Employee Discount||Referral Program|
|Flexible Schedule||Retirement Plan|
|Flexible Spending Account||Tuition Reimbursement|
|Health Insurance||Vision Insurance|
Machinists play a critical role in the manufacturing process. They produce high-precision parts and components for a variety of industries. The different machinist job types require different levels of skill and experience. The position needs a strong understanding of machining processes, and the ability to read technical drawings and blueprints. Overall, the aforesaid information on a machinist’s career is crucial for aspiring applicants to go ahead for the profession.