Coating Specialists are also known as surface prep technicians. Individuals in these roles set up, operate, or tend heating equipment, such as heattreating furnaces, flame-hardening machines, induction machines, soaking pits, or vacuum equipment to temper, harden, anneal, or heat-treat metal or plastic objects.
People with a solid math background, including courses in algebra, geometry, trigonometry and basic statistics along with experience or interest working with computers.
A few weeks of on-the-job training is sufficient for most workers to learn basic machine operations, but a year or more is required to become a highly-skilled operator or setter. Employers generally prefer workers who have a high school diploma or equivalent for jobs as machine setters, operators and tenders.
With experience and expertise, workers can become trainees for more highly skilled positions; for instance, it is common for machine operators to move into setup or machinery maintenance positions. Setup workers may also move into maintenance, machinist, or tool and die maker roles. Skilled workers with good communication and analytical skills can move into supervisory positions.
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Those interested in this occupation can improve their employment opportunities by completing high school courses in shop and blueprint reading and by gaining a working knowledge of the properties of metals and plastics. A solid math background, including courses in algebra, geometry, trigonometry and basic statistics, along with experience working with computers can also be useful.
Job opportunities and advancement can be enhanced by becoming certified in a particular machine skill. There are many trade groups that offer certification for machine operators and setup workers, and certifications vary greatly depending upon the skill level involved. Certifications may allow operators and setters to switch jobs more easily because they can prove their skills to a potential employer.