People in this carrer 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.
People interested in becoming machinists should be mechanically inclined, have good problem-solving abilities, be able to work independently and be able to do highly accurate work that requires concentration and physical effort. Experience working with machine tools is helpful.
Experienced machinists may become CNC programmers, tool and die makers or mold makers, or be promoted to supervisory or administrative positions in their firms. A few open their own machine shops.
Employer website, MWE, Networking.
High School Diploma or equivalent, vocational training, OJT or an AAS
Machinists train in apprenticeship programs, vocational schools, community or technical colleges or informally on the job. Many entrants previously have worked as machine setters, operators or tenders. There are many different ways to become a skilled machinist. In high school, students should take math courses, especially trigonometry and geometry, and if available, courses in blueprint reading, metalworking and drafting. Due to the increasing use of computer-controlled machinery, basic computer skills are needed before entering a training program. After highschool some machinists learn entirely on the job, but most acquire their skills in a mix of classroom and on-the-job training. Formal apprenticeship programs, typically sponsored by a union or manufacturer, are an excellent way to learn the job of machinist, but are often hard to get into.