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Thinking of becoming a machinist?

Machinists operate machine tools to produce precision parts, often made of metal, but also sometimes plastics and composites. Tasks include cutting, shaping, and finishing these parts to precise specifications, with tolerances sometimes to the ten thousandth of an inch or higher.

The job of a machinist is diverse, can span across many industries and plays a crucial role in the manufacturing sector. Machinists find employment in aerospace, automotive design and manufacturing, medical equipment manufacturing, machine shops and much more. In the aerospace industry, machinists are responsible for producing intricate components for aircraft and spacecraft. In the automotive sector, they contribute to the manufacturing of engine parts and other essential components. Medical equipment manufacturers rely on machinists to produce precise and intricate parts for devices like surgical instruments and diagnostic equipment.

To become a machinist, individuals typically undergo formal training, either through vocational schools or apprenticeship programs. Training covers a range of topics, including blueprint reading, computer-aided design (CAD), and the operation of various machine tools such as lathes, milling machines, and CNC (computer numerical control) machines. Machinists need to develop a strong understanding of materials and their properties to choose the right tools and processes for each job.

Machinists are highly valued. Their work directly impacts the quality and functionality of the final products manufactured by a company. The demand for skilled machinists remains high, as industries continue to require precision machining for their manufacturing processes. Machinists also often have the opportunity to work on challenging and innovative projects, contributing to advancements in technology and industry. They are integral to development and manufacturing, and their technical expertise, attention to detail, and problem-solving abilities make them critical to general technological advancement and shaping the world around us.


Machinist Quick Facts


$41,600-62,400 ($20-30+/hour)

Education / Certifications

Becoming a machinist doesn’t require any degree except a high school diploma or GED, but you do need training through a community college, trade school or apprenticeship program. There are also optional certifications that command higher salaries including: Engineering III Certificate, CNC Certificate, and certifications in milling, sheet metal, manufacturing, fluids and more.

Career Opportunities
  • CNC Machinist
  • Manual Machinist
  • Tool and Die Maker
  • Prototype Machinist
  • Production Machinist
  • Aerospace Machinist
  • Automotive Machinist
  • Medical Device Machinist
  • Mold Maker
Is This Career Choice for You?

The aptitude of a good machinist involves a combination of technical skills, attention to detail, and problem-solving abilities. Machinists must be able to interpret complex engineering drawings and specifications accurately. Precision is paramount in their work, as even minor errors can result in faulty components.