What Are Some Popular Machinist Jobs?
Hundreds of thousands of people are currently employed as machinists, metalworkers or CNC machine technicians. Popular machinist jobs might include making parts for car and airplane manufacturers or machining sheet metal. Read on to learn more about career options in this field.
Machinists are involved in anything that has to do with shaping and cutting metal. Anywhere you can find a machine shop, you can find machinists staffing it. Their work will likely involve turned products, metalworking, computer-controlled machining or tool and die making.
Important Facts About This Field
|Median Salary (2020)||$47,040|
|Job Outlook (2019-2029)||3% growth|
|Key Skills||Manual dexterity, mechanical, analytical, and technical skills|
|Similar Occupations||Welder, industrial machinery worker, metal/plastic machine worker|
|On-the-Job Training||Can last up to a year; apprenticeships are also available, but difficult to get into|
Source: United States Bureau of Labor Statistics
Turned Products Machinists
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported in May 2019 that just over 22% of machinists, around 85,400 people, work in machine shops and deal with turned products like screws, bolts and other similar objects. This often involves the use of lathes. In addition to these common products, many machine shops also employ machinists to mill more specialized turned products for their clients.
Machinists in Metalworking Machinery Manufacturing
The BLS noted in 2019 that about 19% of machinists, or 73,700 people, work in metalworking machinery manufacturing. These machinists assist in shaping the sheet metal that goes into things like ductwork, roofs and the tailgate of your truck.
Computer Numerically Controlled (CNC) Machinists
About 5 percent of machinists work in fabricated metal product and parts manufacturing, according to the BLS, and another 3.5 percent work in motor vehicle parts manufacturing. These machinists generally work with computer-controlled CNC machining technology. With these machines, they produce precision parts that are too complicated to be made by other automated manufacturing equipment.
Tool and Die Making
Highly skilled tool and die makers account for around 72,500 jobs in the United States as of May 2019, the BLS reported. These machinists are responsible for designing, making and repairing the machines that are used in metalworking. Some tool- and die-making machinists create or fix the gauges that maintenance technicians use to keep production within tolerances. They may craft dies and molds that will be employed not only in metalworking, but also in fields that use plastics and ceramics.