Tool and Die Technician

By becoming a tool and die technician, you'd create products that help complex machinery work smoothly. Explore the training you'd need for this job, and read about diploma, degree and apprenticeship programs for aspiring tool and die technicians. Check the employment outlook and salary potential for these technicians.

Is Becoming a Tool and Die Technician for Me?

Career Overview

As a tool and die technician, you would design and repair intricate machinery parts used in the manufacturing of a variety of products. You must be highly skilled and knowledgeable about complex machinery and have the ability to interpret and create blueprints.

With an educational background in or experience as a tool and die technician, there are several types of places you could work, including a manufacturing plant or machine shop. You might also find work within a refrigeration company, hardware business, tool and die business, engineering company, heavy equipment operation company or other type of industrial corporation.

Career Options

Other fields of work with experience as a tool and die technician that you might be able to pursue include computer numerically controlled (CNC) machinist, general machinist or production machinist. You could also work as a tool and die maker, moldmaker, micro machining, toolmaker or medical machinist. The possibilities are numerous.

Employment Information

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment of tool and die makers was expected to decline 1% from 2012-2022 which will be due in part to competition with foreign manufacturers (www.bls.gov). However, the BLS reported that job prospects would be very favorable due to people leaving the field and because less people are entering the profession. In May 2013, the BLS also reported that tool and die makers earned a median hourly salary of $23.06.

How Do I Become a Tool and Die Technician?

Education and Training

If you're interested in a career as a tool and die technician, you might enroll in a machine technology program. A CNC precision machining technology program is an example. You can find programs like this at community and technical colleges offered as diploma programs or associate degree programs.

Course options in programs such as this might include techniques in machinery, technical design, blueprint reading, manufacturing, advanced mathematics, computer programs and production processes such as lathe operation. You'll learn how to use drilling and cutting tools, operate different types of mechanical devices and read plans. Training in computer-aided design (CAD) is also included.

Apprenticeships are also available through some technical colleges. You'll need to complete nearly 10,000 hours of training, which includes on-the-job instruction and other paid related training. Programs last about five years. Through academic studies, you'll learn about planning and creating devices and instruments, interpreting diagrams of machinery, developing tools and analyzing designs.

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