MACHINISTS/TOOL PROGRAMMERS produce precision metal parts, using machine tools such as lathes, drill presses, and milling machines. They plan and carry out the operations needed to make machined products that meet precise specifications. They first read blueprints or specifications for the job. They then calculate where to cut or bore workpiece, how fast to feed metal into machine, and how much metal to remove. They select tools and materials and plan the sequence of cutting and finishing. After the layout work is completed, they perform the necessary machining operations to produce a finished product.
Salary, Size & Growth
- $47,500 average per year ($22.75 per hour)
- A large occupation (492,600 workers in 2010)
- Expected to decline (0.2% per year)
MACHINISTS/TOOL PROGRAMMERS acquire their skills through apprenticeship programs, on the job, and in high schools, vo-tec schools, or community or technical colleges. Experience with machine tools is helpful. High school or vocational school courses in math, blueprint reading, metalworking, and drafting are highly recommended. The National Institute of Metalworking Skills (NIMS) grants a credential to trainees who pass a written exam and performance requirements. This credential provides formal recognition of competency in a metalworking field.