Machinist

Make tools, fittings, and small metal pieces used in other products.

Quick Stats


Salary Range
$24,000 – $58,000

Data from U.S. Department of Labor


What do Machinists do?

As a Machinist you create and repair the metal parts used in different tools, toys, and appliances. Pretty much every metal part, from the crank that makes a jack-in-the-box pop to a connector on a car battery, was created by a Machinist.

Your job starts before production. You get the part’s specifications from your boss or an outside company, and then you figure out how you’ll create it. To do this, you decide what type of material to use for the part, and what shape it will have. Usually, the parts you make are made of metal, like aluminum or iron, but you can also work with wood. Often a design plan will be provided for you. But again, sometimes, you’ll need to make your own design as a Machinist.

After you’ve decided on a shape, you pick the right tools for the job, and then you begin creating the part. Drills, milling machines, and lathes are all tools of your trade, and each of them is meant for a specific task. It’s necessary to really understand each tool’s limits, and the way different materials react with it. Also, it’s important that you plan out how many cuts need to be made and in what order. If too much pressure or material is removed from any one piece, you’ll end up with a weak and worthless product. And as production is underway, you keep an eye on things to make sure the parts you’re creating are in good working order and can be sold by your company.


Should I be a Machinist?

You should have a high school degree or higher and share these traits:
  • Ready for a Challenge: You jump into new projects with initiative and drive.
  • Independent: You enjoy flying solo and doing things your own way.
  • Detail Oriented: You pay close attention to all the little details.

  • Also known as: 4-Slide Operator, Aircraft Machinist, Auto Machinist, CNC Machinist, CNC Operator and Programmer See More

    How to become a Machinist

    Most Machinists have no higher education and get on-the-job training. Think about earning a Certificate or Associate's degree to increase your competitiveness in the field. Chart?chd=s:9weaaa&chl=no+college+%2854%25%29|certificate+%2842%25%29|associate%27s+%284%25%29|||&cht=p3&chs=466x180&chxr=0,54,54
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