What Does A Machinist Do (including Their Typical Day at Work)

Stan T.Career, Overview

Salary, Job Description, How To Become One, and Quiz

Machinists

Machinists set up and operate a variety of machine tools to produce precision parts and instruments out of metal. Includes precision instrument makers who fabricate, modify, or repair mechanical instruments. May also fabricate and modify parts to make or repair machine tools or maintain industrial machines, applying knowledge of mechanics, mathematics, metal properties, layout, and machining procedures.

Salary
$47800
Becoming One
Medium
Education
Post-secondary certificate
Job Satisfaction
Job Growth

Personality





Find a job you love and you will never work a day in your life.Confucius

What they do

Machinists set up and operate a variety of machine tools to produce precision parts and instruments out of metal. Includes precision instrument makers who fabricate, modify, or repair mechanical instruments. May also fabricate and modify parts to make or repair machine tools or maintain industrial machines, applying knowledge of mechanics, mathematics, metal properties, layout, and machining procedures.

  • Calculate dimensions or tolerances, using instruments such as micrometers or vernier calipers.
  • Machine parts to specifications, using machine tools, such as lathes, milling machines, shapers, or grinders.
  • Set up, adjust, or operate basic or specialized machine tools used to perform precision machining operations.
  • Align and secure holding fixtures, cutting tools, attachments, accessories, or materials onto machines.

Typical day

On a daily basis, Machinists machine parts to specifications, using machine tools, such as lathes, milling machines, shapers, or grinders. They calculate dimensions or tolerances, using instruments such as micrometers or vernier calipers.

A typical day for a Machinist will also include:

  • Separate scrap waste and related materials for reuse, recycling, or disposal.
  • Maintain machine tools in proper operational condition.
  • Dispose of scrap or waste material in accordance with company policies and environmental regulations.
  • Check workpieces to ensure that they are properly lubricated or cooled.
  • Monitor the feed and speed of machines during the machining process.

Other responsibilities

Besides their typical day, Machinists also test experimental models under simulated operating conditions for purposes such as development, standardization, or feasibility of the design. They may also design fixtures, tooling, or experimental parts to meet special engineering needs.

On a weekly to monthly basis, Machinists confer with engineering, supervisory, or manufacturing personnel to exchange technical information. They might also install repaired parts into equipment or install new equipment.

In addition, they evaluate machining procedures and recommend changes or modifications for improved efficiency or adaptability.

Although specific duties may vary, many of them fit and assemble parts to make or repair machine tools.

To some Machinists, it is also their responsibility to prepare working sketches for the illustration of product appearance.

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What is the job like

Job satisfaction

Average

Is this job meaningful

Average

65% said they were satisfied with their job and 47% said they found their job meaningful.


Pros

Suitable for people who like practical and hands-on work.

Suitable for people who want to work in a supportive work environment.

This career is perfect for people who love to work indoors.

It is not too difficult to get into this career. Previous work-related skill, knowledge, or experience is required for this career.

Demand for this career is growing fast.

Cons

Not suitable for people who like to help and teach others.

Salary is below average.

How much do they make

Average salary

$47800 per year

Average hourly wage

$23 per hour

Entry-level Machinists with little to no experience can expect to make anywhere between $29,240 to $35,900 per year or $14 to $17 per hour.

Salary by experience Annual Hourly
Highest (Top 10%) $69,050 $33
Senior (Top 25%) $57,930 $28
Median $45,840 $22
Junior (Bottom 25%) $35,900 $17
No experience (Bottom 10%) $29,240 $14

This table shows the top 10 highest paying industries for Machinists based on their average annual salary.

Salary by industry Annual Hourly
Natural Gas Distribution $96470 $46.38
Scheduled Air Transportation $89320 $42.94
Local Government $84780 $40.76
Electric Power Generation, Transmission and Distribution $79100 $38.03
Petroleum and Coal Products Manufacturing $70180 $33.74
Tobacco Manufacturing $67110 $32.27
Other Specialty Trade Contractors $64610 $31.06
Seafood Product Preparation and Packaging $64210 $30.87
Rail Transportation $63850 $30.70
Federal Executive Branch $63050 $30.31

View more salary by industries here.

Where can they work

Where can Machinists work? Here is a table showing the top 10 largest employers of Machinists including the average salary in that industry.

Employers Total Employed Annual Salary Hourly Wages
Machine Shops; Turned Product; and Screw, Nut, and Bolt Manufacturing 92070 $45690 $21.97
Machinery Manufacturing 35200 $47140 $22.66
Metalworking Machinery Manufacturing 24190 $46420 $22.32
Fabricated Metal Product Manufacturing 22820 $45880 $22.06
Employment Services 21350 $40680 $19.56
Aerospace Product and Parts Manufacturing 18910 $54550 $26.23
Motor Vehicle Parts Manufacturing 14680 $46600 $22.40
Fabricated Metal Product Manufacturing 9170 $45830 $22.03
Engine, Turbine, and Power Transmission Equipment Manufacturing 8590 $47070 $22.63
Navigational, Measuring, Electromedical, and Control Instruments Manufacturing 7790 $51280 $24.65

What is the work day like

Working hours

Less than 40 hours
0%

40 hours
56%

More than 40 hours
44%

Working schedule

95%

5%

0%

Email

How often do you use email in this job?

Once a week
22%

Every day
17%

Telephone

How often do you have telephone conversations in this job?

Once a week
25%

Every day
11%

Group discussions

How often do you have group discussions in this job?

Once a week
9%

Every day
78%

Public speaking

How often does this job require you to do public speaking?

Never
78%

Once a year
16%

Once a month
3%

Once a week
0%

Every day
4%

Level of competition

How much competitive pressure is in this job?

Not competitive at all
17%

Slightly competitive
8%

Moderately competitive
36%

Highly competitive
24%

Extremely competitive
15%

What is the work environment like

Office-style environment

Indoors in an environmentally controlled condition

Never
19%

Once a year or more
6%

Once a month or more
0%

Once a week or more
0%

Every day
75%

Warehouse-style environment

Indoors in a non-controlled environmental condition such as a warehouse

Never
72%

Once a year or more
7%

Once a month or more
3%

Once a week or more
6%

Every day
13%

Outdoors

Outdoors exposed to all weather conditions

Never
83%

Once a year or more
7%

Once a month or more
4%

Once a week or more
6%

Every day
0%

Outdoors – Under Cover

Outdoors but under cover (e.g. structure with roof but no walls)

Never
87%

Once a year or more
5%

Once a month or more
0%

Once a week or more
8%

Every day
1%

How to become one

Difficulty to become one

Medium
You will need previous work-related skill, knowledge, or experience. Most careers in this difficulty category require training in vocational schools, related on-the-job experience, or an Associate’s degree, and one or two years of on-the-job training. Similar careers include Travel Agents, Agricultural Technicians, Court Reports, and Medical Assistants.

Required level of education

What level of education do you need to perform the job?

Less than a High School Diploma
14%

High School Diploma or equivalent
36%

Post-Secondary Certificate
33%

Some College Courses
17%

Associate’s Degree or similar
0%

Bachelor’s Degree
0%

Post-Baccalaureate Certificate
0%

Master’s Degree
0%

Post-Master’s Certificate
0%

First Professional Degree
0%

Doctoral Degree
0%

Post-Doctoral Training
0%

Relevant majors

Machine Tool Technology/Machinist

A program that prepares individuals to apply technical knowledge and skills to plan, manufacture, assemble, test, and repair parts, mechanisms, machines, and structures in which materials are cast, formed, shaped, molded, heat treated, cut, twisted, pressed, fused, stamped or worked.

Machine Shop Technology/Assistant

A program that prepares individuals to apply technical knowledge and skills to fabricate and modify metal parts in support of other manufacturing, repair or design activities, or as an independent business.

Relevant work experience

How much related work experience do you need to get hired for the job?

None
20%

1 month
0%

1 to 3 months
4%

3 to 6 months
10%

6 months to 1 year
5%

1 to 2 years
16%

2 to 4 years
20%

4 to 6 years
15%

6 to 8 years
0%

8 to 10 years
3%

Over 10 years
7%

On The Job Training

How much on the job training do you need to perform the job?

None or short demonstration
3%

1 month
31%

1 to 3 months
5%

3 to 6 months
34%

6 months to 1 year
3%

1 to 2 years
13%

2 to 4 years
3%

4 to 10 years
7%

Over 10 years
0%

Should you become one

Best personality type for this career

The Builder

People with this personality type likes practical and hands-on work. They prefer working with plants, animals, and real-world materials like wood, tools, and machinery.

The Builder
100%

People with The Builder personality type likes practical and hands-on work. They prefer working with plants, animals, and real-world materials like wood, tools, and machinery.


The Thinker
67%

People with The Thinker personality likes to work with ideas that require an extensive amount of thinking. They prefer work that requires them to solve problems mentally.


The Artist
29%

People with The Artist personality likes to work with designs and patterns. They prefer activities that require self-expression and prefer work that can be done without following a clear set of rules.


The Helper
14%

People with The Helper personality type likes to work with people and in teams. They prefer work that allows them to build relationships with others.


The Leader
19%

People with The Leader personality likes to start and work on projects. They also like leading people and making many decisions.


The Organizer
76%

People with The Organizer personality type likes to follow set procedures and routines. They prefer working with data and details more than with ideas.


You can read more about these career personality types here.

People who are suitable for this job tend to like work activities that include practical, hands-on problems and solutions. They like working with plants, animals, and real-world materials like wood, tools, and machinery.

They also like following set procedures and routines. They like working with data and details more than with ideas.

Take this quiz to see if this is the right career for you.

Work Values

Which values are the most important to a person’s satisfaction for this job?

Achievement
38%

You are someone who is results oriented. You prefer work that allows you to utilize your skills and abilities while at the same time giving you a sense of accomplishment.

Working Conditions
48%

You are someone who values job security, steady employment, and good working conditions. You also prefer work that keeps you busy all the time with something different to do every day.

Recognition
38%

You are someone who values job advancement and leadership roles. You prefer work that receives recognition for the work you do and jobs that are looked up to by others in the company and your community.

Relationships
29%

You are someone who likes to provide a service to others. You prefer a work environment where you can work with your co-workers in a friendly non-competitive environment.

Support
76%

You are someone who values a company that stands behind their employees. You prefer a work environment where everyone is treated fairly and is being supported by the company.

Independence
48%

You are someone who likes to work on your own and make your own decisions. You prefer work that requires little supervision and are allowed to try out your own ideas.

FAQ


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