Machinists are highly skilled individuals who use machine tools, such as lathes, milling machines, and machining centers, to produce precision machined parts. Precision Machinists produce small batches or one-of-a-kind items. They use their knowledge of the working properties of materials and their skill with machine tools to plan and carry out the operation needed to make a variety of products that meet precise specifications.
Pay Scale: $11.70 - $28.75
Along with operating machines that use cutting tools to shape work pieces, Machinists also utilize machines that cut with lasers, water jets, or electrified wires. While some of the computer controls may be similar, Machinists must understand the unique cutting properties of these different machines. As engineers create new types of machine tools and new materials to machine, Machinists must constantly learn new machining properties and techniques.
Today, most machine shops are relatively clean, well lit, and ventilated. Many computer-controlled machines are partially or totally enclosed, minimizing the exposure of workers to noise, debris, and the lubricants used to cool work pieces during machining. Nevertheless, working around machine tools presents certain dangers and workers must follow safety precautions. Machinists wear protective equipment, such as safety glasses to shield against bits of flying metal and earplugs to dampen machinery noise. They also must exercise caution when handling hazardous coolants and lubricants, although many common water-based lubricants present little hazard. The job requires stamina, because Machinists stand most of the day and, at times, may need to lift moderately heavy work pieces. Modern factories extensively employ autoloaders and overhead cranes, reducing heavy lifting.
Machinists work a 40-hour week. Evening and weekend shifts are becoming less common as companies justify investments in more expensive machinery to extend hours of operation. This trend is increasing the use of automation and lights-out manufacturing for less desirable shifts. Overtime is common during peak production periods.
Length of training:
The program is a four year training program consisting of 7,888 hours of on-the-job training with a minimum of 432 hours of paid related instruction. Additional related instruction may be required. Transition –to-Trainer Course is required in final year of apprenticeship.
Becoming a Machinist Apprentice
- 18 years old.
- High school diploma or equivalent.
- Physically able to perform trade.
- Applicants apply directly to participating employers.
- Entry Requirements vary by employer.