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Tool and Die Technician

Program Requirements: 

Advance Wisconsin - Manufacturing

Tool and Die is a great career for those who have manual dexterity, analytical skills, a math aptitude and a dedication to accuracy.

Tool and die makers are a class of machinists in the manufacturing industries who make jigs, fixtures, dies, molds, machine tools, cutting tools, gauges, and other tools used in manufacturing processes. Depending on which area of concentration a particular person works in, he or she may be called by variations on the name, including toolmaker, diemaker, moldmaker, toolfitter, etc.

Tool and die makers work primarily in tool room environments, more often in an environment with flexible, semipermeable boundaries from production work. They are skilled artisans who typically learn their trade through a combination of academic coursework and hands-on instruction. Mechanical engineers and tool and die makers often work in close consultation. There is often turnover between the careers, as one person may end up working in both at different times of their life, depending on the turns of their particular educational and career path.

Gainful Employment Information

What does Tool and Die Maker do?

Tool and Die technicians are highly skilled tradesmen who use precision equipment and techniques to build and repair dies for the stamping and mold making industry. Through the use of advanced machining skills and applied mathematics, tool and die makers create dies, molds, jigs, fixtures, and cutting tools. 

Learning by doing

The Tool and Die technician program at Gateway features brand new, industry-equivalent machinery and equipment to enable students to gain directly relatable skills. The Tool and Die instructors at Gateway all have several years of industry experience which helps give students focused, valuable training.

The Gateway Tool and Die Lab allows students to work with well-maintained precision machine tools including vertical milling machines, engine lathes, and surface grinders as well as specialty machinery essential to tool and die makers. The lab features a brand new heat treat oven for the treatment of tool steels, and a brand new Mitsubishi wire EDM machine to create precise parts using hardened materials.


Students completing the tool and die program at Gateway can enter the workforce with a wide variety of career choices.

Some of the career options associated with tool and die technicians include: CNC machinist, mold maker, tool designer, pattern maker, manual machinist, tool maker, shop supervisor, CNC  programmer and EDM machinist.

Upon graduation of the entry level Tool & Die program, students will be ready to join the workforce with a healthy number of options. They will be qualified to become: tool and die apprentice, tool room machinist, tool grinder, CNC machinist and machining inspector.

Graduates are recommended to continue to pursue further training and/or education in the desired field of choice. This could be in the form of a state apprenticeship or training leading to several industry-recognized certifications such as MSSSC.

The tool and die technician program at Gateway is an excellent beginning to a rewarding and lucrative career.

Job and salary outlook

An entry level tool and die maker can expect to earn in the range of $14 to $18 per hour. The median wage for an experienced tool and die maker in Wisconsin is $23.41 per hour. There are over 5,000 job openings projected nationwide though the year 2020.


The U.S. Department of Labor's Employment and Training Administration has funded 100 percent of this project equalling $404,637. This is an equal opportunity program; individuals with disabilities may request auxilary aids and services by calling Wisconsin Relay System: 711.



Jeremy Dutton

Ben McFarland

Program Administration

Ray Koukari, Interim Dean