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What Does a Machinist Do?

If you value precision and you like solving problems, here’s a job to consider. Machinists run computer numerical control (CNC) equipment to create machine parts, tools and one-of-a-kind items out of metal. Machinists, also called CNC machine operators, set up and operate the computer-driven precision machinery that cuts, grinds or drills the material. They also polish and perfect each item for quality assurance. They work in machine shops or factory tool rooms. They may also work in any manufacturing setting that requires the installation, maintenance, programming and operation of CNC technology. Tool and die makers construct metal forms, called dies, that are used to cut metal and other materials. 

These technical skills are in high demand. As a result, these jobs almost always require overtime. 

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Our one-of-kind Opportunity Meter rates jobs based on salary, current openings and future demand to help you choose the career that is best for you.
Median Salary $
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Apprentices learn how to run a computer control panel in a machine shop
If you’re good at math and have an analytical mind, you might make a good machinist. (Credit: ALPA PROD/Shutterstock)
Duties + Responsibilities
  • Set up and operate precision equipment
  • Maintain precision equipment
  • Turn, mill, drill, shape and grind machine parts to specifications
  • Plan stock inventory 
  • Inspect and test finished products
  • Program mills and lathes
  • Maintain production and quality logs
Education + Training

Most employers require a high school diploma. To learn the trade, machinists require specific training that is offered by community colleges or technical schools, including classes in math, blueprint reading, metalworking and drafting. Most machinists enter apprenticeship programs. Candidates must be able to work comfortably with complex machines and tools. Certification through the National Institute for Metalworking Skills (NIMS) is highly recommended.

  • Like working with computers
  • Are detail-oriented
  • Have strong math skills
  • Enjoy creating things
  • Manage your time well
  • Have excellent problem-solving skills
  • Adapt easily
  • Work well with others

Machinist training in your area


Advanced Manufacturing Technology, C. A. S.

BridgeValley Community and Technical College
South Charleston (0.0 Miles)

Tooling, A.S.

Orange Coast College
Costa Mesa (0.0 Miles)

Machine Tool Technology, A.A.S

Oakland Community College
Farmington Hills (0.0 Miles)

Machine Tool Trades, A.A.S.

College of Lake County
Grayslake (0.0 Miles)

Computer Numeric Control Machining Basic Certificate

Wilbur Wright College
Chicago (0.0 Miles)

Advanced Manufacturing and Mechatronics, CTS

Bossier Parish Community College
Bossier City (0.0 Miles)

Manufacturing Technologies: Machining, AAS

Truckee Meadows Community College
Reno (0.0 Miles)

Manufacturing and Design Tech Certification

Eastern Arizona College
Thatcher (0.0 Miles)

Engineering Machining Technologies Certificate

Santa Fe Community College
Santa Fe (0.0 Miles)

Electronics Manufacturing Certificate of Achievement

San Diego City College
San Diego (0.0 Miles)

Manufacturing Technology - CNC Programming - Certificate

Isothermal Community College
Spindale (0.0 Miles)

Advanced Machine Tool Technology/CNC Certificate of Achievement

Henry Ford College
Dearborn (0.0 Miles)
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Meet Ambassador Tony Tinge

When Tony graduated with honors from high school, he didn't have a lot of direction. He was drawn to Lincoln Electric because he knew he could do well there if he worked hard. It took him six years to learn about tool and die, and once he started a tool and die apprenticeship, he knew he had found the right place. It's one of the more unknown skills-based careers, but there's a huge need for tool and die makers in the future. Tony says you can make an extremely good living as a tool and die maker as long as you're willing to work hard and have a passion to do things the right way.

Find Machinist Jobs in Your Area



The Kemtah Group
Irvine ( 0.0 ) Miles
Posted 2 months 1 week ago

Tool and Die Repair (Machinist)

Crown Holdings
Alsip ( 0.0 ) Miles
Posted 2 months 1 week ago

Machinist 3 CNC - HER - Night Shift

Silfex, Inc.
Eaton ( 0.0 ) Miles
Posted 2 months 2 weeks ago

Senior Precision Machinist

Palm Bay ( 0.0 ) Miles
Posted 2 months 2 weeks ago

Overhaul and Repair Machinist

The Kemtah Group
Stratford ( 0.0 ) Miles
Posted 2 months 2 weeks ago

Mold and Die Technician - Off Shift

Ames True Temper
Camp Hill ( 0.0 ) Miles
Posted 2 months 3 weeks ago

Machinist Leader

Department of Defense
Bremerton ( 0.0 ) Miles
Posted 1 month 2 weeks ago

CNC Machinist

Tenneco Automotive
Kettering ( 0.0 ) Miles
Posted 2 months 3 weeks ago