Machinists: Technological Craftsmen

In all the glamour surrounding today’s technological advances, one underrated hero of the creation of nearly all technological advances are machinists. These are the skilled workers who use basic manufacturing technology such as grinders, milling machines, lathes and other machine tools to produce the precision metal parts that virtually all forms of advanced modern technology require. They also produce the one of a kind parts needed by the most cutting edge technology used in science and space travel.

Making Precision Parts

A machinist starts with the blueprints and specifications provided by the manufacturer and use that information to determine where and how to bore or cut the steel, plastic, aluminum or other material to be shaped. After creating this layout, they then determine which technology to use, ranging from a drill press to a milling machine. The process can wear on the manufacturing technology itself, so the machinist will want to have plenty of milling machine replacement parts on hand for that and all other machining technology. In fact, there is a whole subset of machinists called Maintenance Machinists who do nothing but specialize in making new parts for machining technology.

Education and Training Requirements

Many people become machinists right out of high school, taking on apprentice like roles such as machine tenders, operators or set up chores. As long as you took math courses such as geometry and metal working classes in high school no college degree may be necessary. However, college may be required if you intend to work in advanced programs such as aircraft manufacturing or cutting edge scientific fields. Still, on the job apprenticeships still remain the most common path to becoming a machinist.

A Secure Field

Due to automation, the number of machinist jobs have declined slightly over recent years. Yet, there are still 400,000 machinists jobs in the USA today. The good news is that when you find a job in one of the major machinist areas such as motor vehicle parts, aerospace, specialty science or transportation, the job security is great as long as you keep up with new developments in the field. Job opportunities are good, and the pay starts at about $18 per hour, then rises quickly to anywhere from $25 to $28 dollars per hour. That makes becoming a machinist a technological field worth considering, especially if you are not interested in college.