Machinists set up and operate machine tools such as lathes, drill presses, and mills to make or repair precision metal parts for cars, machines, and other equipment. Machinists typically produce small batches or one-
CNC programmers begin their work much the same as machinists do, however they write the computer programs that operate this type of machinery and equipment. The CNC machinists then set the controls and make the cuts according to the computer program. Tool and die and mold makers make tools, dies (metal forms), specialized guiding and holding devices, and molds that allow machines to manufacture many products we use on a daily basis from clothing and furniture to heavy equipment and parts for cars and aircraft. Toolmakers construct precision tools that cut, shape, and form metal and other materials. Die makers make metal forms that are used to shape metal in stamping and forging operations. Mold makers make metal molds for molding plastics, ceramics, and composite materials.
A high school or vocational school education, including mathematics, blueprint reading, metalworking, and drafting, is generally a prerequisite for becoming a machinist, CNC programmer, tool and tie maker, or mold maker. Because of the increased use of computer-
Job opportunities are expected to be excellent because of reported shortages of skilled machinists across the nation. The growing demand for motor vehicles, aircraft, machinery, and other products that use machined metal parts will keep the job market steady. Employers will look for highly skilled workers to operate expensive, new machinery.
In 2000, the hourly earnings for the middle 50 percent of machinists nationwide were between $11.43 and $18.39 ($23,774 – $38,251 annually). The lowest 10 percent earned less than $9.01 an hour ($18,741 annually) while the top 10 percent earned more than $21.84 an hour ($45,427 annually). The hourly earnings for the middle 50 percent of CNC programmers nationally were between $13.81 and $21.74 ($28,725 – $45,219 annually). The lowest 10 percent earned less than $10.39 an hour ($21,611 annually) while the top 10 percent earned more than $26.66 an hour ($55,453 annually). The hourly earnings for the middle 50 percent of tool and die and mold makers nationally were between $15.67 and $24.45 ($32,594 – $50,856 annually). The lowest 10 percent earned less than $12.44 an hour ($25,875 annually) while the top 10 percent earned more than $28.88 an hour ($60,070 annually).
Metropolitan Community College
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