What does a machinist do?

Machinists repair, fabricate and modify equipment like lathes, grinders, drills and other mechanical equipment to make or repair precision parts, instruments and frames. Most fabrications and repairs require strong mechanical skills, mathematical knowledge and familiarity with metallic properties. Most work requires very tight tolerances and great precision like cuts with less than a thousandth of an inch leeway. As a machinist, you will encounter the following types of challenges:

• Taking a blank piece of metal and turning it into a vital machine part

• Providing proper maintenance like cleaning and oiling machinery

• Choosing the right tools for the job

• Programming machines correctly to do the steps of a job in the proper order

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What is the average salary of a machinist?

The average salary of a machinist was $46,211 as of May 27, 2022. That amounts to an average monthly salary of $3,851. The common range for machinist salaries runs between $41,094 and $53,256. Your salary could differ substantially based on where you work, any certifications earned, experience and any special skills you might have. For example, high and low state salary averages for machinists include Wyoming, Utah, Washington and Missouri among the highest-paid machinists running from $60,080 to $51,620. The lowest state salaries for machinists include Alabama, Florida, North Carolina and Georgia where salaries range from $31,863 to $34,275.

Salary-based on experience

Your degree of experience plays a critical role in your machinist salary. The more experience you have, the higher your salary will usually be, up to a maximum of about 25 years of experience. You can expect about $1,500 for each year of experience, and larger companies generally pay higher salaries. You can receive a higher salary by earning NIMS Certification in one or more of 24 operational areas like metal forming, mold making, screw machining and machine maintenance.

Working as a machinist

Working as a machinist

Working as a machinist provides a stable income, advancement opportunities and the social benefits of working with automation and AI (artificial intelligence) technologies.


What is the career outlook for a machinist?

The Bureau of Labor and Statistics projects that the job outlook for machinists is expected to grow 7% between 2020 and 2030. Factors that help to ensure job security include factory retooling for automation and increased use of artificial intelligence and machine learning in all types of businesses.


What education do you need as a machinist?

The only formal education requirement of a career as a machinist is a high school diploma or its equivalent. However, most employment professionals agree that it takes about five years of training to become fully trained in all aspects of the machinist job. Machinist education includes getting training from various resources like vocational schools, community college programs, on-the-job training and apprenticeship programs.

The machinist culture often emphasizes self-reliance and provides only limited time to develop soft skills, but these are essential in increasing your focus to cut and shape parts with greater precision. Attention to detail proves to be an essential machinist skill because the slightest error can make a part unstable and unusable.




Machinists use sketches, blueprints and computer-aided designs to operate various computer-controlled equipment. Learn more about becoming a machinist.

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