Machining Professions

Precision Machining Salaries and Work Hours

According to the United States Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median hourly wage for metal and plastic machine workers was $15.84 in May 2012, with the top ten percent earning as high as $24.17 per hour.  Of course, these figures vary significantly, based on experience and skill level, industry, and the size of the company.

The majority of workers in the precision machining industry work on a full-time basis, and overtime is not at all uncommon. Many manufacturing companies operate their factories outside what is considered “normal business hours”, so machinists should enter the industry with flexibility and a willingness to work night and weekends if requested.

Machining Careers and ProfessionsPrecision Machining Work Environment

Depending on personal preference and job availability, machinists may work in a variety of environments, such as small machine shops, mid-sized manufacturing firms, or large production factories. This line of work is not generally considered to be extremely hazardous, but of course, exceptions do exist.  Machinists often operate very powerful machinery, and there are specific safety standards to which workers must adhere.

Careers in Precision Machining

Precision machining offers a variety of opportunities at all skill levels.  Here are some examples of employment opportunities that may be found in the industry:

  • Machine Setters (Setup Workers)
  • Machine Operators
  • Computer-Controlled Machine Tool Operators
  • Computer Numerically Controlled Machine Tool Programmers
  • Pourers, Casters, Model Makers, Patternmakers

For a comprehensive list of career opportunities in the precision machining industry, visit the Metal and Plastic Machine Workers Occupational Outlook Handbook.

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