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Career profile Production Machinist

Also known as CNC Machinist (Computer Numeric Controlled Machinist), CNC Machinist (Computer Numerically Controlled Machinist), Gear Machinist, Machine Repair Person, Machinist, Maintenance Machinist, Manual Lathe Machinist, Production Machinist, Tool Room Machinist

Production Machinist

Also known as CNC Machinist (Computer Numeric Controlled Machinist), CNC Machinist (Computer Numerically Controlled Machinist), Gear Machinist

Interests Profile
  • Realistic
  • Conventional
  • Investigative
Pay Range
$29,240 - $69,050 (annual)
Required Skills
  • Operation and Control
  • Critical Thinking
  • Monitoring
Knowledge Areas
  • Mathematics
  • Mechanical
  • Production and Processing
Core tasks
  • Calculate dimensions or tolerances, using instruments, such as micrometers or vernier calipers.
  • Machine parts to specifications, using machine tools, such as lathes, milling machines, shapers, or grinders.
  • Measure, examine, or test completed units to check for defects and ensure conformance to specifications, using precision instruments, such as micrometers.
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What does a Production Machinist do?

Production Machinists set up and operate a variety of machine tools to produce precision parts and instruments out of metal.

In addition, Production Machinists

  • includes precision instrument makers who fabricate, modify, or repair mechanical instruments,
  • may also fabricate and modify parts to make or repair machine tools or maintain industrial machines, applying knowledge of mechanics, mathematics, metal properties, layout, and machining procedures.

What kind of tasks does a Production Machinist perform regularly?

Production Machinists are often responsible for overseeing or executing some or all of the following tasks:

  • Calculate dimensions or tolerances, using instruments, such as micrometers or vernier calipers.
  • Machine parts to specifications, using machine tools, such as lathes, milling machines, shapers, or grinders.
  • Measure, examine, or test completed units to check for defects and ensure conformance to specifications, using precision instruments, such as micrometers.
  • Set up, adjust, or operate basic or specialized machine tools used to perform precision machining operations.
  • Program computers or electronic instruments, such as numerically controlled machine tools.
  • Study sample parts, blueprints, drawings, or engineering information to determine methods or sequences of operations needed to fabricate products.
  • Monitor the feed and speed of machines during the machining process.
  • Maintain machine tools in proper operational condition.
  • Fit and assemble parts to make or repair machine tools.
  • Align and secure holding fixtures, cutting tools, attachments, accessories, or materials onto machines.
  • Operate equipment to verify operational efficiency.
  • Confer with numerical control programmers to check and ensure that new programs or machinery will function properly and that output will meet specifications.
  • Evaluate machining procedures and recommend changes or modifications for improved efficiency or adaptability.
  • Design fixtures, tooling, or experimental parts to meet special engineering needs.
  • Diagnose machine tool malfunctions to determine need for adjustments or repairs.
  • Lay out, measure, and mark metal stock to display placement of cuts.
  • Confer with engineering, supervisory, or manufacturing personnel to exchange technical information.
  • Dispose of scrap or waste material in accordance with company policies and environmental regulations.
  • Separate scrap waste and related materials for reuse, recycling, or disposal.
  • Check work pieces to ensure that they are properly lubricated or cooled.

The above responsibilities are specific to Production Machinists. More generally, Production Machinists are involved in several broader types of activities:

Controlling Machines and Processes
Using either control mechanisms or direct physical activity to operate machines or processes (not including computers or vehicles).
Getting Information
Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
Inspecting Equipment, Structures, or Materials
Inspecting equipment, structures, or materials to identify the cause of errors or other problems or defects.
Monitoring Processes, Materials, or Surroundings
Monitoring and reviewing information from materials, events, or the environment, to detect or assess problems.
Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events
Identifying information by categorizing, estimating, recognizing differences or similarities, and detecting changes in circumstances or events.

What is a Production Machinist salary?

The median salary for a Production Machinist is $45,840, and the average salary is $47,800. Both the median and average roughly describe the middle of the Production Machinist salary range, but the average is more easily affected by extremely high or low salaries.

Many Production Machinists earn significantly more or less than the average, due to several factors. About 10% of Production Machinists earn less than $29,240 per year, 25% earn less than $35,900, 75% earn less than $57,930, and 90% earn less than $69,050.

Between the years of 2020 and 2030, the number of Production Machinists is expected to change by 7.9%, and there should be roughly 41,200 open positions for Production Machinists every year.

Median annual salary
$45,840
Typical salary range
$29,240 - $69,050
Projected growth (2020 - 2030)
7.9%

What personality traits are common among Production Machinists?

Interests

Career interests describe a person's preferences for different types of working environments and activities. When a person's interest match the demands of an occupation, people are usually more engaged and satisfied in that role.

Compared to most occupations, those who work as a Production Machinist are usually higher in their Realistic, Conventional, and Investigative interests.

Production Machinists typically have very strong Realistic interests. Realistic occupations frequently involve work activities that include practical, hands-on problems and solutions. They often deal with plants, animals, and real-world materials like wood, tools, and machinery. Many of the occupations require working outside, and do not involve a lot of paperwork or working closely with others.

Also, Production Machinists typically have strong Conventional interests. Conventional occupations frequently involve following set procedures and routines. These occupations can include working with data and details more than with ideas. Usually there is a clear line of authority to follow.

Lastly, Production Machinists typically have moderate Investigative interests. Investigative occupations frequently involve working with ideas, and require an extensive amount of thinking. These occupations can involve searching for facts and figuring out problems mentally.

Values

People differ in their values, or what is most important to them for building job satisfaction and fulfillment.

Compared to most people, those working as a Production Machinist tend to value Support, Working Conditions, and Independence.

Most importantly, Production Machinists strongly value Support. Occupations that satisfy this work value offer supportive management that stands behind employees.

Second, Production Machinists moderately value Working Conditions. Occupations that satisfy this work value offer job security and good working conditions.

Lastly, Production Machinists moderately value Independence. Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to work on their own and make decisions.

Psychological Demands

Each occupation brings its own set of psychological demands, which describe the characteristics necessary to perform the job well.

In order to perform their job successfully, people who work as Production Machinists must consistently demonstrate qualities such as attention to detail, dependability, and independence.

Below, you'll find a list of qualities typically required of Production Machinists, ranked by importance:

Attention to Detail
Job requires being careful about detail and thorough in completing work tasks.
Dependability
Job requires being reliable, responsible, and dependable, and fulfilling obligations.
Independence
Job requires developing one's own ways of doing things, guiding oneself with little or no supervision, and depending on oneself to get things done.
Analytical Thinking
Job requires analyzing information and using logic to address work-related issues and problems.
Innovation
Job requires creativity and alternative thinking to develop new ideas for and answers to work-related problems.

What education and training do Production Machinists need?

Production Machinists often have training in vocational schools, related on-the-job experience, or an associate's degree.

Production Machinists usually need one or two years of training involving both on-the-job experience and informal training with experienced workers. A recognized apprenticeship program may be associated with this occupation.

Educational degrees among Production Machinists

  • 9.7% did not complete high school or secondary school
  • 44.6% completed high school or secondary school
  • 28.5% completed some college coursework
  • 12.7% earned a Associate's degree
  • 4.2% earned a Bachelor's degree
  • 0.3% earned a Master's degree
  • 0.2% earned a doctorate or professional degree

Knowledge and expertise required by Production Machinists

Production Machinists may benefit from understanding of specialized subject areas, such as mathematics, mechanical, or production and processing knowledge.

The list below shows several areas in which most Production Machinists might want to build proficiency, ranked by importance.

Mathematics
Knowledge of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, statistics, and their applications.
Mechanical
Knowledge of machines and tools, including their designs, uses, repair, and maintenance.
Production and Processing
Knowledge of raw materials, production processes, quality control, costs, and other techniques for maximizing the effective manufacture and distribution of goods.
Design
Knowledge of design techniques, tools, and principles involved in production of precision technical plans, blueprints, drawings, and models.
Engineering and Technology
Knowledge of the practical application of engineering science and technology. This includes applying principles, techniques, procedures, and equipment to the design and production of various goods and services.

Important Abilities needed by Production Machinists

Production Machinists must develop a particular set of abilities to perform their job well. Abilities are individual capacities that influence a person's information processing, sensory perception, motor coordination, and physical strength or endurance. Individuals may naturally have certain abilities without explicit training, but most abilities can be sharpened somewhat through practice.

For example, Production Machinists need abilities such as arm-hand steadiness, manual dexterity, and finger dexterity in order to perform their job at a high level. The list below shows several important abilities for Production Machinists, ranked by their relative importance.

Arm-Hand Steadiness
The ability to keep your hand and arm steady while moving your arm or while holding your arm and hand in one position.
Manual Dexterity
The ability to quickly move your hand, your hand together with your arm, or your two hands to grasp, manipulate, or assemble objects.
Finger Dexterity
The ability to make precisely coordinated movements of the fingers of one or both hands to grasp, manipulate, or assemble very small objects.
Control Precision
The ability to quickly and repeatedly adjust the controls of a machine or a vehicle to exact positions.
Problem Sensitivity
The ability to tell when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong. It does not involve solving the problem, only recognizing that there is a problem.

Critical Skills needed by Production Machinists

Skills are developed capacities that enable people to function effectively in real-world settings. Unlike abilities, skills are typically easier to build through practice and experience. Skills influence effectiveness in areas such as learning, working with others, design, troubleshooting, and more.

Production Machinists frequently use skills like operation and control, critical thinking, and monitoring to perform their job effectively. The list below shows several critical skills for Production Machinists, ranked by their relative importance.

Operation and Control
Controlling operations of equipment or systems.
Critical Thinking
Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions, or approaches to problems.
Monitoring
Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.
Operations Monitoring
Watching gauges, dials, or other indicators to make sure a machine is working properly.
Active Listening
Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.

What is the source of this information?

The information provided on this page is adapted from data and descriptions published by the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration under the CC BY 4.0 license. TraitLab has modified some information for ease of use and reading, and the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment, and Training Administration has not approved, endorsed, or tested these modifications.

If you have any questions or suggestions about this information, please send a message.