Milling and Planing Machine Setters, Operators, and Tenders, Metal and Plastic
51-4035.00

Set up, operate, or tend milling or planing machines to mill, plane, shape, groove, or profile metal or plastic work pieces.

Sample of reported job titles: Machine Operator, Mill Operator, Miller, Milling Operator

Occupation-Specific Information

Tasks

  • Position and secure workpieces on machines, using holding devices, measuring instruments, hand tools, and hoists.
  • Remove workpieces from machines, and check to ensure that they conform to specifications, using measuring instruments such as microscopes, gauges, calipers, and micrometers.
  • Verify alignment of workpieces on machines, using measuring instruments such as rules, gauges, or calipers.
  • Move cutters or material manually or by turning handwheels, or engage automatic feeding mechanisms to mill workpieces to specifications.
  • Observe milling or planing machine operation, and adjust controls to ensure conformance with specified tolerances.
  • Select cutting speeds, feed rates, and depths of cuts, applying knowledge of metal properties and shop mathematics.
  • Study blueprints, layouts, sketches, or work orders to assess workpiece specifications and to determine tooling instructions, tools and materials needed, and sequences of operations.
  • Compute dimensions, tolerances, and angles of workpieces or machines according to specifications and knowledge of metal properties and shop mathematics.
  • Move controls to set cutting specifications, to position cutting tools and workpieces in relation to each other, and to start machines.
  • Replace worn tools, using hand tools, and sharpen dull tools, using bench grinders.
  • Select and install cutting tools and other accessories according to specifications, using hand tools or power tools.
  • Turn valves or pull levers to start and regulate the flow of coolant or lubricant to work areas.
  • Record production output.
  • Mount attachments and tools, such as pantographs, engravers, or routers, to perform other operations, such as drilling or boring.
  • Make templates or cutting tools.

back to top

Technology Skills

Hot technology Hot Technologies are requirements frequently included in employer job postings.

back to top

Occupational Requirements

Work 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.
  • Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships — Developing constructive and cooperative working relationships with others, and maintaining them over time.
  • Handling and Moving Objects — Using hands and arms in handling, installing, positioning, and moving materials, and manipulating things.
  • Inspecting Equipment, Structures, or Materials — Inspecting equipment, structures, or materials to identify the cause of errors or other problems or defects.
  • Training and Teaching Others — Identifying the educational needs of others, developing formal educational or training programs or classes, and teaching or instructing others.
  • Coaching and Developing Others — Identifying the developmental needs of others and coaching, mentoring, or otherwise helping others to improve their knowledge or skills.
  • Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates — Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.
  • Evaluating Information to Determine Compliance with Standards — Using relevant information and individual judgment to determine whether events or processes comply with laws, regulations, or standards.
  • Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events — Identifying information by categorizing, estimating, recognizing differences or similarities, and detecting changes in circumstances or events.
  • Coordinating the Work and Activities of Others — Getting members of a group to work together to accomplish tasks.
  • Making Decisions and Solving Problems — Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.
  • Monitoring Processes, Materials, or Surroundings — Monitoring and reviewing information from materials, events, or the environment, to detect or assess problems.
  • Working with Computers — Using computers and computer systems (including hardware and software) to program, write software, set up functions, enter data, or process information.
  • Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge — Keeping up-to-date technically and applying new knowledge to your job.

back to top

Detailed Work Activities

back to top

Work Context

  • Wear Common Protective or Safety Equipment such as Safety Shoes, Glasses, Gloves, Hearing Protection, Hard Hats, or Life Jackets — 83% responded “Every day.”
  • Face-to-Face Discussions — 78% responded “Every day.”
  • Importance of Being Exact or Accurate — 68% responded “Extremely important.”
  • Spend Time Standing — 61% responded “Continually or almost continually.”
  • Spend Time Using Your Hands to Handle, Control, or Feel Objects, Tools, or Controls — 16% responded “More than half the time.”
  • Time Pressure — 45% responded “Every day.”
  • Pace Determined by Speed of Equipment — 38% responded “Extremely important.”
  • Frequency of Decision Making
  • Sounds, Noise Levels Are Distracting or Uncomfortable — 23% responded “Once a week or more but not every day.”
  • Exposed to Hazardous Equipment — 61% responded “Every day.”
  • Indoors, Not Environmentally Controlled — 69% responded “Every day.”
  • Work With Work Group or Team — 47% responded “Extremely important.”
  • Exposed to Contaminants
  • Duration of Typical Work Week — 70% responded “40 hours.”
  • Importance of Repeating Same Tasks — 39% responded “Very important.”
  • Contact With Others — 34% responded “Occasional contact with others.”
  • Responsible for Others' Health and Safety — 37% responded “Limited responsibility.”
  • Freedom to Make Decisions — 43% responded “Some freedom.”
  • Exposed to Minor Burns, Cuts, Bites, or Stings — 29% responded “Never.”
  • Impact of Decisions on Co-workers or Company Results — 25% responded “Very important results.”
  • Degree of Automation — 35% responded “Highly automated.”
  • Spend Time Making Repetitive Motions — 35% responded “More than half the time.”
  • Structured versus Unstructured Work — 27% responded “Limited freedom.”
  • Coordinate or Lead Others — 37% responded “Fairly important.”
  • Physical Proximity — 53% responded “Slightly close (e.g., shared office).”
  • Responsibility for Outcomes and Results — 26% responded “Very high responsibility.”
  • Level of Competition — 41% responded “Moderately competitive.”

back to top

Experience Requirements

Job Zone

Title
Job Zone Two: Some Preparation Needed
Education
These occupations usually require a high school diploma.
Related Experience
Some previous work-related skill, knowledge, or experience is usually needed. For example, a teller would benefit from experience working directly with the public.
Job Training
Employees in these occupations need anywhere from a few months to one year of working with experienced employees. A recognized apprenticeship program may be associated with these occupations.
Job Zone Examples
These occupations often involve using your knowledge and skills to help others. Examples include orderlies, counter and rental clerks, customer service representatives, security guards, upholsterers, and tellers.
SVP Range
3 months to 1 year of preparation (4.0 to < 6.0)

back to top

Training & Credentials

State training
Local training
Certifications
Apprenticeships
Have a career path or location in mind? Visit Apprenticeship.gov external site to find apprenticeship opportunities near you.

back to top

Worker Requirements

Skills

  • Operations Monitoring — Watching gauges, dials, or other indicators to make sure a machine is working properly.
  • Monitoring — Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.
  • Operation and Control — Controlling operations of equipment or systems.
  • 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.
  • Critical Thinking — Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions, or approaches to problems.
  • Reading Comprehension — Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work-related documents.
  • Speaking — Talking to others to convey information effectively.

back to top

Knowledge

  • Production and Processing — Knowledge of raw materials, production processes, quality control, costs, and other techniques for maximizing the effective manufacture and distribution of goods.
  • Mechanical — Knowledge of machines and tools, including their designs, uses, repair, and maintenance.
  • Mathematics — Knowledge of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, statistics, and their applications.

back to top

Education

How much education does a new hire need to perform a job in this occupation? Respondents said:

  • 50%
     
    responded: High school diploma or equivalent requiredmore info
  • 26%
     
    responded: Some college, no degree requiredmore info
  • 16%
     
    responded: Less than high school diploma required

back to top

Worker Characteristics

Abilities

  • 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.
  • Near Vision — The ability to see details at close range (within a few feet of the observer).
  • 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.
  • Control Precision — The ability to quickly and repeatedly adjust the controls of a machine or a vehicle to exact positions.
  • 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.
  • Oral Comprehension — The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
  • Oral Expression — The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.
  • 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.
  • Reaction Time — The ability to quickly respond (with the hand, finger, or foot) to a signal (sound, light, picture) when it appears.
  • Selective Attention — The ability to concentrate on a task over a period of time without being distracted.
  • Information Ordering — The ability to arrange things or actions in a certain order or pattern according to a specific rule or set of rules (e.g., patterns of numbers, letters, words, pictures, mathematical operations).
  • Multilimb Coordination — The ability to coordinate two or more limbs (for example, two arms, two legs, or one leg and one arm) while sitting, standing, or lying down. It does not involve performing the activities while the whole body is in motion.
  • Speech Recognition — The ability to identify and understand the speech of another person.
  • Trunk Strength — The ability to use your abdominal and lower back muscles to support part of the body repeatedly or continuously over time without "giving out" or fatiguing.
  • Visualization — The ability to imagine how something will look after it is moved around or when its parts are moved or rearranged.
  • Written Comprehension — The ability to read and understand information and ideas presented in writing.

back to top

Interests

Interest code: RC
Want to discover your interests? Take the O*NET Interest Profiler at My Next Move.
  • Realistic — 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.
  • Conventional — 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.

back to top

Work Values

  • Support — Occupations that satisfy this work value offer supportive management that stands behind employees. Corresponding needs are Company Policies, Supervision: Human Relations and Supervision: Technical.
  • Working Conditions — Occupations that satisfy this work value offer job security and good working conditions. Corresponding needs are Activity, Compensation, Independence, Security, Variety and Working Conditions.
  • Independence — Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to work on their own and make decisions. Corresponding needs are Creativity, Responsibility and Autonomy.

back to top

Work Styles

  • 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.
  • Cooperation — Job requires being pleasant with others on the job and displaying a good-natured, cooperative attitude.
  • Self-Control — Job requires maintaining composure, keeping emotions in check, controlling anger, and avoiding aggressive behavior, even in very difficult situations.
  • Initiative — Job requires a willingness to take on responsibilities and challenges.
  • Integrity — Job requires being honest and ethical.
  • Stress Tolerance — Job requires accepting criticism and dealing calmly and effectively with high-stress situations.
  • Achievement/Effort — Job requires establishing and maintaining personally challenging achievement goals and exerting effort toward mastering tasks.
  • Persistence — Job requires persistence in the face of obstacles.
  • 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.
  • Adaptability/Flexibility — Job requires being open to change (positive or negative) and to considerable variety in the workplace.
  • Analytical Thinking — Job requires analyzing information and using logic to address work-related issues and problems.
  • Leadership — Job requires a willingness to lead, take charge, and offer opinions and direction.
  • Innovation — Job requires creativity and alternative thinking to develop new ideas for and answers to work-related problems.

back to top

Workforce Characteristics

Wages & Employment Trends

Median wages (2021)
$22.53 hourly, $46,850 annual
State wages
Local wages
Employment (2020)
15,700 employees
Projected growth (2020-2030)
Decline (-1% or lower)
Projected job openings (2020-2030)
1,200
State trends
Top industries (2020)

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics 2021 wage data external site and 2020-2030 employment projections external site. “Projected growth” represents the estimated change in total employment over the projections period (2020-2030). “Projected job openings” represent openings due to growth and replacement.

back to top

Job Openings on the Web

State job openings
Local job openings

back to top

More Information

back to top

Sources of Additional Information

Disclaimer: Sources are listed to provide additional information on related jobs, specialties, and/or industries. Links to non-DOL Internet sites are provided for your convenience and do not constitute an endorsement.

back to top