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Summary Report for:
51-4041.00 - Machinists

Set up and operate a variety of machine tools to produce precision parts and instruments. 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.

Sample of reported job titles: Gear Machinist, Journeyman Machinist, Machine Operator, Machine Repair Person, Machinist, Maintenance Machinist, Maintenance Specialist, Production Machinist, Set-Up Machinist, Tool Room Machinist

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Tasks  |  Technology Skills  |  Tools Used  |  Knowledge  |  Skills  |  Abilities  |  Work Activities  |  Detailed Work Activities  |  Work Context  |  Job Zone  |  Education  |  Credentials  |  Interests  |  Work Styles  |  Work Values  |  Related Occupations  |  Wages & Employment  |  Job Openings  |  Additional Information


  • 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.
  • Set up, adjust, or operate basic or specialized machine tools used to perform precision machining operations.
  • Align and secure holding fixtures, cutting tools, attachments, accessories, or materials onto machines.
  • Measure, examine, or test completed units to check for defects and ensure conformance to specifications, using precision instruments, such as micrometers.
  • Monitor the feed and speed of machines during the machining process.
  • Maintain machine tools in proper operational condition.
  • Study sample parts, blueprints, drawings, or engineering information to determine methods or sequences of operations needed to fabricate products.
  • Operate equipment to verify operational efficiency.
  • Check work pieces to ensure that they are properly lubricated or cooled.
  • Program computers or electronic instruments, such as numerically controlled machine tools.
  • Diagnose machine tool malfunctions to determine need for adjustments or repairs.
  • Confer with engineering, supervisory, or manufacturing personnel to exchange technical information.
  • Lay out, measure, and mark metal stock to display placement of cuts.
  • Fit and assemble parts to make or repair machine tools.
  • Set up or operate metalworking, brazing, heat-treating, welding, or cutting equipment.
  • Dispose of scrap or waste material in accordance with company policies and environmental regulations. Green Task Statement
  • Separate scrap waste and related materials for reuse, recycling, or disposal. Green Task Statement
  • Evaluate machining procedures and recommend changes or modifications for improved efficiency or adaptability.
  • Dismantle machines or equipment, using hand tools or power tools to examine parts for defects and replace defective parts where needed.
  • Install repaired parts into equipment or install new equipment.
  • Design fixtures, tooling, or experimental parts to meet special engineering needs.
  • Confer with numerical control programmers to check and ensure that new programs or machinery will function properly and that output will meet specifications.
  • Support metalworking projects from planning and fabrication through assembly, inspection, and testing, using knowledge of machine functions, metal properties and mathematics.
  • Establish work procedures for fabricating new structural products, using a variety of metalworking machines.
  • Prepare working sketches for the illustration of product appearance.
  • Advise clients about the materials being used for finished products.
  • Test experimental models under simulated operating conditions for purposes such as development, standardization, or feasibility of design.
  • Install experimental parts or assemblies, such as hydraulic systems, electrical wiring, lubricants, or batteries into machines or mechanisms.

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Technology Skills

  • Analytical or scientific software — Armchair Machinist software; CNC Consulting Machinists' Calculator; Kentech Kipware Trig Kalculator
  • Computer aided design CAD software Hot technology — Autodesk AutoCAD Hot technology ; Dassault Systemes CATIA Hot technology ; PTC Creo Parametric; SolidCAM (see all 8 examples)
  • Computer aided manufacturing CAM software — Autodesk Fusion 360; CNC Mastercam; GRZ Software MeshCAM; OneCNC CAD/CAM (see all 9 examples)
  • Electronic mail software — Microsoft Outlook Hot technology
  • Enterprise resource planning ERP software Hot technology — ERP software; JobBOSS; SAP Hot technology
  • Industrial control software — EditCNC; Mazak Mazatrol SMART CNC
  • Office suite software — Microsoft Office Hot technology
  • Presentation software — Microsoft PowerPoint Hot technology
  • Procedure management software — Hexagon Metrology PC-DMIS
  • Spreadsheet software — Microsoft Excel Hot technology
  • Word processing software — Microsoft Word Hot technology

Hot technology Hot Technology — a technology requirement frequently included in employer job postings.

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Tools Used

  • Adjustable angle plate — Angle plates
  • Adjustable wrenches
  • Angle cutter — Undercut tools
  • Anvils
  • Arbors — Grinding wheel arbors
  • Ball peen hammer — Ball peen hammers
  • Bench dog — Grinding dogs
  • Bench vises — Milling vises
  • Binocular light compound microscopes
  • Blow torch — Torches
  • Boring machines — Boring bars; Boring tools; Horizontal boring bars
  • Calipers — Dial calipers; Hermaphrodite calipers; Outside spring calipers; Vernier calipers (see all 6 examples)
  • Casting machines — Centrifugal spin casters
  • Center gauge — Edge finders
  • Chamfering machine — Chamfer tools
  • Chucks
  • Cold chisels — Square chisels
  • Column and knee milling machine — Knee mills
  • Combination pliers
  • Combination wrenches
  • Coordinate measuring machines CMM
  • Cylinder gauge — Ring gauges
  • Deburring tool — Deburring tools
  • Desktop computers
  • Dial indicator or dial gauge — Dial indicators
  • Double ended stud — Shims
  • Drill press or radial drill — Radial drill presses; Radial drills; Sensitive drill presses
  • Drilling machines — Center drills; Pillar drill machines
  • End cut pliers — Side cutting pliers
  • Facial shields — Full face shields
  • Feeler gauges — Angled feeler gauges
  • Flat hand file — Flat files
  • Forklifts
  • Gage block set — Marking blocks; Parallel blocks; V blocks
  • Gas welding or brazing or cutting apparatus — Oxyacetylene welding equipment
  • Grinders
  • Grinding machines — Crankshaft grinders; Valve grinding machines
  • Hacksaw — Hacksaws; Power hacksaws
  • Half round file — Half-round files
  • Hammers — Brass hammers; Composition hammers; Machinists' hammers
  • Hand clamps
  • Hand reamer — Reamers
  • Height gauges — Gauges; Planer gauges; Vernier height gauges
  • Hex keys — Hex wrenches
  • Honing machine — Resurfacing machines
  • Horizontal machining center — Horizontal mills
  • Horizontal turning center — Drum lathes; Engine lathes; Flywheel lathes; Turning lathes (see all 6 examples)
  • Hydraulic press frames — Hydraulic presses
  • Induction heating machine — Heat-treating equipment
  • Ladders
  • Laser printers
  • Levels — Spirit levels
  • Locking pliers — Channel lock pliers
  • Machine end mill — Milling angle form cutters
  • Magnetic tools — Magnetic retrievers
  • Manual press brake — Arbor presses; Brake presses
  • Metal band sawing machine — Bandsaws
  • Metal broaching machines — Broachers
  • Metal cutters — Aviation snips
  • Metal inert gas welding machine — Metal inert gas MIG welders
  • Micrometers — Inside micrometers; Outside micrometers
  • Mill saw file — Single-cut mill saw files
  • Milling machines — Computerized numerical control CNC machining centers
  • Multi-tasking or universal machining center — Multi-axis computerized numerical control CNC machines
  • Needlenose pliers
  • Personal computers
  • Personal digital assistant PDAs or organizers — Personal digital assistants PDA
  • Pipe wrenches
  • Pitch measuring instruments — Screw pitch gauges
  • Planing machines — Planers
  • Plasma arc welding machine — Plasma welders
  • Platform lift — Platforms; Staging equipment
  • Pneumatic sanding machines — Sandblasters
  • Power buffers — Buffers
  • Power chippers — Chippers
  • Power drills — Combination drills
  • Power grinders — Cylindrical grinders
  • Power planes — Jointers
  • Power sanders
  • Power saws — Cold saws; Cutoff saws
  • Protractors — Vernier bevel protractors
  • Pry bars
  • Punches or nail sets or drifts — Prick punches; Punches
  • Putty knives
  • Radius gauge — Radius gauges
  • Ratchets — Ratchet sets
  • Rubber mallet — Rubber mallets
  • Rulers — Steel rules
  • Safety glasses — Welding lenses
  • Saws — Hand saws
  • Screwdrivers — Phillips head screwdrivers; Spindle blade screwdrivers
  • Scribers
  • Shaper cutter — Shapers
  • Sharpening stones or tools or kits — Cylinder honers; Sharpening equipment
  • Shears — Beverly shears; Metal shears
  • Shielded metal arc welding or stick welding machine — Shielded arc welding tools
  • Sine bar — Sine bars
  • Sledge hammer — Sledgehammers
  • Slings — Machine shop rigging equipment
  • Socket sets — Socket wrench sets
  • Spot welding machine — Handheld welders; Portable welding equipment
  • Squares — Machinists' squares
  • Surface gauge — Surface gauges
  • Surface grinding machine — Surface grinding machines
  • Swaging tools
  • Taps — Metal cutting taps
  • Telescoping gauge — Telescoping gauges
  • Thermal spray machine — Metal spray equipment
  • Thread counters or gauges — Thread gauges
  • Threading dies — Pipe threaders
  • Threading machine — Threading machines
  • Tongs
  • Tracer or duplicating or contouring lathe — Breaker lathes; Lathes
  • Traveling column milling machine — 3-axis computerized numerical control CNC machines
  • Tube bending machine — Tube benders
  • Tungsten inert gas welding machine — Tungsten inert gas TIG welding equipment
  • Turret lathe — Turret lathes; Vertical turret lathes VTL
  • Utility knives
  • Vertical machining center — Vertical milling machines
  • Wave soldering machine — Soldering equipment
  • Wedges — Steel wedges
  • Welder torch — Brazing equipment
  • Welding masks — Welding shields
  • Workshop cranes

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  • 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.
  • English Language — Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
  • Design — Knowledge of design techniques, tools, and principles involved in production of precision technical plans, blueprints, drawings, and models.

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  • Operation Monitoring — Watching gauges, dials, or other indicators to make sure a machine is working properly.
  • Critical Thinking — Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
  • 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.
  • Coordination — Adjusting actions in relation to others' actions.
  • Monitoring — Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.
  • Reading Comprehension — Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.

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  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Near Vision — The ability to see details at close range (within a few feet of the observer).
  • 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).
  • 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 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.
  • Visualization — The ability to imagine how something will look after it is moved around or when its parts are moved or rearranged.
  • Deductive Reasoning — The ability to apply general rules to specific problems to produce answers that make sense.
  • Inductive Reasoning — The ability to combine pieces of information to form general rules or conclusions (includes finding a relationship among seemingly unrelated events).
  • 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.
  • Written Comprehension — The ability to read and understand information and ideas presented in writing.
  • Category Flexibility — The ability to generate or use different sets of rules for combining or grouping things in different ways.
  • Rate Control — The ability to time your movements or the movement of a piece of equipment in anticipation of changes in the speed and/or direction of a moving object or scene.
  • Speech Recognition — The ability to identify and understand the speech of another person.

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Work Activities

  • Getting Information — Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
  • Controlling Machines and Processes — Using either control mechanisms or direct physical activity to operate machines or processes (not including computers or vehicles).
  • Making Decisions and Solving Problems — Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.
  • Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates — Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.
  • Handling and Moving Objects — Using hands and arms in handling, installing, positioning, and moving materials, and manipulating things.
  • Inspecting Equipment, Structures, or Material — Inspecting equipment, structures, or materials to identify the cause of errors or other problems or defects.
  • Processing Information — Compiling, coding, categorizing, calculating, tabulating, auditing, or verifying information or data.
  • Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge — Keeping up-to-date technically and applying new knowledge to your job.
  • Performing General Physical Activities — Performing physical activities that require considerable use of your arms and legs and moving your whole body, such as climbing, lifting, balancing, walking, stooping, and handling of materials.
  • Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events — Identifying information by categorizing, estimating, recognizing differences or similarities, and detecting changes in circumstances or events.
  • Thinking Creatively — Developing, designing, or creating new applications, ideas, relationships, systems, or products, including artistic contributions.
  • Monitor Processes, Materials, or Surroundings — Monitoring and reviewing information from materials, events, or the environment, to detect or assess problems.
  • Repairing and Maintaining Mechanical Equipment — Servicing, repairing, adjusting, and testing machines, devices, moving parts, and equipment that operate primarily on the basis of mechanical (not electronic) principles.
  • Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships — Developing constructive and cooperative working relationships with others, and maintaining them over time.
  • 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.
  • Judging the Qualities of Things, Services, or People — Assessing the value, importance, or quality of things or people.

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Detailed Work Activities

  • Measure dimensions of completed products or workpieces to verify conformance to specifications.
  • Calculate dimensions of workpieces, products, or equipment.
  • Operate cutting equipment.
  • Operate grinding equipment.
  • Operate metal or plastic forming equipment.
  • Mount attachments or tools onto production equipment.
  • Monitor equipment operation to ensure proper functioning.
  • Maintain production or processing equipment.
  • Review blueprints or other instructions to determine operational methods or sequences.
  • Conduct test runs of production equipment.
  • Monitor lubrication of equipment or workpieces.
  • Diagnose equipment malfunctions.
  • Program equipment to perform production tasks.
  • Design tools, fixtures, or other devices for production equipment.
  • Exchange information with colleagues.
  • Assemble machine tools, parts, or fixtures.
  • Draw guide lines or markings on materials or workpieces using patterns or other references.
  • Measure materials to mark reference points, cutting lines, or other indicators.
  • Operate welding equipment.
  • Dispose of trash or waste materials.
  • Sort recyclable materials.
  • Advise others on ways to improve processes or products.
  • Plan production or operational procedures or sequences.
  • Disassemble equipment for maintenance or repair.
  • Replace worn equipment components.
  • Install mechanical components in production equipment.
  • Create diagrams or blueprints for workpieces or products.
  • Assemble electromechanical or hydraulic systems.

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Work Context

  • Wear Common Protective or Safety Equipment such as Safety Shoes, Glasses, Gloves, Hearing Protection, Hard Hats, or Life Jackets — 90% responded “Every day.”
  • Face-to-Face Discussions — 85% responded “Every day.”
  • Importance of Being Exact or Accurate — 72% responded “Extremely important.”
  • Exposed to Hazardous Equipment — 85% responded “Every day.”
  • Spend Time Using Your Hands to Handle, Control, or Feel Objects, Tools, or Controls — 71% responded “Continually or almost continually.”
  • Spend Time Standing — 50% responded “Continually or almost continually.”
  • Sounds, Noise Levels Are Distracting or Uncomfortable — 64% responded “Every day.”
  • Exposed to Contaminants — 56% responded “Every day.”
  • Contact With Others — 40% responded “Contact with others most of the time.”
  • Exposed to Minor Burns, Cuts, Bites, or Stings — 39% responded “Every day.”
  • Time Pressure — 39% responded “Every day.”
  • Freedom to Make Decisions — 34% responded “Some freedom.”
  • Pace Determined by Speed of Equipment — 42% responded “Extremely important.”
  • Structured versus Unstructured Work — 39% responded “Some freedom.”
  • Duration of Typical Work Week — 49% responded “40 hours.”
  • Work With Work Group or Team — 35% responded “Very important.”
  • Impact of Decisions on Co-workers or Company Results — 35% responded “Important results.”
  • Frequency of Decision Making — 46% responded “Every day.”
  • Consequence of Error — 26% responded “Very serious.”
  • Responsible for Others' Health and Safety — 31% responded “Very high responsibility.”
  • Spend Time Making Repetitive Motions — 34% responded “Less than half the time.”
  • Coordinate or Lead Others — 35% responded “Very important.”
  • Importance of Repeating Same Tasks — 31% responded “Important.”
  • Physical Proximity — 36% responded “Slightly close (e.g., shared office).”
  • Responsibility for Outcomes and Results — 37% responded “Moderate responsibility.”
  • Indoors, Environmentally Controlled — 49% responded “Every day.”
  • Level of Competition — 34% responded “Moderately competitive.”

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Job Zone

Title Job Zone Three: Medium Preparation Needed
Education Most occupations in this zone require training in vocational schools, related on-the-job experience, or an associate's degree.
Related Experience Previous work-related skill, knowledge, or experience is required for these occupations. For example, an electrician must have completed three or four years of apprenticeship or several years of vocational training, and often must have passed a licensing exam, in order to perform the job.
Job Training Employees in these occupations 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 these occupations.
Job Zone Examples These occupations usually involve using communication and organizational skills to coordinate, supervise, manage, or train others to accomplish goals. Examples include hydroelectric production managers, travel guides, electricians, agricultural technicians, barbers, court reporters, and medical assistants.
SVP Range (6.0 to < 7.0)

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Percentage of Respondents
Education Level Required
50   Post-secondary certificate Help
34   High school diploma or equivalent Help
5   Associate's degree

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Interest code: RCI   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.
  • Investigative — 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.

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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.
  • 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.
  • Initiative — Job requires a willingness to take on responsibilities and challenges.
  • Self Control — Job requires maintaining composure, keeping emotions in check, controlling anger, and avoiding aggressive behavior, even in very difficult situations.
  • Adaptability/Flexibility — Job requires being open to change (positive or negative) and to considerable variety in the workplace.
  • Integrity — Job requires being honest and ethical.
  • Persistence — Job requires persistence in the face of obstacles.
  • Innovation — Job requires creativity and alternative thinking to develop new ideas for and answers to work-related problems.
  • Cooperation — Job requires being pleasant with others on the job and displaying a good-natured, cooperative attitude.
  • 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.
  • 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.

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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.

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Wages & Employment Trends

Median wages (2017) $20.48 hourly, $42,600 annual
State wages Local Salary Info
Employment (2016) 396,000 employees
Projected growth (2016-2026) Slower than average (2% to 4%) Slower than average (2% to 4%)
Projected job openings (2016-2026) 40,700
State trends Employment Trends
Top industries (2016)

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics 2017 wage data external site and 2016-2026 employment projections external site. "Projected growth" represents the estimated change in total employment over the projections period (2016-2026). "Projected job openings" represent openings due to growth and replacement.

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Job Openings on the Web

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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.

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