Tool Grinders, Filers, and Sharpeners
51-4194.00

Perform precision smoothing, sharpening, polishing, or grinding of metal objects.

Sample of reported job titles: Cutter Grinder, Finisher, Grinder, Grinder Operator, OD Grinder Operator (Outer Diameter Grinder Operator), Saw Filer, Tool and Cutter Grinder, Tool Grinder

Occupation-Specific Information

Tasks

  • Monitor machine operations to determine whether adjustments are necessary, stopping machines when problems occur.
  • Inspect, feel, and measure workpieces to ensure that surfaces and dimensions meet specifications.
  • Study blueprints or layouts of metal workpieces to determine grinding procedures, and to plan machine setups and operational sequences.
  • Select and mount grinding wheels on machines, according to specifications, using hand tools and applying knowledge of abrasives and grinding procedures.
  • Compute numbers, widths, and angles of cutting tools, micrometers, scales, and gauges, and adjust tools to produce specified cuts.
  • Turn valves to direct flow of coolant against cutting wheels and workpieces during grinding.
  • Set up and operate grinding or polishing machines to grind metal workpieces, such as dies, parts, and tools.
  • Dress grinding wheels, according to specifications.
  • File or finish surfaces of workpieces, using prescribed hand tools.
  • Perform basic maintenance, such as cleaning and lubricating machine parts.
  • Remove finished workpieces from machines and place them in boxes or on racks, setting aside pieces that are defective.
  • Remove and replace worn or broken machine parts, using hand tools.
  • Fit parts together in pre-assembly to ensure that dimensions are accurate.
  • Attach workpieces to grinding machines and form specified sections and repair cracks, using welding or brazing equipment.
  • Duplicate workpiece contours, using tracer attachments.
  • Inspect dies to detect defects, assess wear, and verify specifications, using micrometers, steel gauge pins, and loupes.
  • Place workpieces in electroplating solutions or apply pigments to surfaces of workpieces to highlight ridges and grooves.
  • Straighten workpieces and remove dents, using straightening presses and hammers.

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Technology Skills

Hot technology
Hot Technologies are requirements most frequently included across all employer job postings.

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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.
  • Inspecting Equipment, Structures, or Materials — Inspecting equipment, structures, or materials to identify the cause of errors or other problems or defects.
  • Handling and Moving Objects — Using hands and arms in handling, installing, positioning, and moving materials, and manipulating things.
  • Organizing, Planning, and Prioritizing Work — Developing specific goals and plans to prioritize, organize, and accomplish your work.
  • Monitoring Processes, Materials, or Surroundings — Monitoring and reviewing information from materials, events, or the environment, to detect or assess problems.
  • 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 materials.
  • Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events — Identifying information by categorizing, estimating, recognizing differences or similarities, and detecting changes in circumstances or events.
  • Making Decisions and Solving Problems — Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.
  • Estimating the Quantifiable Characteristics of Products, Events, or Information — Estimating sizes, distances, and quantities; or determining time, costs, resources, or materials needed to perform a work activity.
  • Judging the Qualities of Objects, Services, or People — Assessing the value, importance, or quality of things or people.
  • 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.
  • Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates — Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.
  • Documenting/Recording Information — Entering, transcribing, recording, storing, or maintaining information in written or electronic/magnetic form.
  • 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.
  • Working with Computers — Using computers and computer systems (including hardware and software) to program, write software, set up functions, enter data, or process information.
  • Processing Information — Compiling, coding, categorizing, calculating, tabulating, auditing, or verifying information or data.
  • Thinking Creatively — Developing, designing, or creating new applications, ideas, relationships, systems, or products, including artistic contributions.
  • Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge — Keeping up-to-date technically and applying new knowledge to your job.
  • Training and Teaching Others — Identifying the educational needs of others, developing formal educational or training programs or classes, and teaching or instructing others.

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Detailed Work Activities

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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 — 100% responded “Every day.”
  • Spend Time Using Your Hands to Handle, Control, or Feel Objects, Tools, or Controls — 92% responded “Continually or almost continually.”
  • Spend Time Standing — 83% responded “Continually or almost continually.”
  • Importance of Being Exact or Accurate — 73% responded “Extremely important.”
  • Face-to-Face Discussions — 65% responded “Every day.”
  • Pace Determined by Speed of Equipment — 51% responded “Extremely important.”
  • Exposed to Contaminants — 61% responded “Every day.”
  • Spend Time Making Repetitive Motions — 45% responded “Continually or almost continually.”
  • Time Pressure — 43% responded “Every day.”
  • Duration of Typical Work Week — 51% responded “40 hours.”
  • Responsible for Others' Health and Safety — 40% responded “Very high responsibility.”
  • Work With Work Group or Team — 42% responded “Very important.”
  • Exposed to Minor Burns, Cuts, Bites, or Stings — 54% responded “Every day.”
  • Freedom to Make Decisions — 40% responded “A lot of freedom.”
  • Frequency of Decision Making — 45% responded “Every day.”
  • Structured versus Unstructured Work — 44% responded “A lot of freedom.”
  • Exposed to Hazardous Equipment — 61% responded “Every day.”
  • Indoors, Not Environmentally Controlled — 59% responded “Every day.”
  • Contact With Others — 40% responded “Constant contact with others.”
  • Coordinate or Lead Others — 30% responded “Very important.”
  • Sounds, Noise Levels Are Distracting or Uncomfortable — 59% responded “Every day.”
  • Impact of Decisions on Co-workers or Company Results — 30% responded “Very important results.”
  • Responsibility for Outcomes and Results — 29% responded “High responsibility.”
  • Spend Time Walking and Running — 34% responded “Continually or almost continually.”
  • Level of Competition — 36% responded “Moderately competitive.”
  • Spend Time Bending or Twisting the Body — 29% responded “Continually or almost continually.”

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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, tellers, and dental laboratory technicians.
SVP Range
3 months to 1 year of preparation (4.0 to < 6.0)

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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.

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Worker Requirements

Skills

  • Operations Monitoring — Watching gauges, dials, or other indicators to make sure a machine is working properly.
  • Operation and Control — Controlling operations of equipment or systems.
  • Quality Control Analysis — Conducting tests and inspections of products, services, or processes to evaluate quality or performance.
  • Equipment Maintenance — Performing routine maintenance on equipment and determining when and what kind of maintenance is needed.
  • Repairing — Repairing machines or systems using the needed tools.
  • Critical Thinking — Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions, or approaches to problems.
  • Equipment Selection — Determining the kind of tools and equipment needed to do a job.
  • Monitoring — Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.
  • Troubleshooting — Determining causes of operating errors and deciding what to do about it.

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Knowledge

  • Mechanical — Knowledge of machines and tools, including their designs, uses, repair, and maintenance.
  • Mathematics — Knowledge of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, statistics, and their applications.
  • English Language — Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.

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Education

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

  • 45%
     
    responded: High school diploma or equivalent requiredmore info
  • 36%
     
    responded: Post-secondary certificate required
  • 13%
     
    responded: Less than high school diploma required

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Worker Characteristics

Abilities

  • 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.
  • 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).
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Flexibility of Closure — The ability to identify or detect a known pattern (a figure, object, word, or sound) that is hidden in other distracting material.
  • Perceptual Speed — The ability to quickly and accurately compare similarities and differences among sets of letters, numbers, objects, pictures, or patterns. The things to be compared may be presented at the same time or one after the other. This ability also includes comparing a presented object with a remembered object.
  • 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.
  • Reaction Time — The ability to quickly respond (with the hand, finger, or foot) to a signal (sound, light, picture) when it appears.
  • Written Comprehension — The ability to read and understand information and ideas presented in writing.
  • Auditory Attention — The ability to focus on a single source of sound in the presence of other distracting sounds.
  • Category Flexibility — The ability to generate or use different sets of rules for combining or grouping things in different ways.
  • Deductive Reasoning — The ability to apply general rules to specific problems to produce answers that make sense.
  • Hearing Sensitivity — The ability to detect or tell the differences between sounds that vary in pitch and loudness.
  • 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.
  • Static Strength — The ability to exert maximum muscle force to lift, push, pull, or carry objects.

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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.

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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.
  • Independence — Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to work on their own and make decisions. Corresponding needs are Creativity, Responsibility and Autonomy.
  • 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.

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

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Workforce Characteristics

Wages & Employment Trends

Median wages (2021)
$18.48 hourly, $38,430 annual
State wages
Local wages
Employment (2021)
6,300 employees
Projected growth (2021-2031)
Decline (-2% or lower)
Projected job openings (2021-2031)
600
State trends
Top industries (2021)

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics 2021 wage data external site and 2021-2031 employment projections external site. “Projected growth” represents the estimated change in total employment over the projections period (2021-2031). “Projected job openings” represent openings due to growth and replacement.

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Job Openings on the Web

State job openings
Local job openings

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More Information

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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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