Machinists set up and operate a variety of machine tools to produce precision parts and instruments. They may also fabricate and modify parts to make or repair machine tools or to maintain industrial machines.


Average Hourly Earnings



High school diploma, long-term on the job training


  • 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
  • Use precision instruments such as micrometers to measure, examine, or test completed units to check for defects and make sure they conform to specifications
  • 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 the methods or sequences of operations needed to make products

Work Environment

Machinists work indoors, but their work spaces may not have climate control. This job can be dangerous because workers are frequently exposed to hazardous equipment and sometimes to contaminated materials. They regularly work in settings where noise levels are distracting or uncomfortable. To remain healthy in this work setting, people must wear common protective or safety equipment. Accuracy is very important in this work. The speed of equipment often determines the work pace. Workdays often include face-to-face discussions.

Key Traits

Realistic. Often involves work activities that includes practical, hands-on problems and solutions. Usually include working with actual materials – many times in an outdoor setting.