Working as a Lathe Operator

There is more than meets the eye when it comes to being a lathe operator. For example, did you know that they make an average of $15.96 an hour? That's $33,192 a year!

Between 2018 and 2028, the career is expected to grow -8% and produce -83,800 job opportunities across the U.S.

What Does a Lathe Operator Do

There are certain skills that many lathe operators have in order to accomplish their responsibilities. By taking a look through resumes, we were able to narrow down the most common skills for a person in this position. We discovered that a lot of resumes listed dexterity, mechanical skills and analytical skills.

When it comes to the most important skills required to be a lathe operator, we found that a lot of resumes listed 13.6% of lathe operators included cnc, while 13.0% of resumes included manual lathes, and 11.9% of resumes included micrometers. Hard skills like these are helpful to have when it comes to performing essential job responsibilities.

When it comes to searching for a job, many search for a key term or phrase. Instead, it might be more helpful to search by industry, as you might be missing jobs that you never thought about in industries that you didn't even think offered positions related to the lathe operator job title. But what industry to start with? Most lathe operators actually find jobs in the professional and manufacturing industries.

How To Become a Lathe Operator

If you're interested in becoming a lathe operator, one of the first things to consider is how much education you need. We've determined that 9.7% of lathe operators have a bachelor's degree. In terms of higher education levels, we found that 0.3% of lathe operators have master's degrees. Even though some lathe operators have a college degree, it's possible to become one with only a high school degree or GED.

Choosing the right major is always an important step when researching how to become a lathe operator. When we researched the most common majors for a lathe operator, we found that they most commonly earn high school diploma degrees or associate degree degrees. Other degrees that we often see on lathe operator resumes include bachelor's degree degrees or diploma degrees.

You may find that experience in other jobs will help you become a lathe operator. In fact, many lathe operator jobs require experience in a role such as machine operator. Meanwhile, many lathe operators also have previous career experience in roles such as numerical control operator or machinist.

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Average Salary$33,192
Job Growth Rate-8%

Lathe Operator Jobs

Lathe Operator Career Paths

Top Careers Before Lathe Operator
Machinist10.7 %
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Top Careers After Lathe Operator
Machinist12.6 %
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What is the right job for my career path?

Tell us your goals and we'll match you with the rights job to get there.

Average Salary for a Lathe Operator

Lathe Operators in America make an average salary of $33,192 per year or $16 per hour. The top 10 percent makes over $42,000 per year, while the bottom 10 percent under $25,000 per year.
Average Salary
$33,192

Best Paying Cities

City
Average Salary

Recently Added Salaries

Job TitleCompanyCompanyStart DateSalary
Manual Lathe Operator
Manual Lathe Operator
Randstad
Randstad
04/28/2020
04/28/2020
$31,30504/28/2020
$31,305
Lathe Operator Needed In Hobby Airport Area
Lathe Operator Needed In Hobby Airport Area
Kelly Services
Kelly Services
03/07/2020
03/07/2020
$31,30503/07/2020
$31,305
Lathe Operator
Lathe Operator
Choice1Temps.com
Choice1Temps.com
03/06/2020
03/06/2020
$33,39203/06/2020
$33,392
Lathe Operator
Lathe Operator
Kelly Services
Kelly Services
01/15/2020
01/15/2020
$33,39201/15/2020
$33,392
Lathe Operator
Lathe Operator
Randstad
Randstad
01/06/2020
01/06/2020
$35,47901/06/2020
$35,479
See More Recent Salaries

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Lathe Operator Demographics

Gender

Male

85.3 %

Female

11.3 %

Unknown

3.4 %
Ethnicity

White

65.9 %

Hispanic or Latino

14.7 %

Black or African American

9.8 %
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Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

66.7 %

Portuguese

6.7 %

German

6.7 %
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Lathe Operator Education

Schools

NTMA Training Centers of Southern California

8.6 %

Illinois Central College

8.6 %

Owens Community College

6.9 %

Pennsylvania State University

6.9 %
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Majors

Business

14.2 %

Precision Metal Working

10.5 %

General Studies

8.1 %

Computer Science

7.8 %
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Degrees

High School Diploma

53.5 %

Associate

13.6 %

Certificate

13.4 %

Bachelors

9.7 %
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Entry Level Jobs For Becoming A Lathe Operator

Job type you want
Full Time
Part Time
Internship
Temporary

Top Skills For a Lathe Operator

The skills section on your resume can be almost as important as the experience section, so you want it to be an accurate portrayal of what you can do. Luckily, we've found all of the skills you'll need so even if you don't have these skills yet, you know what you need to work on. Out of all the resumes we looked through, 13.6% of lathe operators listed cnc on their resume, but soft skills such as dexterity and mechanical skills are important as well.

Best States For a Lathe Operator

Some places are better than others when it comes to starting a career as a lathe operator. The best states for people in this position are Hawaii, Alaska, Washington, and California. Lathe operators make the most in Hawaii with an average salary of $40,328. Whereas in Alaska and Washington, they would average $40,317 and $39,909, respectively. While lathe operators would only make an average of $39,880 in California, you would still make more there than in the rest of the country. We determined these as the best states based on job availability and pay. By finding the median salary, cost of living, and using the Bureau of Labor Statistics' Location Quotient, we narrowed down our list of states to these four.

1. Rhode Island

Total Lathe Operator Jobs:
42
Highest 10% Earn:
$51,000
Location Quotient:
1.73
Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here

2. Michigan

Total Lathe Operator Jobs:
243
Highest 10% Earn:
$49,000
Location Quotient:
1.33
Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here

3. Wisconsin

Total Lathe Operator Jobs:
273
Highest 10% Earn:
$48,000
Location Quotient:
2.08
Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here
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Top Lathe Operator Employers

1. FCC
4.3
Avg. Salary: 
$46,411
Lathe Operators Hired: 
27+
2. United States Steel
4.7
Avg. Salary: 
$52,411
Lathe Operators Hired: 
14+
3. General Electric
4.7
Avg. Salary: 
$85,521
Lathe Operators Hired: 
11+
4. Georgia-Pacific
4.2
Avg. Salary: 
$46,056
Lathe Operators Hired: 
10+
5. Caterpillar
4.8
Avg. Salary: 
$57,817
Lathe Operators Hired: 
9+
6. National Oilwell Varco
4.3
Avg. Salary: 
$59,392
Lathe Operators Hired: 
7+

Lathe Operator Videos

Recently Added Lathe Operator Jobs

Updated October 2, 2020