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Become A Machinist Class B

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Working As A Machinist Class B

  • Getting Information
  • Controlling Machines and Processes
  • Making Decisions and Solving Problems
  • Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates
  • Handling and Moving Objects
  • Unpleasant/Hazardous Environment

  • $40,550

    Average Salary

What Does A Machinist Class B Do

Machinists and tool and die makers set up and operate a variety of computer-controlled and mechanically controlled machine tools to produce precision metal parts, instruments, and tools.


Machinists typically do the following:

  • Work from blueprints, sketches, or computer-aided design (CAD) and computer-aided manufacturing (CAM) files
  • Set up, operate, and disassemble manual, automatic, and computer-numeric-controlled (CNC) machine tools
  • Align, secure, and adjust cutting tools and workpieces
  • Monitor the feed and speed of machines
  • Turn, mill, drill, shape, and grind machine parts to specifications
  • Measure, examine, and test completed products for defects
  • Smooth the surfaces of parts or products
  • Present finished workpieces to customers and make modifications if needed

Tool and die makers typically do the following:

  • Read blueprints, sketches, specifications, or CAD and CAM files for making tools and dies
  • Compute and verify dimensions, sizes, shapes, and tolerances of workpieces
  • Set up, operate, and disassemble conventional, manual, and CNC machine tools
  • File, grind, and adjust parts so that they fit together properly
  • Test completed tools and dies to ensure that they meet specifications
  • Smooth and polish the surfaces of tools and dies

Machinists use machine tools, such as lathes, milling machines, and grinders, to produce precision metal parts. Many machinists must be able to use both manual and CNC machinery. CNC machines control the cutting tool speed and do all necessary cuts to create a part. The machinist determines the cutting path, the speed of the cut, and the feed rate by programming instructions into the CNC machine.

Although workers may produce large quantities of one part, precision machinists often produce small batches or one-of-a-kind items. The parts that machinists make range from simple steel bolts to titanium bone screws for orthopedic implants. Hydraulic parts, antilock brakes, and automobile pistons are other widely known products that machinists make.

Some machinists repair or make new parts for existing machinery. After an industrial machinery mechanic discovers a broken part in a machine, a machinist remanufactures the part. The machinist refers to blueprints and performs the same machining operations that were used to create the original part in order to create the replacement.

Because the technology of machining is changing rapidly, workers must learn to operate a wide range of machines. Some newer manufacturing processes use lasers, water jets, and electrified wires to cut the workpiece. Although some of the computer controls are similar to those of other machine tools, machinists must understand the unique capabilities and features of different machines. As engineers create new types of machine tools, machinists must learn new machining properties and techniques.

Toolmakers craft precision tools that are used to cut, shape, and form metal and other materials. They also produce jigs and fixtures—devices that hold metal while it is bored, stamped, or drilled—and gauges and other measuring devices.

Die makers construct metal forms, called dies, that are used to shape metal in stamping and forging operations. They also make metal molds for die casting and for molding plastics, ceramics, and composite materials.

Many tool and die makers use CAD to develop products and parts. Designs are entered into computer programs that produce blueprints for the required tools and dies. Computer-numeric control programmers, found in the metal and plastic machine workers profile, convert CAD designs into CAM programs that contain instructions for a sequence of cutting tool operations. Once these programs are developed, CNC machines follow the set of instructions contained in the program to produce the part. Machinists normally operate CNC machines, but tool and die makers often are trained to both operate CNC machines and write CNC programs and thus may do either task.

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How To Become A Machinist Class B

There are many different ways to become a machinist or tool and die maker. Machinists train in apprenticeship programs, vocational schools, or community or technical colleges, or on the job. To become a fully trained tool and die maker takes several years of technical instruction and on-the-job training. Good math and problem-solving skills, in addition to familiarity with computer software, are important. A high school diploma or equivalent is necessary.


Machinists and tool and die makers must have a high school diploma or equivalent. In high school, students should take math courses, especially trigonometry and geometry. They also should take courses in blueprint reading, metalworking, and drafting, if available.

Some advanced positions, such as those in the aircraft manufacturing industry, require the use of advanced applied calculus and physics. The increasing use of computer-controlled machinery requires machinists and tool and die makers to have experience using computers before entering a training program.

Some community colleges and technical schools have 2-year programs that train students to become machinists or tool and die makers. These programs usually teach design and blueprint reading, how to use a variety of welding and cutting tools, and the programming and function of computer numerically controlled (CNC) machines.


There are multiple ways for workers to gain competency in the job as a tool or die maker. One common way is through long-term on-the-job training, which lasts 1 year or longer.

Apprenticeship programs, typically sponsored by a manufacturer, provide another way to become a machinist or tool and die maker, but they are often hard to get into. Apprentices usually have a high school diploma or equivalent, and most have taken algebra and trigonometry classes.

Apprenticeship programs often consist of paid shop training and related technical instruction lasting several years. The technical instruction typically is provided in cooperation with local community colleges and vocational–technical schools.

Apprentices usually work 40 hours per week and receive technical instruction during evenings. Trainees often begin as machine operators and gradually take on more difficult assignments. Machinists and tool and die makers must be experienced in using computers to work with CAD/CAM technology, CNC machine tools, and computerized measuring machines. Some machinists become tool and die makers.

A number of machinists and tool and die makers receive their technical training from community and technical colleges. Employees may learn this way while being employed by a manufacturer that supports the employee’s training goals and provides needed on-the-job training as well.

Even after completing a formal training program, tool and die makers still need years of experience to become highly skilled.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations

To boost the skill level of machinists and tool and die makers and to create a more uniform standard of competency, a number of training facilities and colleges offer certification programs. The Skills Certification System, for example, is an industry-driven program that aims to align education pathways with career pathways. In addition, journey-level certification is available from state apprenticeship boards after completing an apprenticeship.

Completing a recognized certification program provides machinists and tool and die makers with better job opportunities and helps employers judge the abilities of new hires.

Important Qualities

Analytical skills. Machinists and tool and die makers must understand highly technical blueprints, models, and specifications so that they can craft precision tools and metal parts. 

Manual dexterity. The work of machinists and tool and die makers must be highly accurate. For example, machining parts may demand accuracy to within .0001 of an inch, a level of accuracy that requires workers’ concentration and dexterity.

Math skills and computer application experience. Workers must have good math skills and be experienced using computers to work with CAD/CAM technology, CNC machine tools, and computerized measuring machines.

Mechanical skills. Machinists and tool and die makers must operate milling machines, lathes, grinders, laser and water cutting machines, wire electrical discharge machines, and other machine tools. They may also use a variety of hand tools and power tools.

Physical stamina. The ability to endure extended periods of standing and performing repetitious movements is important for machinists and tool and die makers.

Technical skills. Machinists and tool and die makers must understand computerized measuring machines and metalworking processes, such as stock removal, chip control, and heat treating and plating.

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Machinist Class B jobs


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Machinist Class B Career Paths

Machinist Class B
Technician Service Manager General Manager
Area Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Forklift Operator Numerical Control Operator Computer Numerical Controller Machinist
Computer Numerical Controller Supervisor
6 Yearsyrs
Journeyman Foreman
Construction Superintendent
9 Yearsyrs
Service Technician Engineering Technician Design Engineer
Design Engineering Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Truck Driver Dispatcher Operations Manager
Division Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Forklift Operator Computer Numerical Controller Machinist
Lead Machinist
6 Yearsyrs
Truck Driver Operations Manager Plant Manager
Manufacturing Director
14 Yearsyrs
Mechanic Maintenance Technician Production Supervisor
Manufacturing Supervisor
7 Yearsyrs
Maintenance Technician Production Supervisor
Operation Supervisor
5 Yearsyrs
Machine Operator Technician Service Manager
Operations Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Tool Maker Manufacturing Engineer Plant Engineer
Plant Engineering Manager
11 Yearsyrs
Machine Operator Production Supervisor Operations Manager
President Of Operations
11 Yearsyrs
Welder Maintenance Technician
Production Supervisor
7 Yearsyrs
Technician Engineer Project Engineer
Project Engineering Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Welder Technician Quality Control Inspector
Quality Control Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Tool Maker Quality Inspector Shipping Clerk
Shipping Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Service Technician Shop Foreman
Shop Supervisor
5 Yearsyrs
Maintenance Technician Maintenance Manager Operations Manager
Site Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Journeyman Journeyman Electrician Foreman
9 Yearsyrs
Mechanic Forklift Operator
Warehouse Manager
5 Yearsyrs
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Average Length of Employment
Senior Machinist 5.5 years
Head Machinist 5.1 years
Lead Machinist 4.6 years
Machinist 4.5 years
Machinist Class B 4.0 years
Welder/Machinist 3.9 years
Machinist-Set-Up 3.8 years
Tool Machinist 3.8 years
Manual Machinist 3.8 years
Top Employers Before
Machinist 23.0%
Technician 5.9%
Welder 3.9%
Mechanic 3.3%
Carpenter 3.0%
Supervisor 3.0%
Apprentice 2.3%
Manager 2.3%
Top Employers After
Machinist 18.0%
Welder 6.2%
Technician 5.9%
Mechanic 5.9%
Supervisor 3.7%
Owner 3.4%
Tool Maker 3.1%
Driver 2.8%
Journeyman 2.8%

Machinist Class B Demographics










Hispanic or Latino






Black or African American

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Languages Spoken







Machinist Class B Education


Baton Rouge Community College


University of Phoenix


Anoka Technical College


Radford University


A-Technical College


Erie Institute of Technology Inc


Hennepin Technical College


Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College


New York Institute of Photography


Tulsa Welding School


Technology Center


Calhoun Community College


Wentworth Institute of Technology


Massachusetts Bay Community College


Delgado Community College


ITI Technical College


Houston Community College


Universal Technical Institute


Porter and Chester Institute


Metropolitan Community College

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Precision Metal Working


Drafting And Design


Industrial Technology


General Studies


Automotive Technology


Criminal Justice


Environmental Control Technologies/Technicians




Mechanical Engineering Technology






Electrical Engineering Technology


General Education, Specific Areas




Mechanical Engineering


Computer Science


Heating And Air Conditioning


Electrical Engineering


Medical Technician

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Top Skills for A Machinist Class B


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Top Machinist Class B Skills

  1. New Parts
  2. Manual Lathes
  3. Computer Numerical Control
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Job responsibilities: Repair and manufacture new parts such as: pistons, glands, rods, etc.
  • Produce machined parts by programming, setting up, and operating a computer numerical control (CNC) machine.
  • Maintain safe operations by adhering to safety procedures and regulations.
  • Selected as one of only two employees to set-up and operate first C.N.C.
  • Used blueprints and engineering drawings utilizing geometric dimension tolerances.

Top Machinist Class B Employers

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Machinist Class B Videos

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