Analytical skills
Precision is crucial
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
Work with your hands
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.
Technical skills
Learn new technologies
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.

Job Description

Machinists typically do the following:

  • Work from blueprintd and sketches
  • Operate CNC machine tools
  • Adjust cutting tools and workpieces
  • Monitor the feed and speed of machines
  • Modify machine parts to specifications
  • Test completed products for defects
  • Smooth the surfaces of parts or products
  • Present finished workpieces to customers

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.

Job Outlook

Median Pay – $47,040
HS Diploma or Equivalent
No Related Work Experience
Long-term on-the-job training
Lowest 10%
Highest 10%
The industries that hired the most were:
Machine shops
Machinery manufacturing
Transportation equipment manufacturing



TN College of Applied Technology - Athens


  • Time Commitment – Full Time
  • Scholarship/TN Promise Eligible – Yes
  • Average Pay – $44,000 / yr
  • Cost – $7,795

Advanced manufacturing facilities rely heavily on the skilled craftsmanship of machinists. Manufacturers employee machinists who have a wide range of skills and are capable of performing modern production techniques. Machinists set up and operate a variety of computer-controlled and mechanically-controlled machine tools to produce precision parts.

Train and learn on state-of-the-art Computer Numerically Controlled (CNC) equipment, lathes, mills, and other machines to create products used in the manufacturing environment. Instruction is given in related mathematics, blueprint reading, precision measuring, basic metallurgy, and heat-treating of metals. Incorporating the National Institute of Metalworking Skills (NIMS) standards, students learn cutting-edge techniques based on recognized fundamentals.

• Set up and operate manual, and Computer Numerically Controlled (CNC) machine tools

• Operate lathes, milling machines, grinders, horizontal and vertical bandsaws, and drill presses

• Align, secure, and adjust cutting tools and work pieces


  • Program Length – 1 Year (Diploma)
  • Average Earnings – $34,590/yr
  • Cost – $4,905

The Machine Tool program covers all aspects of machining from shop safety, blueprint reading and basic hand tools (micrometers, calipers, etc.) to the operation of precision Computer Numeric Controls (CNC) machines. While training, students have the opportunity to develop their skills on lathes, vertical milling machines, and surface grinders.

The Machine Tool program is designed to teach students how to read a blue print and identify the materials needed to make a part from the blue print.  Shop safety, operation of a saw, drill press, grinder, manual lathe and a manual milling machine are some of the skills students will learn.

After learning how to operate the manual machines, the students will learn how to set-up and run a Computer Numeric Controlled (CNC) lathe, machining centers, and grinders.  Today, the CNC machines are widely used in the machining industry. Students will receive training on a Computer Aided Design (CAD) system.


TN College of Applied Technology - Chattanooga