Tool And Die Maker

Analytical skills
Highly technical understanding
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
All about precision
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.
Mechanical skills
Putting it all together
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.

Job Description

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.

Tool and die makers typically do the following:

  • Read specs for making tools and dies
  • Compute and verify workpiece dimensions
  • Set up and operate CNC machine tools
  • File, grind and adjust parts
  • Test completed tools and dies
  • Smooth and polish the surfaces of tools and dies

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.

Job Outlook

Median Pay – $47,040
2 Year Associate’s Degree
No Related Work Experience
Moderate-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 – $42,110 / 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


  • Program Length – 9 months (certificate)
  • Average Earnings – $41,000/ yr
  • Cost – $4,176

With the resurgence of manufacturing in the Chattanooga region, manufacturers are in need of tool and die maintenance technicians to repair tools and dies, maintain press machines, create basic die sets, operate presses, and operate machines that are used in making die sets. The three-semester Tool and Die program addresses the needs of local industry. The potential student will be a graduate from a TCAT Machine Tool or Industrial Maintenance program, or have five years of documented work experience in machining or maintenance. The first semester will be either machining for those with a maintenance diploma/background, or maintenance for those with a machining diploma/background. Semesters two and three will be the same for all students.


TN College of Applied Technology - Chattanooga