What Does It Take to Be a Machinist?

Many people like the idea of becoming a machinist. It’s a role where you get to work with technology to produce an item or component, combining computer-oriented tasks with physical activity in many cases. 

Becoming a machinist isn’t complicated, but it does require some specialized capabilities. If you want to become qualified for a machinist role, here’s what you need to know. 

Educational Requirements 

At a minimum, you’ll need a high school diploma or its equivalent to become a machinist. Algebra is a critical skill for machinists, as well as trigonometry and physics, so a high school level education is seen as a must. Additionally, you need to be comfortable using a computer, as the machinery is computer-controlled. If you have those skills, you may be able to get all of the training you need while working in the position or through an apprentice program. 

With an apprenticeship program, you’ll be trained in a machine shop. Along the way, you’ll earn an income while you improve your skills. For example, you might start as a machine operator and move your way toward becoming a machinist over time. 

Some of the roles are a bit more advanced. In those cases, you’ll need additional education to become a machinist. Typically, this involves completing a one- to two-year program focused on machining. When you take those classes, you’ll learn a variety of fundamental skills, including how computer numerically controlled (CNC) machines work, how to program the devices, blueprint reading, design techniques, and more. 

Soft Skills and Important Traits 

Along with technical capability, machinists need certain soft skills and traits. Having an analytical mind is crucial for these jobs. Additionally, manual dexterity, mechanical prowess, and the ability to concentrate are important, as accuracy matters with machining. 

Physical stamina is another trait successful machinists possess. In most cases, you’ll spend the majority of your time on your feet while on the job, and you’ll often have to perform repetitive movements for extended periods. 

Launching Your Career 

Once you have the necessary skills and education, you can start your machinist career. Usually, you’ll need to begin by finding an entry-level opportunity, preferably one that offers additional on the job training to help you improve your capabilities, cross-train on different pieces of equipment, and become a more valuable employee. 

In some cases, you’ll start in a machine operator role before transitioning to a CNC machinist or CNC programmer position. If you take this route, the machine operator position allows you to learn more about working in an industrial environment and improve your foundational skills, making it easier for you to excel when you move on to a machinist role. 

If you are interested in launching your machinist career, the skilled team of professionals at The Advance Group can help. Contact us to learn more about our current job openings today and see how our services can make it easier than ever to get your machinist career started off on the right foot.  






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