If you love working with your hands and have an aptitude for mathematics, you might want to consider a career as a machinist. As one of the oldest American states, and a key player in the American Industrial Revolution, Massachusetts could be a great place to start your career. The state offers a variety of apprenticeships through the Office of Labor and Workforce Development to help novice machinists get started.
It may also bode well for you to explore degree options through machinist schools in Massachusetts. A postsecondary degree can prepare you for this challenging field, both by teaching you how to use various types of machinery and by introducing you to the underlying principles of production and metalworking. Although curriculum will vary among programs, most machinist schools in Massachusetts teach students the basics of blueprint reading, drafting, and metalworking, skills that can also be applied to many similar careers in the production and manufacturing sector.
Specializations for machinists in Massachusetts
Machinist schools in Massachusetts generally cover a wide range of different skills related to metalworking and operating machinery. This can prepare you for a wide range of careers. However, some machinists also choose a specialty within their field. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) lists the following specializations as some of the most popular:
- General Machinists - Machinists use various tools to create metal parts. Some tools they use are computer-controlled while others are run by hand.
- Toolmakers - These workers use various tools and machinery to manufacture tools that are used to create metal parts and components.
- Die makers - Die makers use their expertise to create metal forms that are used in stamping or forging operations.
According to the BLS, there are many ways for an individual to begin a career as a machinist, toolmaker, or die maker. However, most begin with at least a high school diploma, usually with a good number of math and physics classes under their belt. Because machinist work is so detail-oriented and highly complex, it often takes many years of experience to master the craft. Most students opt for at least one, if not all, of the following postsecondary options:
- Two-Year Degree Program: Most machinists, toolmakers and die makers complete a two-year degree program at a vocational school, technical school or community college. Courses will teach them to read blueprints, use advanced math, and introduce students to the computer skills needed to work with CAD/CAM technology, CNC machine tools and computerized measuring machines.
- Certification: Although certification may not be required for machinists, the BLS notes that it may lead to better job opportunities. Currently, many state apprenticeship boards and colleges offer certification opportunities to those who enter this field.
- Apprenticeships: Most machinists enter the workforce through an apprenticeship, regardless of their postsecondary education. Even after completing one of these programs and becoming certified, machinists may need several years of experience as an apprentice to become highly skilled enough to demand top pay.
Machinist Salary and Career Outlook
Because machinists are needed for many essential production activities in the United States, their skills are expected to remain in demand. Specifically, the BLS projects that employment for machinists will increase 9 percent nationally during the decade leading up to 2022, although Projections Central predicts that jobs for machinists in Massachusetts will show little improvement during the same timeframe. The BLS also shows that the following regions in Massachusetts currently employ the most machinists as of 2013:
- Boston - Cambridge - Quincy: 3,280
- Worcester MA-CT: 1,140
According to the BLS, machinists in Massachusetts earned an annual mean wage of $47,640 in 2013. However, some regions in the state reported higher wages. For example, the Peabody, MA region reported an annual mean wage of $61,150 in 2013. When you're seeking out machinist jobs, make sure to compare salaries inside the state of Massachusetts and beyond to see where your career might be the most profitable.
No matter what you decide, it's important to understand that a career as a machinist could be rewarding, both financially and professionally. Learning how to work with your hands has its own benefits, and you could work your way up the ranks of any company with the right training. Fortunately, machinist schools in Massachusetts can prepare you for the challenge, both by teaching you the basics of this career and also by helping you earn the degree and certifications you need. If you're on the fence about pursuing a career in this field, get started by learning more about these programs and exploring the many opportunities that are available.
- Long-Term Occupational Projections, Projections Central, http://projectionscentral.com/Projections/LongTerm
- Machinists, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Employment and Wages, May 2013, http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes514041.htm
- Machinists, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2014-15 Edition, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/production/machinists-and-tool-and-die-makers.htm#tab-4
- Massachusetts, Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2013 Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates, http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_ma.htm#51-0000
- Economic Growth and the Early Industrial Revolution, U.S. History, http://www.ushistory.org/us/22a.asp
- Machinist, Labor and Workforce Development, http://www.mass.gov/lwd/labor-standards/das/apprenticeship-program/apprenticeable-occupations/gunsmith-to-pile-driver/machinist.html