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​Machine Tool Technology/Machinist

CIP Code 48.0501

Machinists use machine tools, such as lathes, milling machines, and machining centers, to produce precision metal parts. Although they may produce large quantities of one part, precision machinists often produce small batches or unique items. They use their knowledge of the working properties of metals and their skill with machine tools to plan and carry out the operations needed to make machined products that meet precise specifications.

Some machinists, often called production machinists, may produce large quantities of one part, especially parts requiring the use of complex operations and great precision. Frequently, machinists work with computer control programmers to determine the manner in which the automated equipment will cut.

Because the technology of machining is changing rapidly, machinists must learn to operate a wide range of machines. Some newer machines use lasers, water jets, or electrified wires to cut the product. While some of the computer controls are similar to other machine tools, machinists must understand the unique cutting properties of these different machines. As engineers create new types of machine tools and new materials to machine, machinists must constantly learn new machining properties and techniques.

Many machinists work a 40 hour week. Evening and weekend shifts are becoming more common as companies extend hours of operation to make better use of expensive machines.

In high school, students should take math courses, especially trigonometry, and, if available, courses in blueprint reading, metalworking, and drafting. Formal apprenticeship programs, typically sponsored by a union or manufacturer, are an excellent way to learn the job of machinist. Apprentices usually must have a high school diploma, GED, or the equivalent, and most have taken algebra and trigonometry classes. Apprenticeship programs consist of paid shop training and related classroom instruction. In shop training, apprentices may work full time and are supervised by an experienced machinist while learning to operate various machine tools. Classroom instruction includes math, physics, materials science, blueprint reading, mechanical drawing, and quality and safety practices. Apprenticeship classes are often taught in cooperation with local community colleges or vocational technical schools. Many entrants previously have worked as machine setters, operators, or tenders.

To boost the skill level of machinists and to create a more uniform standard of competency, a number of training facilities, state apprenticeship boards, and colleges are implementing curricula that incorporate national skills standards developed by the National Institute of Metalworking Skills (NIMS). After completing such a curriculum and passing practical and written exams, trainees are granted a certificate, recognized as a NIMS credential. Completing a recognized certification program provides a machinist with better career opportunities and helps employers to better judge the abilities of new hires. Journeyman certification can be obtained from state apprenticeship boards after completing an apprenticeship.

Version C: Graduation Years 2016, 2017, 2018

Version D: Graduation Years 2019, 2020, 2021

Approved Secondary School Partners

Beaver County CTCMonaca2010-2011
Berks CTC - West CampusLeesport2010-2011
Bethlehem AVTSBethlehem2012-2013
Bradford Area HSBradford2010-2011
Bucks County Technical High SchoolFairless Hills2010-2011
Butler County AVTSButler2010-2011
Carbon Career & Technical InstituteJim Thorpe2011-2012
Career Institute of TechnologyEaston2009-2010
Central Westmoreland CTCNew Stanton2010-2011
Chester Co Technical College HS - PickeringPhoenixville2018-2019
Clearfield County CTCClearfield2015-2016
Columbia-Montour AVTSBloomsburg2011-2012
Corry Area HSCorry2011-2012
Crawford County CTCMeadville2011-2012
Cumberland-Perry AVTSMechanicsburg2010-2011
Dauphin County Technical SchoolHarrisburg2011-2012
Eastern Westmoreland CTCLatrobe2013-2014
Erie City SD - Erie HSErie2017-2018
Erie County Technical SchoolErie2010-2011
Fayette County AVTSUniontown2010-2011
Forbes Road CTCMonroeville2009-2010
Franklin Benjamin HSPhiladelphia2015-2016
Franklin County CTCChambersburg2011-2012
Greater Altoona CTCAltoona2010-2011
Greater Johnstown CTCJohnstown2010-2011
Greene County CTCWaynesburg2010-2011
Hazleton Area Career CenterHazleton2012-2013
Huntingdon County CTCMill Creek2013-2014
Indiana County Technology CenterIndiana2010-2011
Jefferson County-Dubois AVTSReynoldsville2011-2012
Keystone Central CTCMill Hall2011-2012
Lawrence County CTCNew Castle2011-2012
Lebanon County CTCLebanon2010-2011
Lehigh Career & Technical InstituteSchnecksville2010-2011
Lenape TechFord City2010-2011
Mifflin Co Academy of Science & TechLewistown2014-2015
Mifflin-Juniata CTCLewistown2011-2012
Monroe Career & Technical InstituteBartonsville2011-2012
North Montco Technical Career CenterLansdale2009-2010
Northern Tier Career CenterTowanda2010-2011
Northern Westmoreland CTCNew Kensington2011-2012
Pittsburgh Brashear HSPittsburgh2012-2013
Pittsburgh Langley HSPittsburgh2010-2011
Reading-Muhlenberg CTCReading2009-2010
Saint Marys Area SHSSaint Marys2019-2020
Schuylkill Technology Centers - SouthMar Lin2010-2011
Somerset County Technology CenterSomerset2011-2012
SUN Area Technical InstituteNew Berlin2009-2010
Upper Bucks County AVTSPerkasie2011-2012
Venango Technology CenterOil City2010-2011
Warren County AVTSWarren2010-2011
West Side CTCKingston2011-2012
Western Area CTCCanonsburg2010-2011
Wilkes-Barre CTCWilkes-Barre2011-2012
Williamsport Area SHSWilliamsport2014-2015
York County School of TechnologyYork2011-2012