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machinist Jobs

all about machinist jobs

If you are interested in learning one of the skilled trades, you might consider becoming a machinist. As a machinist, you need to be mechanically inclined, as you’ll be working with power machines, materials, and specialized measuring equipment.

You follow a set of blueprints or plans to cut or shape materials to precise sizes, producing parts that fit with other materials or machines. You could produce bolts, tools, pistons or cylinders for aircraft engines or other machines, all requiring precision measurements. You’ll need a good eye for detail and be comfortable working with numbers, computerized equipment, and materials such as metal, wood or plastic.


what machinist jobs entail

As a machinist you will likely work fulltime (40 hours per week) though it's possible to work part-time. You could work regular daytime hours or on a rotating shift. Manufacturing businesses often schedule shifts in the evenings or on weekends to ensure that expensive equipment is operating as many hours as possible. It's not uncommon for some jobs to schedule


average machinist salaries

Qualified machinist salaries are in the range of $19 to $36 per hour (around a $75,000 annual salary, at the top level), depending on your experience, skills and location. As an apprentice, you’ll start at a wage lower than a qualified machinist, but your pay will increase as you develop competency, skills and knowledge.

You can strive for the highest wages by becoming certified and learning advanced skills, such as programming computers for computerized numeric control (CNC) machines.


your day to day tasks

Machinist jobs vary depending on the type of role you take. You may perform maintenance and repairs. Or you may be a production machinist producing a large volume of machine parts. Some common tasks include:

  • making, fitting and assembling parts according to blueprints or drawings
  • setting up and adjusting machines
  • operating power equipment such as saws, lathes, milling machines, metal cutters, drills and grinders
  • using hand tools such as hammers, pliers, and files
  • using specialized equipment such as scales, calipers, depth gauges and dial test indicators
  • verifying the accuracy of dimensions and reporting deviations
  • troubleshooting and solving problems
  • performing preventative maintenance

where you can work

Machinists can work wherever there is manufacturing across Canada. Manufacturers of vehicles, auto parts, machinery, equipment, aircraft and steel producers all need qualified machinists.

Mid-size Ontario cities such as Kitchener, Cambridge, Waterloo, London, St. Catharines and Windsor are experiencing growth in the manufacturing sector, with Montréal and Québec City also expecting gains. Opportunities also exist in western Canada.

In the last few years, the demand for CNC machinists, in particular, has grown. CNC machinists are trained to write code for computerized numeric control machines.


what you bring to the table

As a machinist, you’ll be expected to work independently and produce highly accurate work. Some skills you will call upon include:

  • ability to read and interpret blueprints, specifications, and measurements
  • ability to do mathematical calculations
  • mechanical inclination and problem-solving ability
  • ability to do physical work and stand for long periods
  • manual dexterity and desire to work with your hands
  • acute attention to detail and accuracy
  • computer skills to program automated equipment

training and certifications

If you are thinking about becoming a machinist, you’ll need a high school education. You should concentrate on courses in math. If your school offers them, you should also take courses in blueprint reading, metalworking, and drafting. Some community or technical colleges now offer 1 or 2-year certificate courses as pre-apprenticeship programs.

To become a fully qualified machinist, you must complete an apprenticeship program. You will earn as you learn because your apprenticeship will include a combination of work experience and college or industry courses. Once you have successfully completed your exams and hours of employment, you’ll become a machinist journeyperson.


where your career is headed

Advances in computer technology have improved the precision and efficiency of a machinist job. If you do not already write computer code in your job as a machinist, you should consider learning this skill to qualify as a CNC machinist.

It’s also a good idea to know how to operate a wide variety of machines. You might attain new skills and knowledge throughout your career from equipment manufacturers, on the job, or by attending upgrade courses at a technical school.

With every advance in your knowledge and skills, you will become more valuable to employers and may eventually consider becoming a tooling inspector, a supervisor or a teacher of apprentice machinists.

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