Machinists are skilled artisans at the heart of the manufacturing process. They’re the ones who make parts out of metal or – just as important – who make the tools to make the parts.
They also help with the maintenance of the machines. Like in other skilled trades, most machinists start out as apprentices before taking on the higher responsibilities and pay of journeymen.
Machinists work with blueprints, then set up and operate machine tools to create precision metal parts and parts.
Some machinists create unique metal parts, while others create metal parts for mass production. Machining apprentices learn their skills through union or manufacturer sponsorships.
Where do machinists work?
Machinists typically work in product manufacturing plants. Because this environment can present potential work hazards such as flying debris and loud noises, machinists must wear protective equipment such as earplugs, masks, and goggles.
It is common for machinists to work overtime and have schedules and shifts outside of normal business hours.
How much does a machinist earn?
The average salary for a Machinist I in the United States is $46,211 (as of May 27, 2022), but the range is typically between $41,094 and $53,256.
Salary ranges can vary widely and depend on many important factors; including education, certifications, additional skills, and the number of years you have spent in your job.
What is the national average pay of a machinist?
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), as of May 2019, machinists earned an average salary of $46,120 per year or $22.16 per hour.
The median salary for machinists was $44,420 per year or $21.36 per hour. In other words, half of all machinists earned less than the prevailing median wage, and half earned more.
For comparison, the median annual salary of the national workforce was $39,810.
The lowest 25 percent of machinists reported an annual income of $34,820 or less. The top 25 percent of machinists reported an annual income of $55,910 or more.
According to Career Outlook, a BLS publication, those who complete an apprenticeship as machinists probably earn half the salary of a machinist.
What is a Machinist salary by industry?
The journeyman’s certificate plays a role in the machinist’s wages, but so does the job. The majority of machinists work in small machine shops, where the average annual wage is $44,200, according to the BLS.
Engineering companies are the second-largest employer, paying an average wage of $46,210 per year. Manufacturers of metalworking machines are the third-largest employer. They pay an average of $45,230 per year.
Natural gas distribution companies hire few machinists but pay them an industry-leading $94,180. The scheduled airline industry is another low-volume, high-wage employer averaging $87,420 per year.
The local government, excluding schools and hospitals, paid the few machinists on their payroll an average salary of $82,790. Electricity companies paid an average of $77,970 nationwide.
What is a Machinist’s salary by location?
Remote areas with a high cost of living or above-average demand for machinists offer above-average wages. Hawaii’s machinists led the nation with median annual earnings of $66,550 in the BLS survey.
In second place was the District of Columbia, where machinists earned an average salary of $62,480 per year. Alaskan machinists earned an average of $58,740. BLS also ranked Maryland and Delaware among the highest-paying states.
Job Growth Outlook
Job opportunities for machinists in the United States are not expected to increase significantly. The Bureau of Labor Statistics forecasts job growth of just 3 percent between 2018 and 2028, slower than the job market as a whole.
This is partly due to manufacturers moving production abroad and partly to the increased use of computerization and mechanization, reducing the need for traditional journeyman craftsmen.
However, the shift to more sophisticated machinery could also create opportunities for a new generation of technically savvy, formally trained machinists capable of operating these high-tech devices.
A Machinist can receive salaries ranging between $29,240 and $69,050 depending on tenure and industry expertise.
If you’re unsure about what salary is appropriate for a machinist, visit Indeed’s Salary Calculator to get a free, personalized pay range based on your location, industry, and experience.
With the limited barrier of entry, high starting salary, and positive job outlook, a career as a machinist is a great opportunity for anyone willing to put in the time and effort.
Machinists need specific hard skills to thrive in their roles.