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February 16, 2011
Our machine shop has grown to 11 guys, and that doesn’t include the precision mastering guys which totals another 4 guys. They have lost a couple due to normal attrition, and have hired 2 interns (transferred from other departments). All of them are on massive overtime – 12 hour days – because of demand. They are constantly on the lookout for experienced machinists.
With the OT, most of them are making more than I do. For reference, I am the senior designer, and I handle all the major optical designs that are how we make our money here. I’d say that puts them squarely in the middle class range for this area. Not middle management salaries, but damn close to it.
April 5, 2016
August 23, 2015
I have watched these TV shows telling us that a college degree is no longer necessary. Try getting any job without one!
I was looking at getting back into draughting but have been told that $15-20/hr(in the South) is the best you can hope for.
Things have changed. When I lived overseas(Africa) draughtsmen(and machinists) and made extremely good money, especially contractors.
When I arrived here I took a job paying $8/hr. I went on an AutoCAD class and was told by the instructor that they hired schoolboys.
Machinists here in the South do not seem to be much better off – $15/hr is a pretty good rate I am told. I think unions pay better but are hard to find.
It is funny how people earning 6 figure salaries like to tell you ‘the money is not important.’
October 12, 2012
I would have to say from my experience that if you are a good machinist you can still experience a good middle class lifestyle as long as you are willing to keep learning. If you can run manual machines, program, set up, and operate cnc machines, then you are going to be more valuable to a company than if you have just ran one machine for 30 years at one shop. I was fortunate enough to work for several different machine shops early in my career and was able to run many different types of machines. Due to the economy of the early eighties when I first started machining, I had to move around. I finally realized that job shops had a broader customer base, you could learn more due to the many different parts that came through. Many call themselves machinists but are not true journeymen. I have never had trouble finding a job making a good hourly rate. It is different region to region though.In today’s economy you have to be willing to relocate. Plenty of jobs down here in Houston.
February 16, 2011
Good machinists. As in toolmakers. Not some dweeb that happens to know mastercam and can run a CNC.
Somebody with 10-12 years experience can quite easily make 40-60k a year, if they're good. That means well rounded, can read a print, can determine fits and finishes, will operate a mill or a lathe or a grinder and do them all equally well.
I work intimately with 10 guys in a precision shop. The minimum experienced one is 8 years, and he's pretty damn good. The oldest guys have 30 plus, and I'm betting they make more than me. They are the guys I turn to for guidance and advice. It's how I developed my machinist skills so quickly.
January 4, 2009
This video says there’s a growing shortage of machinists and that “starting pay is as high as $30 an hour.” An instructor in a local high school vocational program for machinists told me their graduates are almost guaranteed a job. But experienced machinists and tool & die makers have told me that many of the jobs suck because companies don’t want to pay very much ($15-20 an hour) and skimp on benefits. BTW, I live in a city that still very high-tech even though many of its largest manufacturers have been struggling for a long time (Kodak, Xerox, Bausch & Lomb).
So what’s the truth? Can most machinists make a good middle-class living or not?
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