Machine Tool

“If I make a part that can help save someone’s life, that’s a good thing.” —Dan Eason, Wells Technology

What do machinists or machine-tool specialists do?

Make parts turn out how they should, cutting away materials from a block or sheet or an existing part. Might make parts for diverse products, from computers to medical devices.

Use computer software and technology, like writing the program to tell the machine how to cut parts. Use tools like lathes, gauges and calipers, as well as emerging technologies such as Swiss machining and 3D printing.


Upsides & Downsides: Facts you should know

People in Workforce

High demand

Companies are seeking trained machinists.


A good living

Machinists in Minnesota make a mean salary of $46,120 a year.

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Strong placement

96% of machine tool students are hired within 6 months of graduation.

Graduation Cap

A growing field

380 students graduate each year from machine tool programs in Minnesota.

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Repetitive tasks

You might be assigned to work on the same product and machine over multiple days.


Pressure to perform

You’ll need to meet deadlines to achieve productivity goals.

  • Machine operator
  • CNC programmer
  • CNC toolmaker
  • CNC operations technician
  • Tool & die maker
  • Moldmaker

Under 1 year, 1 year, 2 years

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Research and information taken from Career OneStop, Career Manufacturing, CAREERWise Education (formerly iSeek), Minnesota Department of Employment & Economic, Minnesota State Colleges & Universities Workforce Assessment Initiative, National Association of Manufacturers, O*NET, The Manufacturing Institute, U.S. Department of Labor and Wanted Analytics. Information is subject to change without notice.

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Midwest Manufacturers' AssociationMinnesota Department of Employment and Economic DevelopmentWest Central Initiative