1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.
  2. PLEASE: Read the FORUM RULES BEFORE registering!

    Dismiss Notice

How much do machinist make?

Discussion in 'GENERAL DISCUSSIONS' started by awaqa909, Mar 9, 2017.

  1. Kalos

    Kalos United States Swarf Registered Member

    Likes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    3
    City:
    Goleta
    State:
    California

    -Return to Top-

    There a wide range of pay scales, depending on many factors and on the definition of "machinist". Generally, toolmakers for military industries and unionized large manufacturers (what's left of them) make the most — approaching $100,000 including benefits – but then there are "machinists" who are basically just CNC button-pushers making $15/hr ($30,000).

    One strategy that helps a lot is to get official credentials, such as journeyman papers from industry/union/government apprenticeship programs. These are in decline, but still available in most states/provinces. They take about four years of work+study.
    The main alternative is NIMS credentialing, which are "performance based" exams and test pieces. See https://www.nims-skills.org/web/nims/6
     
    Rustrp likes this.
  2. Rustrp

    Rustrp United States Active Member Active Member

    Likes Received:
    76
    Trophy Points:
    28
    City:
    Sacramento
    State:
    California

    -Return to Top-

    First, I would like to say thanks for putting it out there, it means you're thinking about it. When you ask about salary, are you asking about a machinist or machine operator? This question is something to think about when addressing salary because it's relative. Knowledge, your education is something that can't be taken away, so go for it, but don't go for it simply because of the $$$$ you see. My "Life is Good" coffee cup reads; "Do what you love, Love what you do. I've been pushed by quite a few close friends and acquaintances to become an engineer. It's not that I have any doubts about abilities to do so, I just know that pen, pencil, computer and a desk would not have been my thing or a source of happiness for the last 40 years. Well, a desk right now would feel pretty good because some days in the shop remind me I'm not 40 anymore. Every person is blessed with a gift and for some it falls more into the **passion** category. If you go to your place of employment (I prefer to not call it work) and are unhappy, then it's not where you're suppose to be. Granted, management can make life miserable, but that's a different horse.

    Unfortunately for those entering the workforce today, the prospects of working for one company and retiring after 30 yrs is highly unlikely. After you decide this is what you want to do, or you're pretty sure, look at your options. Imagine walking up to a lathe, milling machine or maching center, then look to see how many paths lead away from where you stand. At some point you may walk all the paths because in todays market you must be diverse.
     
    4gsr, 7milesup and mikey like this.
  3. ACS_Super

    ACS_Super United States Iron Registered Member

    Likes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    3
    City:
    Lansdale
    State:
    Pennsylvania

    -Return to Top-

    Pay is going to be dependent on location, and industry. I have been working in Pharmaceutical packaging for almost 20 years. I went through an apprenticeship program (Welding, Industrial Electricity, Machine Shop, and Mechanical). Without revealing my exact income, I'm married and have 4 children. I make enough money that my wife is a stay at home mom. There is money to be made as skilled labor. The task is yours to find that money once you have acquired the skills.
     
  4. awaqa909

    awaqa909 United States Iron Registered Member

    Likes Received:
    4
    Trophy Points:
    3
    City:
    Hutto
    State:
    Texas

    -Return to Top-

    You have 2 lathes and 2 mills in your garage? How big is your garage? Are they cnc lathes? When ever I get good enough I was wanting to get a mill to try and make some parts for my rc cars. Maybe even make a little bit of side cash out of it.
     
  5. bobshobby

    bobshobby Australia H-M Supporter - Premium Content H-M Supporter-Premium

    Likes Received:
    125
    Trophy Points:
    43
    City:
    Adelaide, South Australia.
    State:
    Outside US / Canada

    -Return to Top-

    How much does a machinist make, is a very broad question. It depends on many factors. Some of them are:- 1. what class of machinist, 2. what industry, 3. location, 4. how good are you at it.
    A more important question is what do you want to do, what makes you happy. how hard are you prepared to work to get the qualifications you need. Do you have the basic education required for further education in the field you require.

    I come from a land down under, and our system, while similar to yours does have some subtle differences. The first rule is to do what makes you happy. If you are going to make a career out of it you must enjoy it. At the end of the day job satisfaction is more important than pay scale, but you can have both.

    I can honestly say I have loved every job I've ever had, but I've been lucky, I was often at the right place at the right time. When i left high school I din't have very good grades, (my fault entirely). I was lucky I managed to get a job as an apprentice fitter and turner 5 year contract, didn't like it much at first, but by the beginning of the second year I was getting hooked on the fascination of what can be made, I started paying attention, and suddenly realised I liked my job, it still didn't pay much, but what the heck I was enjoying it, having fun learning.

    My bosses notice my new enthusiasm and started giving me more interesting and challenging work. Long story short, by the time I finished my apprenticeship the company had sponsored me for the extra year of training to become a toolmaker. over the next couple of years I tried my hand at a few different things always adding experience to my skills set.

    A couple of years later looking for adventure I signed onto a ship as a general engine room hand. It didn't take long for them to discover that I was a competent machinist and welder. before long the company was offering to send me to school to become a marine engineer. I accepted and the rest is history.

    That is the ultimate job. degree in marine engineering, lathes milling machines and welding equipment to play with. Incredible challenges when things go wrong. When a ship breaks down at sea, you can't call roadside assistance, or go to store and pick up a new part. You, the engineers on board, have to fix it. Weld it, machine a new part, whatever it takes, you have to fix it. Naturally this job pays very well. And has immense job satisfaction.
     
    Rustrp, mikey and JimDawson like this.
  6. lowlife

    lowlife United States Active Member Active Member

    Likes Received:
    45
    Trophy Points:
    28
    City:
    Rochester
    State:
    Minnesota

    -Return to Top-

    I really cant add to the fantastic advise given here. All i can add is my own take from 50+ years. It not how much you make but how much you keep and how you spend it. That being said my grandmother told me never wait till you are too old to enjoy the money you made, enjoy it when you are young and can make memories. Just keep enough for your old age. Now my take on life? Money will not buy happiness.......but neither will poverty. Find a middle ground between work and life because I have never heard anyone say on their deathbed that they wished they made more money.
     
  7. bfd

    bfd United States H-M Supporter - Premium Content H-M Supporter-Premium

    Likes Received:
    107
    Trophy Points:
    43
    City:
    nipomo
    State:
    California

    -Return to Top-

    when I retired from the nuclear power plant I was making $50 plus an hour as a maint machinist. bill
     
  8. ddickey

    ddickey United States H-M Supporter - Premium Content H-M Supporter-Premium

    Likes Received:
    152
    Trophy Points:
    43
    City:
    Red Wing
    State:
    Minnesota

    -Return to Top-

    :pickaxe:Starvation wage.
    What plant, SONGS?
     
  9. rrjohnso2000

    rrjohnso2000 United States H-M Supporter - Premium Content H-M Supporter-Premium

    Likes Received:
    64
    Trophy Points:
    28
    City:
    West Lafayette
    State:
    Indiana

    -Return to Top-

    My favorite place to find salaries by location is Glassdoor.com

    These type of sites are very useful and reliable. The information is real, remember to look at the range and average.

    If you are looking to pick a new career you can really see what a lot of things are valued at. Best of luck

    https://www.glassdoor.com/Salaries/machinist-salary-SRCH_KO0,9.htm
     
  10. seanb

    seanb United States Active Member Active Member

    Likes Received:
    11
    Trophy Points:
    8
    City:
    st. louis
    State:
    Missouri

    -Return to Top-

    Let me take a different view. You have a job to make money. Your work is not your life and if you think your job will take care of you if something happens to you, You are going to be disappointed.

    Not everyone is going to be lucky enough to get a dream job making a ton of money. Decide what is going to be important to you and go from there.
     
    RandyM and BGHansen like this.
  11. bfd

    bfd United States H-M Supporter - Premium Content H-M Supporter-Premium

    Likes Received:
    107
    Trophy Points:
    43
    City:
    nipomo
    State:
    California

    -Return to Top-

    no although I did work for southern California Edison and machined parts for songs but then went to work for pacific gas and electric at diablo canyon. bill
     
  12. ddickey

    ddickey United States H-M Supporter - Premium Content H-M Supporter-Premium

    Likes Received:
    152
    Trophy Points:
    43
    City:
    Red Wing
    State:
    Minnesota

    -Return to Top-

    Oh okay. I had a supervisor that left and went to Diablo Canyon.
     
  13. firestopper

    firestopper H-M Supporter - Premium Content H-M Supporter-Premium

    Likes Received:
    1,215
    Trophy Points:
    93
    City:
    Tucson
    State:
    Arizona

    -Return to Top-

    Damn good advice all around. After graduating H.S. early, I enlisted in the US Navy as a Hull Maintenance Technician. I had taken any and all industrial arts classes offered from JR high-HS, so I had a pretty good idea what I was cut out for in life. Prior to any shop classes, I was fixing (or trying) things and always learning. It comes down to ambition and not being afraid to try. Although I felt like a slave in the Navy, the exposure to classes, courses and machines coupled with long hours of work gave me an advantage. After separating from that branch, I enlisted in the USAF, took a bust in rank (gave up money) for a career change and learned aircraft fuel systems but always welded on the side. My friends and family consider me a "workaholic" but I'm still learning new things. Fast forward, my body has been though a lot, but I'm fairly self reliant and fit. I can correctly fix most of what I own. I'm 4 years away from a hansom pension and still work for myself after hours. Early on, I didn't have time to ponder my happiness as I kept busy working and learning becoming an asset to someone along the way. I think someone mentioned "its not how much you make, its how much you keep", I try to live by this rule. The years of knowledge should pay off during your life's journy. I have a lot more to learn god willing, but have been mostly happy over the years. Happiness is very important as is surrounding yourself with good people.

    My point is to keep learning even if it means loosing some income along the way, as you move on you'll become more valuable to someone and make more money as you progress in life. That said, I've always been blessed with side work of all sorts. I don't invest my time in sports or long hours watching TV, theres too much to learn.
    Last bit and most important, invest in your health.
    I'm sorry I didn't answer your question directly, but I hope you can find a little piece of the puzzle in what you read. It echoes other postings for the most part.
    Knowledge is power.
     
    bss1 and RandyM like this.
  14. scwhite

    scwhite United States Active Member Active Member

    Likes Received:
    10
    Trophy Points:
    8
    City:
    Shreveport
    State:
    Louisiana

    -Return to Top-

    I started out as a welder in VoTec at 16 years old
    I welded ship yards at 17 years old and until I reached 19 years old . Welding
    My Daddy was a aircraft Mechanic , I was welding in a big fabrication shop inside some big tanks it was killing me . I could tell .
    I would come home my lungs was slap full of black smoke from breathing all that welding smoke.
    One day at lunch I was talking to a old man
    That looked to me at the time to be 70 years old -
    He was not but 50 years old . He told me if I could
    Go back to VoTec and learn the Machinist trade
    That I should do it .
    I had no idea what a Machinist was I asked him to show me . We went to the machine shop and he kinda pointed out some of the things that I would be doing .
    I went home and talked to my Daddy about it
    And my Daddy got very exited and started right away encouraging me. To do it .
    Daddy always told me that a
    Rolling Stone Gathers No Moss
    So I quit that welding job went home and signed up
    For VoTec and took the Machine Shop Training
    Coarse. The rest is History .
    I am retired now at 62 years old and never regretted one minute of my Decision .
    I have made a good living .
    I did not get Rich but I planted my roots
    Tight and gathered lots of moss
     
    firestopper and mikey like this.
  15. scwhite

    scwhite United States Active Member Active Member

    Likes Received:
    10
    Trophy Points:
    8
    City:
    Shreveport
    State:
    Louisiana

    -Return to Top-

    Oh and by the way you will never learn all of this trade there is just to much to learn
    I am still learning in this trade
     
  16. ddickey

    ddickey United States H-M Supporter - Premium Content H-M Supporter-Premium

    Likes Received:
    152
    Trophy Points:
    43
    City:
    Red Wing
    State:
    Minnesota

    -Return to Top-

    I had to take a machining class as a requirement for my chosen degree at tech school. I immediately fell in love with what I was learning and operating the equipment, making parts, precision measurements, etc. At this time I would be making half of what I make now but I'd like to believe I wouldn't be miserable in my job like I am now. Follow you gut feeling.
     
    mikey likes this.
  17. Sitting on Blocks Racing

    Sitting on Blocks Racing United States Active Member Active Member

    Likes Received:
    70
    Trophy Points:
    18
    City:
    Yates City
    State:
    Illinois

    -Return to Top-

    You never know how your life will end up. My dad never went to college, started in the mail room of a Grocers Company...ended up being head of their IT department through his own effort to learn (he was in the middle of the computer generation) and move up. We were never rich growing up but I never remember "going without"....you earned and saved up for what you wanted.

    He insisted his kids go to college. Both my brother and I went to Engineering School since we were always mechanical. I started as a low level engineer and now Manage a Engineering Delivery Center, my brother runs a Suspension group at GM. The only engineering I do now in in my home shop, work is on the people side and finance. And Finance is a whole another world from what I went to school for...but you either step up, stick your neck out or get passed by. Doing what you like should be the main focus. Most days I can't stand my job, but I like those who I work with and trying to push new engineering efforts. It pays the bills, my wife was able to stay at home and raise the kids (important to me) and my kids have what they need (a little more spoiled than I had it 8) ). They also save and earn what they want. If they want something they know to come to me with the cash, they don't always pay all but they know they will pay some.

    Now I have a 16 yr old that needs to start thinking about a future. I have lots of friends in the trades and alot in "college" jobs. Either path, the common ground seems to be do something you enjoy. So that's probably how I'll help my son decide his path, whichever way he chooses he'll have to put in the effort to get where he wants to go
     
    JimDawson and mikey like this.
  18. 97r82

    97r82 United States Active Member Active Member

    Likes Received:
    4
    Trophy Points:
    8
    City:
    tuttle
    State:
    Oklahoma

    -Return to Top-

    The best way to become more valuable to your current employer. Show some initiative in your position now. Be the guy they want to train. I spent over a decade bouncing between job shops (oilfield repair shops to begin with straight out of vo tech) Learned a lot from every guy I worked with and some bad habits to boot. I always wanted to know anything I could about the whole operation.
    Later I owned my own construction business for a couple years and finally landed at a production plant as a maintenance machinist/mechanic. I wanted stability to raise my family and did not want to try to make a quota of parts every day any longer. I found i enjoy one off prototype work the most. Still do some to improve the machinery and process I work on now but not enough. That turned out to be much more satisfying for me.
    Start saving money in a IRA or 401k now. At least put in enough at work to get their match if they offer. Use Vanguard or Scottrade to invest on your own as soon as possible. Be smart don't saddle yourself with debt trying to impress anyone (especially a woman). That just makes you miserable and limits your job changes.
    I changed jobs frequently early on mostly due to the fact they were not challenging me any longer or were not keeping up with the pay raises as they should have. Been working at this place for 25 years now so I guess this is permanent. Retirement is a few years out and no regrets really for any of the jobs I had. I have worked with a lot of really unhappy guys and gals in the past. You will become discouraged at first but will figure out what you are good at and happy doing. Enjoy life it really is possible.
     
  19. markba633csi

    markba633csi United States Active Member Active Member

    Likes Received:
    149
    Trophy Points:
    43
    City:
    Mountain View
    State:
    California

    -Return to Top-

    Read a lot and develop a wide vocabulary. Be safe. Make fun of other people. (just kidding)
    Mark S.
     
  20. EmilioG

    EmilioG United States Active User H-M Supporter-Premium

    Likes Received:
    120
    Trophy Points:
    43
    City:
    HUNTINGTON
    State:
    New York

    -Return to Top-

    I think the only way to make a lot of money as a machinist is to specialize. I see that such a great skill doesn't pay what it should.
    IMHO, machinists should be making at least $25/hr. starting pay and go up from there if your talented.

    I see too many US jobs getting outsourced and/or H1b visa imports at half the pay. Automation is killing the machinist trade, cnc to robottics. I would tell a young person today to study math, programming and engineering. I hope all the "hand work" trades never disappear. There is nothing like something crafted by your own two hands
    and intellect. Unfortunately, it looks like like progress will make this a quaint pastime for most.
     
    mikey likes this.
  21. 97r82

    97r82 United States Active Member Active Member

    Likes Received:
    4
    Trophy Points:
    8
    City:
    tuttle
    State:
    Oklahoma

    -Return to Top-

    I agree somewhat. Manual machiniats are a dinasour but there will always be a need for our skill. I feel like the home shop machinist will also keep the trade alive in some capacity. Change is inevitable. The old farmers with a team of horses said the same about progress and automation but farmers are still growing food. Do I like it? No but all I can do is keep on making a living and hopefully transfer some knowledge to my nephews and others. Still learning how to run a machine myself. My home shop will keep me busy in the later years unless health becomes a issue.

    Sent from my SAMSUNG-SM-G870A using Tapatalk
     
  22. EmilioG

    EmilioG United States Active User H-M Supporter-Premium

    Likes Received:
    120
    Trophy Points:
    43
    City:
    HUNTINGTON
    State:
    New York

    -Return to Top-

    Yes and I did say that progress is inevitable. That's how life works on this planet. My lament concerns that hand trades and skills.
    Many are not being taught or passed down. I'm somewhat of a machinist, mostly hobby and some work applications, but I love machining and all
    hand skills. Computers produce some marvelous work, in all fields. But there is nothing like the "warmth" and soul of a hand made piece of work.
    It also has more value. Manual skills are an art form in many ways. It's just sad to watch it all disappear and no interest from this new generation.
    (generally speaking). (sign of age, "these kids today...). ;)
     
    mikey likes this.
  23. 97r82

    97r82 United States Active Member Active Member

    Likes Received:
    4
    Trophy Points:
    8
    City:
    tuttle
    State:
    Oklahoma

    -Return to Top-

    I know. Building my little home shop will hopefully spark my nephews interest. My neighbors son is also taking interest. I have a good friend who runs a small shop. His 32 year old son is taking it over which gives me hope. They have a mix of cnc and manual machines. Some hope in site.

    Sent from my SAMSUNG-SM-G870A using Tapatalk
     

Share This Page