Do Machinists Make Good Money? Exploring Salary Expectations in the Industry

Do machinists make good money? That’s a question that’s been on the minds of many people. Let’s face it, the world of manufacturing has seen its ups and downs but machinists are still in high demand. But beyond that, how much can a machinist really earn? The answer may surprise you.

Machinists are in a unique position as they are highly skilled professionals that offer a variety of services to the manufacturing industry. They are responsible for operating and maintaining equipment that produces a wide range of products, from machine tools to airplane parts. Because of the complexity of their work and the high level of skill required, machinists are paid well in their profession.

But it’s not just the technical nature of the work that makes machinists financially successful. Machinists are also in high demand and often work overtime or take on extra jobs to earn additional income. In fact, many machinists can earn up to six figures annually, making it a potentially lucrative career choice. So, the answer to the question of whether machinists make good money is a resounding yes.

Average Salary of Machinists

When it comes to the salary of machinists, there are a number of different factors that can come into play. These can range from the machinist’s level of experience and education, to the industry they work in and the specific location of their job. According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual salary for machinists in 2020 was $45,750, which breaks down to an average hourly wage of $22.00.

  • The lowest 10 percent of machinists earned less than $31,860 annually, or $15.33 per hour.
  • The highest 10 percent of machinists earned more than $65,280 annually, or $31.40 per hour.
  • The top-paying industry for machinists was aerospace product and parts manufacturing, with an average annual salary of $60,580.

It’s important to note that these are just averages and there can be a significant range when it comes to the salaries of machinists. In addition to pay, many machinists also receive benefits such as health insurance, retirement plans, and paid time off. Some companies may also offer bonuses or profit-sharing plans, which can further increase a machinist’s overall compensation package.

Factors that Affect Machinist Salary

As a machinist, your pay will depend on several factors that come into play. These factors determine how much you can earn per hour or year. It is essential to understand these factors to make informed career choices and maximize your earning potential. Here are some of the major factors that affect machinist salary:

  • Experience
  • Industry
  • Skills and Certifications
  • Education and Training
  • Location

Experience is one of the biggest factors that will determine how much you can earn as a machinist. The more experience you have, the more valuable you are to employers, which translates to higher pay. Entry-level machinists may earn lower than more experienced machinists, but with years of experience, they can climb the career ladder and earn significantly more.

The industry you work in can also play a significant role in your earning potential. Some industries pay higher than others, and the demand for machinists may vary by industry. For example, the aerospace and defense industry may pay higher wages than the automotive industry. The oil and gas industry may also pay higher salaries to machinists than other industries.

The skills and certifications you possess influence your earning potential as a machinist. The more skills you have, the more valuable you are to your employer, and that translates to higher pay. Machinists who possess certifications such as the National Institute for Metalworking Skills (NIMS) can earn more than those without certifications.

Education and training also play a crucial role in determining how much you can earn as a machinist. Machinists with advanced degrees or specialized training may earn more than those without such qualifications. For example, a machinist with a degree in mechanical engineering may earn more than a machinist without a degree.

Location is another critical factor in determining machinist salary. The cost of living varies by location, and so does the average salary of a machinist. In some areas, a machinist salary may be higher due to higher living expenses, and in other areas, the cost of living may be lower, and so may machinist pay.

To put things into perspective, below is a table showing the average hourly and annual wage of machinists in the United States:

State Average Hourly Wage Average Annual Wage
California $24.14 $50,220
Texas $18.85 $39,190
Ohio $20.25 $42,130
Michigan $20.52 $42,690
North Carolina $18.99 $39,490

It is important to note that these are averages and do not represent the entire range of salaries for machinists. Your experience, industry, skills, education, and location will determine your earning potential as a machinist.

Certifications and Skills for Higher Pay as a Machinist

Machinists are highly trained professionals who operate and maintain various types of machinery to create precision parts and tools. They work in a variety of industries, including aerospace, automotive, and manufacturing, performing tasks such as drilling, cutting, and shaping metals and other materials. With the right certifications and skills, machinists can increase their earning potential and advance their careers in this field.

Certifications for Higher Pay as a Machinist

  • NIMS – The National Institute of Metalworking Skills offers certifications that demonstrate proficiency in job-related tasks, such as CNC programming, milling, and turning. Employers often prefer candidates with NIMS certifications, which can lead to higher pay and more job opportunities.
  • Journeyman Card – A journeyman card is offered by the Department of Labor and signifies an individual has completed an apprenticeship program. This credential demonstrates advanced skills and knowledge, which is highly valued by employers.
  • AS9100 – This certification is specific to the aerospace industry, and it shows that a machinist has met the high standards required to produce parts that meet the rigorous specifications of the aerospace sector. This certification can lead to better job opportunities and higher pay.

Skills for Higher Pay as a Machinist

In addition to certifications, machinists can increase their earning potential by developing certain skills that are in high demand in the industry. Some of these skills include:

  • Computer-Aided Design (CAD) – CAD skills allow machinists to create digital models of parts before they are manufactured, which can save time and reduce errors.
  • CNC Programming – CNC machines are increasingly common in the industry, and machinists who can program and operate these machines are highly sought after.
  • Problem Solving – Machinists who can quickly diagnose problems with machinery and come up with solutions are valuable to employers and can earn higher salaries.

Certifications and Skills: A Winning Combination

While certifications and skills can each lead to higher pay as a machinist, having both is a winning combination. Employers are often willing to pay more for machinists who have both the knowledge and technical abilities to create precision parts and solve complex problems. By obtaining certifications and developing in-demand skills, machinists can advance their careers and increase their earning potential in this exciting field.

Certification Average Salary
NIMS $60,000
Journeyman Card $65,000
AS9100 $70,000

Certifications can lead to an increase in salary, as shown by the average salary for each respective certification. However, a machinist with a combination of certifications and in-demand skills can earn significantly more. By obtaining a NIMS certification, for example, and developing CNC programming and CAD skills, a machinist can earn upwards of $90,000 per year.

Types of industries that pay machinists well

With the constant advances in technology and manufacturing, machinists have become an integral part of various industries. They are highly skilled workers who use machine tools to create perfectly crafted metal parts used in virtually every industry.

While the pay for machinists can vary based on location, experience, and education, certain industries tend to compensate machinists better than others. Here are some high-paying industries:

  • Aerospace and defense – With the high precision, safety, and quality standards required in producing aircraft parts, machinists in the aerospace and defense industries are among the highest-paid. They work with materials like titanium and aluminum to produce complex parts for aircraft and defense-related equipment.
  • Medical and dental equipment manufacturing – Machinists in this industry produce specialized, high-precision parts for medical and dental laboratories and hospitals. The precision and quality requirements in this industry often result in higher compensation for machinists.
  • Oil and gas – Machinists in the oil and gas industry work on the production and refining of oil and natural gas, often working on drilling rigs or refineries. They produce parts for oil rig machinery, pipelines, and storage tanks, among others. Machinists in this industry can earn higher pay due to the often physically demanding nature of the work and the importance of keeping operations running efficiently.

Education and experience

While working in industries that pay well can increase a machinist’s earnings potential, education and experience are equally important. Formal education in machining and related fields like engineering can pave the way for lucrative roles in these high-paying industries.

In addition, the more experience a machinist has, the more valuable they become to an employer. Experienced machinists may specialize in certain areas, hold advanced certifications, or move up into management positions where they can oversee other machinists’ work.

Salary and table data

The average salary for a machinist in the United States is $47,816 per year, with some earning as much as $69,000 per year. The table below shows the top-paying industries for machinists based on salary data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

Industry Employment Mean hourly wage Mean annual salary
Aerospace product and parts manufacturing 39,220 $27.74 $57,670
Machinery manufacturing 38,550 $23.34 $48,540
Other general-purpose machinery manufacturing 7,520 $23.87 $49,660
Fabricated metal product manufacturing 129,680 $20.25 $42,090
Electronic instrument manufacturing 1,250 $20.15 $41,890

It’s worth noting that the employment numbers in the table above are for all occupations within that industry and not just machinists. However, it still provides a good idea of the industries where machinists can earn a higher salary.

Regional differences in machinist salaries

One of the factors that influence a machinist salary is geographic location. The cost of living varies from state to state, and as a result, so do salaries. Here are some of the regional differences in machinist salaries:

  • In the Northeast, machinist salaries tend to be higher than the national average. States like Connecticut, New Jersey, and Massachusetts offer some of the highest wages for machinists.
  • The Midwest also has a strong manufacturing industry, which leads to higher salaries for machinists in states like Indiana and Wisconsin.
  • In the South, machinist salaries are generally lower than the national average. States like Alabama and Mississippi offer lower wages for machinists.
  • The West Coast is known for its high cost of living, which translates to higher salaries for machinists. States like California and Washington offer some of the highest wages for machinists in the country.
  • In rural areas, salaries may be lower than in urban areas due to the lower demand for machinists and cost of living differences.

It’s important for machinists to research the average salaries in their region and negotiate for fair compensation based on their skills and experience.

Job growth and employment outlook for machinists

Machinists are highly skilled professionals who operate machinery to produce precision metal parts, tools, and components. They work in a variety of industries, including aerospace, automotive, construction, medical equipment, and more. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the employment of machinists is projected to decline slightly by 4% from 2019 to 2029.

While this may seem like a negative trend, there are still plenty of opportunities for machinists. The BLS reports that about 7,600 job openings are expected each year, due to retirement and turnover. Moreover, those with advanced skills in computer numerical control (CNC) and other automated systems will be in high demand, as companies look to streamline production and increase efficiency.

Factors affecting machinist job growth

  • Outsourcing: As more companies outsource manufacturing to overseas countries, the demand for machinists in the United States may decrease.
  • Technology: Advancements in automation, robotics, 3D printing, and other technologies may reduce the need for manual labor in the machining industry.
  • Industry changes: Machinists who adapt to changes in demand within their industry, such as shifts towards renewable energy or electric cars, may have better job prospects.

Entry-level machinist salary and job outlook

As with many professions, machinist salary and job outlook depend on factors such as experience, education, location, industry, and level of specialization. Entry-level machinists typically make between $30,000-$40,000 per year. However, as they gain more skills and experience, they can earn significantly more. The median annual wage for machinists in the United States was $44,420 in May 2020, according to the BLS.

Additionally, machinists who are certified by the National Institute for Metalworking Skills (NIMS) or other industry-recognized organizations may have better job prospects and earning potential.

Top-paying industries for machinists

Industry Annual mean wage (May 2020)
Navigational, measuring, electromedical, and control instruments manufacturing $57,470
Aerospace product and parts manufacturing $56,550
Machinery manufacturing $48,390
Motor vehicle parts manufacturing $46,880

While job growth for machinists may not be as strong as in other fields, skilled machinists with the right combination of experience, education, and specialization can still find lucrative opportunities. By staying up-to-date with industry advancements and adapting to changes, machinists can ensure that their career stays on track.

Comparison of Machinist Salaries to Other Skilled Trades

Machinists are among the most skilled tradespeople in the manufacturing industry. They use their knowledge of machines, tools, and materials to produce precision parts and products. As such, they are highly valued for their expertise and attention to detail.

When it comes to average salaries, machinists are generally on par with other skilled tradespeople. However, there are some notable differences in pay depending on the specific trade. Here are a few examples:

  • Electricians – According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the median annual wage for electricians was $56,180 as of May 2020, slightly higher than the annual median wage for machinists of $45,750.
  • Plumbers – The BLS reports that plumbers, pipefitters, and steamfitters earned a median annual wage of $56,330 as of May 2020, also slightly higher than the median for machinists.
  • Welders – Welders, cutters, solderers, and brazers had a median annual wage of $44,190 as of May 2020, slightly lower than that of machinists.

It’s worth noting that these are only median salaries and that individual pay can vary widely depending on experience, location, and other factors. That said, machinists and other skilled tradespeople generally enjoy fairly stable employment opportunities and decent wages.

The Future of Machinist Salaries

While machinist pay may not be the highest in the manufacturing industry, that doesn’t necessarily mean that their wages are stagnant or that there’s no room for growth. As the global economy continues to evolve, there will be new opportunities for machinists to specialize in areas such as automation, robotics, and additive manufacturing.

In fact, the BLS predicts that employment of machinists will grow by 4% from 2019 to 2029, which is about as fast as the average for all occupations. This means that there will likely be a continued demand for skilled machinists, which could lead to higher wages and better benefits.

The Bottom Line

Skilled Trade Median Annual Wage (May 2020)
Machinists $45,750
Electricians $56,180
Plumbers, Pipefitters, and Steamfitters $56,330
Welders, Cutters, Solderers, and Brazers $44,190

Overall, machinist salaries are competitive with those of other skilled tradespeople. While pay may not be the highest in the industry, machinists have the opportunity to specialize and stay up-to-date with emerging technologies, which could lead to higher wages and continued employment growth in the years to come.

Do Machinists Make Good Money FAQs

1. What is the average salary for machinists in the United States?

Answer: The average salary for machinists in the United States is approximately $44,000 per year.

2. Do machinists earn higher salaries if they specialize in a specific type of machining?

Answer: Yes, machinists who specialize in a specific type of machining, such as CNC or aerospace machining, may earn higher salaries due to their specialized skills.

3. Is it necessary to have a formal education to become a machinist?

Answer: While it is not required to have a formal education to become a machinist, it is beneficial to have some postsecondary education or training in machining, as it can improve job prospects and salary potential.

4. How does experience level affect a machinist’s salary?

Answer: Experience level can heavily impact a machinist’s salary. As they gain more experience and expertise in their field, they may be eligible for promotions or higher-paying job opportunities.

5. Are there any certifications or licenses that can increase a machinist’s salary?

Answer: Yes, certifications and licenses in specific areas of machining, such as CNC programming or welding, can increase a machinist’s salary by demonstrating specialized skills and expertise.

6. What industries employ the highest number of machinists?

Answer: The manufacturing industry employs the highest number of machinists, followed by aerospace and defense industries.

Closing Title: Do Machinists Make Good Money – Thanks for Reading!

We hope these FAQs helped answer any questions you had about whether machinists make good money. Remember, while the average salary may not be the highest, specialization, experience, and additional training can increase earning potential. Thanks for reading and be sure to check back for more informative articles in the future!