Machinists and machining and tooling inspectors (NOC 7231)

About this job

Machinists set up and operate a variety of machine tools to cut or grind metal, plastic or other materials to make or modify parts or products with precise dimensions.

See what a day in the life of this job is like—watch WorkBC’s Career Trek video about this occupation.

Source: WorkBC’s Career Trek

People in this occupation:

  • inspect machined parts and tooling in order to maintain quality control standards
  • work for machinery, equipment, motor vehicle, automotive parts, aircraft and other metal products manufacturing companies and for machine shops
  • work in wood manufacturing and food processing plants, as well as in refineries
  • have an interest in mechanization
  • must have a strong attention to detail and be able to communicate complicated technical ideas with precision and clarity
  • need to have good physical mobility, as well as be able to lift heavy objects and handle production pressures calmly
Common job titles
  • experimental machinist
  • gear tester-machinist
  • inspector, aircraft propeller / turbine
  • machinist, master / precision
  • machinist, model maker / prototype
  • machinist, mould and core / mouldmaking
  • experimental machinist
  • gear tester-machinist
  • inspector, aircraft propeller / turbine
  • machinist, computer numerical control
  • machinist, electrical
  • machinist, firearms modeller / ballistics

Earnings

Annual provincial median salary

$68,283

Source: 2016 Job Bank Wage data

Note:Estimated median employment income based on 2016 Job Bank median hourly wage rate (median annual salary = hourly wage rate x 40 (hours per week) x 52.14 (weeks per year))

Provincial hourly rate

  • High
  • Median
  • Low

Source: 2016 Job Bank Wage Report

Duties

Although part of the same occupational group, the main duties of machinists and machining and tooling inspectors are different from each other.

Machinists:

  • read and interpret engineering drawings, blueprints, charts and tables or study sample parts to determine machining operations to be performed, and plan best sequence of operations
  • compute dimensions and tolerances and measure and lay out work pieces
  • set up, operate and maintain a variety of machine tools, including computer numerically controlled (CNC) tools to perform precision, machining operations such as sawing, turning, milling, boring, planning, drilling, precision grinding and other operations
  • fit and assemble machined parts and subassemblies using hand and power tools
  • verify dimensions of products for accuracy and conformance to specifications using precision measuring instruments
  • may set up and program machine tools for use by machining tool operators

Machining and tooling inspectors:

  • verify dimensions of machined parts or tooling using micrometers, verniers, callipers, height gauges, optical comparators, coordinate measuring machines (CMM) or other specialized measuring instruments
  • maintain, repair and calibrate precision measuring instruments such as dial indicators, fixed gauges, height gauges and other measuring devices
  • report deviations from specifications and tolerances to supervisors, maintain inspection records and complete inspection reports

Work environment

Machinists and machining and tooling inspectors typically work 40 hours per week. However, some overtime may be required to meet production schedules. Some larger operations require shift work.

Machinists and machining and tooling inspectors typically work indoors in machine shops or manufacturing plants. The work environment can be noisy and dirty, and workers may also be exposed to unpleasant odours.

Hazards include physical injuries due to possible machinery-related accidents, hearing damage from noise and sickness caused by exposure to toxic lubricants or coolants. The increased use of enclosed, automated equipment has reduced the risk of such injuries and removed much of the noise and dirt created in traditional machine shops and plants. Safety procedures (from the WorksafeBC Act) are strictly enforced to reduce potential injuries.

Machinists and machining and tooling inspectors are required to stand for most of the work day. At times, these workers may also be required to lift moderately heavy objects, which may increase their risk of back injury.

However, modern shops and factories now employ autoloaders and overhead cranes that reduce the need to lift heavy objects.

Job requirements

Education, training & qualifications

Completion of secondary school may be required to work in this occupation. Completion of a four-year apprenticeship program or a combination of over four years work experience and some college or industry courses in machining is required to be eligible for machinist trade certification. As the technology advances, strong knowledge of math and physics is becoming increasingly important in finding work in this field.

The machinist apprenticeship program:

  • requires a combination of work experience and class-time instruction
  • educational training takes place over four five-week periods
  • can be started in secondary school, through entry-level training at colleges and technical institutes, or by direct entry
  • requires workers find a sponsor employer who is willing to participate in the program

Workers with 9,900 hours of documented, directly related work experience who have not entered an apprenticeship program may obtain machinist trade certification by passing a challenge exam administered by the Industry Training Authority. For more information please see the Industry Training Authority website at www.itabc.ca.

Trade certification for machinists is available in B.C. Interprovincial trade certification, Red Seal certification, is available to qualified machinists through the Industry Training Authority. Specific trade certification for automotive machinists is also available but voluntary.

Several years of experience as a machinist, tool and die maker or machining tool operator may be required before workers can become machining and tooling inspectors.

Skills

  • Methodical
  • Verbal & Written Comprehension
  • Motor Coordination
  • Numerical Ability
  • Detail-Oriented
  • Object-Oriented
View skills definitions

Education programs in B.C.

The following program areas are related to this occupation:
  • Machinist

For more information about programs offered specifically for this career, visit EducationPlannerBC.

Trades training resources

Visit our trades training page at www.workbc.ca/trades to learn about apprenticeship and trades training in B.C.

Select a region to view regional outlook
Vancouver Island / Coast Mainland / Southwest Thompson-Okanagan Kootenay Cariboo Northeast North Coast & Nechako
Cariboo
Employment in 2016:
180
Average annual employment growth:
1.3%
Expected number of job openings:
80
Kootenay
Employment in 2016:
40
Average annual employment growth:
N/A
Expected number of job openings:
N/A
Mainland / Southwest
Employment in 2016:
2,800
Average annual employment growth:
0.6%
Expected number of job openings:
1,010
North Coast & Nechako
Employment in 2016:
0
Average annual employment growth:
N/A
Expected number of job openings:
N/A
Northeast
Employment in 2016:
70
Average annual employment growth:
N/A
Expected number of job openings:
N/A
Thompson-Okanagan
Employment in 2016:
350
Average annual employment growth:
-0.9%
Expected number of job openings:
40
Vancouver Island / Coast
Employment in 2016:
670
Average annual employment growth:
0.4%
Expected number of job openings:
250

N/A - Data not available

Source: B.C. Labour Market Outlook

Insights from industry

More than half of the job openings over the next few years are expected to come from new job creation.

Demand for machinists and machining and tooling inspectors is driven by the strength of the Manufacturing and Transportation industries and by the health of B.C.'s resource processing operations, such as saw mills, refineries, smelters and pulp and paper mills. Company consolidation and increased international competition may limit job creation in the Forest Products industry. The Transportation industry could also see growth when trade and container transportation recovers and the economy grows.

Job growth for machinists and machining and tooling inspectors will largely depend on trends in the Manufacturing industry. In particular, the potential movement of some aircraft maintenance work for larger airlines to other provinces and some shipbuilding activity offshore may reduce future job growth for machinists and machining and tooling inspectors.

Business investment in machinery and equipment is expected to increase in B.C. as the stronger Canadian dollar allows companies to invest in up-to-date machinery and equipment.

Career paths and resources

Career paths

Many individuals start in entry-level positions, such as machine setters. Once in entry-level positions, these workers may then become machinist apprentices. Some workers may also begin as apprentices.

Workers become certified machinists once they have completed an apprenticeship program.

After several years of experience as a certified machinist, tool and die maker, or machining tool operator, workers may become machining and tooling inspectors.

Additional resources