Machinists and machining and tooling inspectors (NOC 7231)

Minimum education: Diploma, Certificate or Apprenticeship Training

  • Average salary
  • Occupation size
  • Job stability
  • Demand growth
  • Below Average
  • Excellent

Profile last updated: August 31, 2016

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01 Overview

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.

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

02 Earnings

Provincial median salary


Source: Estimated median employment income based on 2015 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

  • $23.00/hr
  • $31.70/hr
  • $40.00/hr

03 Duties

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

04 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.

05 Workforce and employment statistics

Workforce characteristics

3,300 workers are employed
63 % of workers are working mostly full time

Employment by gender

Labour force by age group

Source: 2011 National Household Survey

06 Job requirements

Education, training and 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

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.

For information on public post-secondary education in B.C. please see the Education Planner website at

07 Subject Areas & Training Resources

Education Planner

Trades/Apprenticeship Resources

Industry Training Authority

Trades Training BC


Discover Skills BC

08 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.

09Employment outlook

N/A - Data not available or not provided due to data quality issues

Provincial Outlook:

Unemployment rate

  • 6.4%
  • 7.5%
  • 6.4%

Job openings

  • 400
  • 150
  • 120

10 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.

11 Additional resources