what does a master machinist do

How to Become a Master Machinist

What is a Master Machinist? (+ How to Become a Master Machinist)

In researching possible manufacturing careers, you may come across the term “master machinist” in job descriptions and titles. A distinguished title in manufacturing, “master” refers to a professional who has earned the training, experience, and proficiency in their given trade.

So, what makes a master machinist? Further, how do you become a master machinist and excel in this fast-advancing field? Read on to find out.

What is a Master Machinist?

Master machinists are experts in computer-controlled machinery. Also known as CNC machinists, these experienced professionals use computer-numerically controlled (CNC) machines to cut, assemble, and fabricate materials into parts or products. Master machinists have a breadth of knowledge in metals, including steel, copper, brass, aluminum, and more. They are also proficient in blueprint reading, manufacturing software programs, and using various equipment like lathes, mills, and drill presses.

Master machinists are masters of the trade – the CNC machining trade, specifically. They value the standards of the field and are able to deliver consistent, high-quality designs. They also have the ability to teach other machinists the techniques for top-quality work.

What’s the Difference Between a Machinist and Master Machinist?

Machinists are manufacturing workers who use various tools – including lathes, milling machines, grinders, and drill presses – to produce precise, metal parts. Many machinists work with manual machines and therefore complete some physical labor in their day-to-day role. Some are also trained to work with computer-aided equipment or CNC machines.

Master machinists are similar to machinists in the nature of their work. They operate advanced machines and apply their knowledge of metals and engineering to manufacture parts. However, master machinists stand out because of their experience. Many master machinists are seasoned professionals with years of experience in the field. Master machinists typically have fulfilled education, training, and/or certifications that in turn elevated their skillsets. Skills of master machinists include:

  • Precision and technique
  • Manual dexterity
  • Attention to detail
  • Compliance and respect for industry standards
  • Mathematical skills
  • Critical-thinking/problem-solving
  • Machine operation and engineering

When we consider what defines a master machinist, we must consider the definitions of the term “master” itself. According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, a “master” can be:

  • A worker or artisan who is qualified to teach apprentices
  • Someone who shows great skill and proficiency
  • A person who has chief authority or control over something (such as a machine)

Therefore, each manufacturing employer has a right to define what “master” means in their company. A master machinist could be any machinist who exhibits great skill and precision in what they do. However, a master machinist may also be someone who is qualified to teach apprentices and other up-and-coming machinists.

In any case, to become a master machinist, one must excel through various stages of training and demonstrate proficiency in CNC machining.

How to Become a Master Machinist

In order to climb to the top and earn the title of master machinist, there are certain steps one should take. These include:

1. Get an education.

Machinists do not always need to go to college or complete an education to launch a career, but this is a highly-recommended step for those who want a future in this field. A manufacturing and machining program can teach you the fundamentals of machining, plus next-level techniques, and provide you experience with industry equipment and software programs. This is the best way to build mastery in the field. Machining programs are offered at various levels, including postsecondary certificates and associate degrees. Some employers require a college education, too.

2. Gain experience through training.

In a dedicated CNC machining program, you will gain direct experience working with machines and various manufacturing tools. However, you will also gain practical experience through an internship program, working directly with real machinists and manufacturing real parts. Goodwin University has connections with manufacturers across Connecticut, and has the ability to connect you with some of the top in-field training experiences in the state.

If you do not gain training through a postsecondary program, you may be able to receive on-the-job training when you start a new position. Typically, employers will provide basic job training to get new machinists up-to-speed on the processes and programs. However, not all employers offer extensive training and therefore may prefer to hire candidates who have some education under their belts.

According to a recent survey from the Connecticut Business & Industry Association (CBIA), local manufacturers prefer to hire CNC machinists who have hands-on experience and technical training. They state, “For the most part, manufacturers expect new employees to arrive already trained.”

3. Become certified.

While professional certification is not required, it is highly valued in the industry and often a marker among master machinists. Professional CNC machinist certification highlights your proficiencies as a machinist and your dedication to the field. On top of this, professional certification can increase your earning potential and qualify you for more jobs – including those mastery credentials.

Professional certification for CNC machinists is available (and nationally-recognized) through the Manufacturing Skill Standards Council (MSSC).

Become a Master Machinist at Goodwin

In both the certificate and associate CNC machining programs at Goodwin, students gain a full understanding of the various manufacturing processes, materials, and programs needed to become a master in this field. From blueprint reading to technical drawings, Mastercam to manufacturing mathematics, specifications to milling and turning machines, you can learn it all at Goodwin University.

Are you ready to get started on your journey to mastery? Start your path towards becoming a master machinist. Visit us online to learn about our programs, or call us at 800-889-3282 to learn more.