What does a tool and die maker do?
Tool and die makers make and repair tools, dies, and specialized devices that allow manufacturing machines to produce a variety of products from automobile parts to furniture. They produce precision tools and machines that are used to cut, form, and shape materials. They also make devices that hold the materials, measuring equipment, and metal molds for die-casting. They read detailed instructions and create plans of how to manufacture the tool or die. They measure, cut, drill, bore, and assemble parts and check for accuracy. Tool and die makers also repair and replace equipment that is worn or damaged. Some tool and die makers are involved in the design of equipment.
What kind of training does a tool and die maker need?
Tool and die makers need at least a high school diploma. Most complete formal training or apprenticeship programs that are offered by community colleges and vocational and technical schools. Most programs combine classroom instruction and hands-on experience. Students complete courses such as tool programming, tool designing, blueprint reading, algebra, trigonometry, geometry, and statistics. They also learn how to operate a variety of machines and equipment. Some tool and die makers gain state certification to become competitive in the field. Tool and die makers must stay up to date on the current advancements in the field and often update their skills and complete additional training.
What are the prospects for a career as a tool and die maker?
Employment of tool and die makers is expected to decline rapidly, decreasing by 10% from 2006 to 2016 (1). Advances in automation and strong foreign competition in manufacturing will contribute to the job decline.
Despite the rapid job decline, job prospects are expected to be excellent because many employers are having difficulty with finding applicants that are qualified. Some job openings will also stem from the need to replace workers that leave the occupation.
How much do tool and die makers make?
As of November 2009, the middle 50% of tool and die makers earn annual salaries between $37,811 and $48,346. The top 10% earn annual salaries of more than $53,440 (2).
A career as a tool and die maker is a great choice for people interested in making a variety of tools and dies. Tool and die makers must be very familiar with machining process and be very precise in their work. Mechanical aptitude, physical stamina, good eyesight, patience, detail orientation, and excellent problem-solving skills are necessary characteristics. Tool and die makers should be able to work independently as well as part of a team. They must always follow the proper safety precautions to prevent injury. They also need excellent interpersonal and customer service skills.