Machinists: Salary Overview
Machinists produce metal parts using manual and computer numerically controlled machinery.
Their job description typically includes reading blueprints and sketches, setting up, operating and disassemble the machinery, monitoring the machines, measuring and testing the completed products, and presenting the finished products to customers.
According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual wage for machinists was $44,420 in May 2019 but salaries in this field vary depending on a number of factors, including the machinist’s experience, education, the industry of employment, and region.
In 2019, the best-paid 10 percent made more than $66,610 a year while the lowest 10 percent earned less than $33,820 per year.
If you’re an inexperienced worker who’s learning the ins and outs of this profession through on the job training you should expect an annual salary closer to the minimum for this profession but your salary will increase as you perfect your skills and gain a few years of experience in the field.
Machinist Salary by Industry
According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, the majority of machinists work in the industry of transportation equipment manufacturing, the field of machinery manufacturing, machine shops, or in the field of employment services.
The highest median annual salary for machinists was reported in the field of transportation equipment manufacturing.
This field includes manufacturers of motor vehicles and auto parts, railroad equipment, aircraft, ships, and other transportation equipment.
Machinists who worked in this sector earned a median annual wage of $47,470 as of May 2019.
The second-highest salary was reported in the field of machinery manufacturing- a field that includes manufacturers of machinery that is used in a variety of activities, including agriculture, construction, and other industries.
The median annual wage for machinists who were employed in this sector was $44,970, according to BLS.
Machinists who were employed in machine shops earned a median annual wage of $43,300 as of May 2019 while those who worked in the field of employment services around $33,550 a year.
However, salaries also vary depending on the machinist’s level of experience.
Machinist salaries are also tied to their level of skills and education.
Attending a 2-year post-secondary program at a technical school or community college can help you find a job in a better-paying industry.
Having experience in working with CAD/CAM technology, CNC machine tools, and other computerized machines may also improve your earning prospects.
Another way of learning the ins and outs of this profession is through an apprenticeship or on-the-job training; during this training period, apprentices are typically paid according to their skills level.
Obtaining certification from the Skills Certification System or another certifying institution may also help you find employment in a better paying position.
Machinist Salary by Compensation Structure
As a machinist, you can be paid an hourly rate or a fixed salary paid weekly or monthly.
According to payscale.com, hourly rates for this profession vary between $14-$28 as of May 2020.
Some employees also receive bonuses, commissions, or profit-sharing.
These benefits can help a machinist supplements his/her total annual earnings with up to several thousands of dollars.
The report published by payscale.com shows that machinists earned, on average $9,000 a year in commissions and $1,970 in profit sharing.
According to the same report, the majority of machinists (77%) received medical insurance and many of them (59%) received a compensation package that included dental insurance.
As new technologies are implemented and improved, machinists will continue to be needed to set up, maintain, and monitor CNC machine tools, high-speed machining, autoloaders, and light-out manufacturing.
However, job openings vary depending on the region and the local economy.
Having completed some post-secondary education in the field and having a certificate from a credentialing institution will improve your job prospects and increase your earning potential.
* Based on information from the May 2021 salary report from the BLS. The figures represent accumulated data for all states of employment for Machinists. BLS data represents averages and medians for workers at all levels of education and experience. This data doesn't represent starting salaries.
* Employment conditions in your area may vary.