Machinists are skilled in operating tools that produce precision parts and instruments, typically from metal. In addition to creating tools and parts using milling and drilling machines, grinders, and lathes, they may also repair or maintain industrial machines, drawing on their knowledge of mechanics, mathematics, metal properties, and other areas of expertise. One particular subset of machinists operates computer numerically controlled equipment, or CNC equipment, which is extremely precise. Machinists typically need a high school education to find a job in the profession. And while some are trained on the job, others receive their training via apprenticeships or vocational courses.
In May 2020, the average median wage for a machinist across all industries was $45,840, and when this figure is broken down by industry, it points to some interesting opportunities. Revelation Machinery compiled the annual median salaries for machinists across all industries by analyzing the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ most recent data for occupational employment and wages. While the manufacturing sector employs the most machinists nationally at more than 295,000, that industry had an annual median salary of $45,610—less than the overall average—and thus did not make this top 10 list. Several key economic industries, however, did.
– Annual median wage: $49,420
– Annual 90th percentile wage: $80,230
– National employment estimate: 780
Coal mining is a struggling industry in the United States. Lower natural gas prices have made coal less competitive, and in the long term, the country is moving away from fossil fuels to help combat climate change. By the end of 2020, there were only 551 producing coal mines, down from a peak of 1,435 in 2008. But there are other types of mining in the country—gold, for example. Mines in the U.S. produced $82.3 billion worth of minerals in 2020.