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Life As a Lathe & Turning Machine Tool Operator

Career Description Set up, operate, or tend lathe and turning machines to turn, bore, thread, form, or face metal or plastic materials, such as wire, rod, or bar stock.

List of Lathe & Turning Machine Tool Operator Job Duties

  • Crank machines through cycles, stopping to adjust tool positions and machine controls to ensure specified timing, clearances, and tolerances.
  • Select cutting tools and tooling instructions, according to written specifications or knowledge of metal properties and shop mathematics.
  • Move toolholders manually or by turning handwheels, or engage automatic feeding mechanisms to feed tools to and along workpieces.
  • Inspect sample workpieces to verify conformance with specifications, using instruments such as gauges, micrometers, and dial indicators.
  • Mount attachments, such as relieving or tracing attachments, to perform operations, such as duplicating contours of templates or trimming workpieces.
  • Refill, change, and monitor the level of fluids, such as oil and coolant, in machines.

Qualities of a Lathe & Turning Machine Tool Operator

Below is a list of the skills most Metal and Plastic Lathe and Turning Machine Tool Setters, Operators, and Tenders say are important on the job.

Operation Monitoring: Watching gauges, dials, or other indicators to make sure a machine is working properly.

Operation and Control: Controlling operations of equipment or systems.

Quality Control Analysis: Conducting tests and inspections of products, services, or processes to evaluate quality or performance.

Monitoring: Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.

Reading Comprehension: Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.

  • Turret Lathe Operator
  • Rim Turning Machine Operator
  • Nipple Threader
  • Lathe Set Up Person
  • Lathe Hand

Job Opportunities for Metal and Plastic Lathe and Turning Machine Tool Setters, Operators, and Tenders

In 2016, there was an estimated number of 33,700 jobs in the United States for Lathe and Turning Machine Tool Setters, Operators, and Tenders, Metal and Plastic.

Metal and Plastic Lathe and Turning Machine Tool Setter, Operator, or Tender jobs are decreasing by a rate of -8.4%. This means the total job opportunities are shrinking. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts a loss of -2,800 jobs for Metal and Plastic Lathe and Turning Machine Tool Setters, Operators, and Tenders by 2026. The BLS estimates 2,900 yearly job openings in this field per year.

Forecasted Number of Jobs for Metal and Plastic Lathe and Turning Machine Tool Setters, Operators, and Tenders in U.S.

The states with the most job growth for Lathe and Turning Machine Tool Setters, Operators, and Tenders, Metal and Plastic are Texas, Alabama, and Connecticut.

Watch out if you plan on working in California, Michigan, or Illinois. These states have the worst job growth for this type of profession.

Lathe & Turning Machine Tool Operator Salary

The salary for Lathe and Turning Machine Tool Setters, Operators, and Tenders, Metal and Plastic ranges between about $26,000 and $59,960 a year. The median salary is $39,180.

Salary Ranges for Metal and Plastic Lathe and Turning Machine Tool Setters, Operators, and Tenders

How much do Lathe and Turning Machine Tool Setters, Operators, and Tenders, Metal and Plastic make in each U.S. state?

Annual Mean Salary by State
State Annual Mean Salary

Oregon

$54,150

Massachusetts

$50,760

North Carolina

$47,200

Utah

$47,130

Arizona

$47,100

Connecticut

$46,110

South Carolina

$45,310

Washington

$45,070

Rhode Island

$44,830

New Jersey

$44,030

Kentucky

$43,950

Louisiana

$43,650

Missouri

$42,720

Illinois

$42,540

West Virginia

$42,270

Wisconsin

$41,710

Minnesota

$41,440

Nevada

$41,430

Pennsylvania

$41,390

Iowa

$41,340

Indiana

$41,180

Oklahoma

$41,100

New York

$40,720

California

$40,280

Texas

$40,200

Ohio

$40,190

Kansas

$39,560

Nebraska

$39,500

New Hampshire

$38,980

Michigan

$38,830

Vermont

$38,570

Virginia

$38,470

Florida

$37,560

South Dakota

$37,310

Georgia

$36,310

Arkansas

$36,310

Maryland

$36,060

Tennessee

$36,040

Alabama

$35,440

Mississippi

$34,760

Colorado

$34,110

Maine

$33,760

Montana

$31,790

Becoming a Lathe & Turning Machine Tool Operator

Learn what Metal and Plastic Lathe and Turning Machine Tool Setter, Operator, or Tender education requirements there are.

Lathe & Turning Machine Tool Operator Degree Level

What work experience do I need to become a Lathe & Turning Machine Tool Operator?

Lathe & Turning Machine Tool Operator Work Experience

Where Metal and Plastic Lathe and Turning Machine Tool Setters, Operators, and Tenders Work

Lathe & Turning Machine Tool Operator Sectors

Those thinking about becoming Metal and Plastic Lathe and Turning Machine Tool Setters, Operators, and Tenders might also be interested in the following careers:

  • Machinists

Those who work as Metal and Plastic Lathe and Turning Machine Tool Setters, Operators, and Tenders sometimes switch careers to one of these choices:

  • Tool Grinders, Filers, and Sharpeners
  • Welding, Soldering, and Brazing Machine Setters, Operators, and Tenders

References

Bureau of Labor Statistics

College Factual

O*NET Online

Image Credit: Via Wikimedia Commons

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