To work as a machinist, you typically need to:
- have a high school diploma or equivalent; and
- complete long-term, on-the-job training.
Education after high school
A few machinists learn their skills through formal training. Professional-technical schools and two-year colleges offer machinist programs. These programs award an associate degree. Graduates still need additional on-the-job training.
Many machinists learn their skills on the job from an experienced worker. In this situation, you begin as a helper. You gradually learn to operate machines and use machine tools. Training typically lasts at least one year. The length of training depends on the employer.
If you complete a machinists training program, you will still receive on-the-job training. The length of training varies by employer and your skills.
Some branches of the military train people to be machinists. Training lasts ten to 12 weeks, depending on your specialty. Additional training occurs on the job.
If you receive this type of training in the military, you may earn credit for previous work experience when you enter a civilian apprenticeship program.