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If you’re mechanically inclined and thinking about what kind of career you’d like to pursue, there are many opportunities in automotive manufacturing that might be right up your alley. Carmakers rely on other companies to produce parts and components, and within that supply chain, you’ll find a number of jobs — especially if you understand machining.
Read on to learn more about careers in machining, including which jobs offer the best pay.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, some machining jobs will experience a slower-than-average growth rate in the coming years, but workers who pursue training above entry-level requirements should still be able to find jobs that pay well.
Job growth for machinery mechanics and maintenance workers is expected to be 19 percent, which is about average for all occupations. And these jobs pay well — in 2010, machinery mechanics earned about $44,000 per year, or $21 per hour. Maintenance workers earned about $38,000 per year.
Most machinist jobs require at least a high school education, while higher-paying positions may also require some post-secondary education, such as technical school training. Basic machining jobs — like some metal and plastic manufacturing jobs — may provide on-the-job training for motivated applicants.
There are many highly specialized jobs that require in-depth knowledge of machining components, and that’s one reason why becoming a machine school instructor is a wise career move. BLS records show instructors earned about $62,000 per year in 2010. You may need a master’s degree to teach at some schools, or at least a work record that shows mastery of machining skills.
Working with machinery can pose some risks to your health. You may be exposed to dangerous levels of noise, noxious fumes and electrical shock hazards. Vibration from some machines can cause finger or hand damage, after years of heavy use. Some leading causes of injury include entrapment, burns and lacerations.
Safety is of utmost importance in machining environments. You may be required to wear ear protection, goggles or a face mask, flame-retardant clothing or a respirator.
Some machine shops operate around the clock, and entry-level jobs may be for the second or third (overnight) shift. You may also be required to work weekends or overtime, and if you are a mechanic, you may be required to travel to other plants as part of your job.
Automotive manufacturing growth
Despite hitting a few economic slumps in the past decade, automotive manufacturing should continue to grow in the coming years. During the recession, some small machine shops folded, but automakers still need parts suppliers, and with fewer suppliers to choose from, other machine shops may take up the slack, adding more jobs to meet demands.