Individuals with careers as machinists operate, repair, and design machines that produce parts in manufacturing processes or perform functions in facilities such as oil refineries and chemical plants. Machinists commonly are responsible for knowing complicated computer programs and performing functions that might require both drafting skills and physical strength. Some of the most common types of machinist programs are two year programs where students learn the basics of metalwork. Some of the skills taught in these machinist programs are precision measurement, blueprint reading, and quality control. Individuals who complete this kind of training might next participate in apprenticeships, which give them opportunities to learn from established professionals.
Some machinist programs are designed specifically for production machinists. These professionals commonly are responsible for producing large amounts of one specific part. Many machines are operated by computer programs that may even be automated. In other words, machines are programmed by machinists and run without full time operators. Individuals training to become production machinists often must enroll in machinist programs that are focused on reading and developing computer programming code.
Others have careers as maintenance machinists. These individuals are responsible for repairing and replacing specific machine parts. People with aspirations to become maintenance machinists commonly enter two year machinist programs where they learn about machines used in specific kinds of industries. For example, a person interested in working in oil refineries might enter a program where he or she can take courses that focus specifically on machines used in the oil industry.
Individuals seeking academic or professional certification often enter machinist programs at colleges and technical schools. These courses might be held during the day for full time students. They might also be offered in the evenings and on weekends for individuals who work full time jobs.
Online machinist programs are a popular choice for many aspiring machinists who work full time jobs and who have other obligations, such as families. Some people prefer these programs because they are less expensive than conventional programs and are also more flexible. Many machinists believe, however, that online programs are limited since students usually don't get important hands on training. Low residency programs, on the other hand, offer a combination of online and classroom training.
For most machinists, it is necessary to enter machinist programs continually throughout their careers. The technology used in most industries changes as machines are optimized by engineers and designers. It is essential that professional machinists keep up with new developments. For this reason, machinists tend to join professional organizations that offer courses, workshops, and seminars to their members.