How to Start a Career in Machinery

If you are good at solving problems, have excellent manual dexterity, pay attention to details, and are fascinated with heavy duty equipment, you may have just what it takes to start a career in machinery. A broad field, you could find yourself working in a large manufacturing plant, research lab, or perhaps even on an offshore drilling platform in the middle of the ocean. With these and many other possibilities, a career in machinery can offer excellent pay, great advancement opportunities, and a position where new and innovative training is always required to keep up with changes in technology. If this sounds interesting to you, here are some additional facts on what it will take to get started on this career path.


Once you decide to make a career in machinery, you should try to take as many classes as you can while still in high school. Along with higher-level math classes such as geometry and trigonometry, you should also sign up for shop classes that can give you a head start on others pursuing this career. By doing so, you can learn such valuable skills as welding, blueprint reading, drafting, and many others.


After finishing high school, you may be able to go right to work in an apprenticeship. Usually offered through manufacturing companies or union organizations, these training programs often last as long as four years. However, during that time you will not only be earning a salary, but also getting both classroom and on-the-job training in such areas as computer-aided drafting and design (CADD), CNC programming, metallurgy, and various types of science such as physics. While these programs are demanding, they offer the chance to work alongside experienced employees who can give you advice and guidance as you progress through the program.

Community College

If you are unable to land an apprenticeship for a career in machinery, don’t give up. Instead, you can choose to attend a local community college. Found throughout the United States, these colleges almost always offer certificate, diploma, and two-year degree programs in machinery and machine operations. Like an apprenticeship, you will have the chance to obtain hands-on training while also getting plenty of classroom knowledge. Best of all, most community colleges have partnerships with local manufacturing plants and other companies, allowing students to participate in internships and also have the inside track to obtaining jobs with these companies after graduation.

Related Careers

Since the field of machinery is so broad, there are a number of related careers where these skills can be very useful. For example, should you decide you enjoy troubleshooting and repairing complex pieces of equipment, you can choose to specialize in industrial machinery mechanics and machinery maintenance, both of which are facing shortages of qualified workers. In addition, you can also work in jobs involving the use of 3-D printers, which are now being used in more and more industries to make everything from cars to artificial limbs. Whatever your preference, chances are there is a specialty within machinery that will fit your interests.

Evaluate Your Skills

Before starting a career in machinery, always take time to evaluate your skills to see if they match those that are required for this career field. For example, if you enjoy working with computers with respect to troubleshooting software and hardware problems, you might enjoy a machinery career. Also, if you can look at something such as a piece of metal and envision how to turn it into something useful such as a machine part or other item, you might have the creativity needed to be an excellent machinist or industrial designer.

No matter what area of machinery you decide to pursue for your career, there are always excellent advancement opportunities as well as chances to work virtually anywhere in the world. By evaluating your skills and deciding on the best educational options, a career in machinery can be very satisfying.


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