2017 Careers in Tool and Die Making

Tool and die makers use the power of engineering and computer software to manufacture specialized parts for cars, machines, tools, and various other products.  Their jobs have grown in interest and in need by industries that are growing in automation.  Let’s take a closer look at this career field.

A tool and die maker is someone who sets up and operates a variety of computer-controlled or mechanically-controlled machine tools to produce precision metal parts, instruments, and tools. They work in machine shops and tool rooms and on factory floors.

Jobs of a Tool and Die Maker

Toolmakers specialize in cutting, shaping, and molding together metal to form tools and tool support mechanisms, such as braces, jigs, clips, and fixtures that assist in the manufacturing or repair of products.  Die makers create the forms, outlines, or molds for all non-metal based materials, such as plastic or ceramic objects.  Both tool and die makers accomplish this manufacturing through the use of CADs—Computer Assisted Development software.  This allows them to operate and produce digital blueprints to manufacture with perfect precision, which is vital when developing tools and dies.

Career Growth in Tool and Die Makers

The industry projects moderate growth in the machinist industry, as a whole, but tool and die makers are projected to lose jobs in the coming decade, if they specialize in metal and plastics, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics.  Machinists of all types will continue to be in-demand for operating and maintaining all new forms of automation in the manufacturing industry.

This may require continual updating of skills and education for tool and die makers, if they want to secure their jobs and salaries.

Future Prospects

Because tool and die making is a specialized career that encompasses a number of skills and experience in the manufacturing industry, there will be plenty of opportunities for new workers to enter the field, as those studying to become machinists will leave a gap when experience machinists are retiring enmass.  Last year, tool and die maker salaries were as high as $60,000 in the transportation equipment market and about $48,000 for all others, on average.  These figures may decrease as less experienced workers replace the retiring workers, but only briefly.

Also, it is worth noting that, like many other manufacturing jobs, machinists of all types are prone to working long hours because of the fast-paced business and the dependence of their jobs for the operations of the production lines.  If you are someone who enjoys leadership, challenge, and responsibility, this may be the perfect career path for you.