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Career Information for a Degree in Precision Production

Precision production includes professions such as upholstery and furnishing repair, computer numerically controlled metalworking and plasticworking, and woodworking. These careers require no formal education. Learn about the training, job duties and requirements to see if these are the right careers for you.

Precision production professionals work in a variety of fields so pursuing courses at a technical college in subjects like upholstery, woodworking and industrial robotics can be helpful. There are no specific requirements to apply for work and hands-on-training is common.

Essential Information

Precision production is the manufacture or fashioning of goods and products that require skilled human labor. Degree and certificate programs in precision production can prepare students for a wide range of careers in such fields as upholstery and furnishings, computer numerically controlled (CNC) metalworking and plasticworking or woodworking. Precision production professionals work with quality, high-tech or unique items, such as watches, machine tools, cabinets or jewelry.

Required Education None; high school diploma recommended
Projected Job Growth (2014-2024) -4% for upholsterers*, -13% for all metal and plastic machine workers*, -1% for woodworkers*
Median Salary (2015) $32,020 for upholsterers*, $48,990 for CNC metalworkers and plasticworkers*, $29,470 for woodworkers*

Source: *Bureau of Labor Statistics

Education and Training Requirements

Aspiring precision workers can be qualified for employment with less than a high school diploma, though such a credential is typically preferred. Individuals who want to enter this line of work can study relevant subjects at the secondary level, including computer applications and mathematics. On-the-job training is common for entry into this field.

Community and technical colleges can offer courses, certificate programs or associate degree programs that focus on precision production. Students can enroll in programs in machine tool technology, industrial production, cabinet making or precision production, and may take courses in subjects like upholstery, woodworking, blueprint reading, industrial robotics or technical mathematics. The knowledge and hands-on training provided by these programs could supplement work experience in some cases and could make individuals more appealing to prospective employers.

Career Options and Requirements

Upholstery and Furnishings

Upholstery and furnishings workers produce new furniture or transform old furniture into something new. Upholsterers might fix and restore furniture by removing old fabric or stuffing and stripping the furniture to its original frame, or by examining and replacing springs, re-gluing loose sections of the frame, and refinishing any exposed wood. Upholstery and furnishing production can be a detailed process, involving designing pieces and choosing fabrics, refinishing and staining wood, and assembling pieces of furniture.

Salary and Career Outlook

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment in this profession is projected to decline at a rate of 4% from 2014-2024. This decline may be attributed to an increase in automation. Workers who specialize in reupholstering furniture may suffer challenges as inexpensive furniture is bought to replace worn pieces (www.bls.gov). In 2015, the BLS reported that the median annual salary for upholsterers was $32,020.

Computer Numerically Controlled (CNC) Precision Metal Workers

Computer Numerically Controlled (CNC) precision metal workers use specific kinds of machines that require programming for production purposes. Workers are responsible for both setting up and monitoring these machines in the production process. As this is specialist work, some 2-year programs may train workers through coursework on specific machines.

Salary and Career Outlook

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that, in 2015, computer-controlled machine tool operators earned a median annual salary of $51,630. Employment opportunities for all metal and machine plastic workers from 2014-2024 are expected to decline by 13%.

Woodworking

Woodworkers use technical knowledge and skills to shape and assemble wood products and items. They may operate woodworking machines to fashion parts for furniture, cabinets, doors, toys or other wood products, or they might fabricate and assemble finished objects such as desks or cabinets. Other woodworkers work at the primary stage of wood production, cutting and shaping raw timber into workable planks, boards and other pieces.

Salary and Career Outlook

According to the BLS, most woodworking professions will show little to no growth between 2014-2024, declining at a rate of about 1%. Woodworkers with specialized expertise will enjoy the best opportunities. According to the BLS, annual median earnings in 2015 for general woodworkers was $29,470.

Working with their hands, designing and fashioning furniture and other items are all characteristics of precision professionals. They often have a high school diploma but can also take classes in specific subjects at community college and vocational schools.


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