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Grinding Machine Technician: Job Duties & Career Info

Read about the responsibilities of grinding machine technicians, who play an important role in manufacturing and production. Find information about job duties, required training, job growth and earnings here, as well as alternate career options in industrial mechanics and welding.

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Career Definition for a Grinding Machine Technician

Grinding machine technicians run and maintain machinery that uses an abrasive surface, usually a wheel, to cut, shape, and smooth raw materials like stone, metal and glass. Their duties can include troubleshooting machinery, checking the grinding results and working with supervisors and engineers to ensure production needs are met. Grinding machine technicians also use computerized programming functions to create intricate patterns or designs. Grinding machine tech jobs may include second or third shift work.

Education Technical diploma or associate degree required
Job Skills Hand-eye coordination, communication, blueprint reading, physical fitness
Median Salary (2015)* $33,180 for grinding machine operators and tenders
Job Growth (2014-2024)* -8% for grinding machine operators and tenders

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Required Education

Entry-level requirements for grinding machine technicians include a 1-2-year technical diploma or an associate degree in machine tool technology. Some technicians acquire their skills through an apprenticeship or on the job. Formal or workplace training may include instruction in computer numerical control (CNC) systems, operational mechanics, precision grinding and safety procedures. Grinding machine technicians may also learn about blueprint reading, computer-aided design and metalworking, or take courses in math and science.

Skills Required

An aptitude for mechanics, eye-hand coordination and manual dexterity are key for obtaining a position as a grinding machine technician. Good communication, computer and math skills are essential, as is the ability to read blueprints and follow instructions. Grinding technicians should also be in good physical shape, since these jobs include a significant amount of bending, lifting, moving, and standing.

Career and Economic Outlook for Grinding Machine Technology

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that employment of crushing, grinding and polishing workers will decrease by 8% nationwide between 2014 and 2024, which will result in a loss of approximately 2,300 jobs over the decade. According to the BLS, workers employed in these positions in May 2015 earned median annual wages of $33,810. Employment prospects for machinists in general are expected to increase by 10% nationwide through 2024.

Alternate Career Options

Check out these other choices for careers in machinery operation:

Industrial Machinery Mechanics and Maintenance Workers

Industrial machinery mechanics and maintenance workers keep factory and industrial equipment in good working order, including those used in conveying, packaging and production systems. Similar duties are performed by millwrights who are responsible for installing and maintaining construction, factory and power machines. In addition to a high school diploma, industrial machinery mechanics usually complete one year of post-secondary or on-the job training; millwrights apprentice for approximately four years. As reported by the BLS in May 2015, machinery mechanics were paid a median annual wage of $49,690; millwrights earned $51,390 during the same month. All workers in this occupational category can expect a 16% (much faster than average) growth in employment through 2024.

Welders, Cutters, Solderers and Brazers

Welders, cutters, solderers and brazers use hand- and machine-operated equipment to join metal parts and seams or fill openings. Entry-level training can take place on a short-term or long-term basis, either on the job or at a technical school. Useful high school or college courses may include topics in blueprint reading, mechanical drawing, metallurgy and shop math; computer literacy and familiarity with electrical principles is a plus. The BLS reports that welders, cutters, solderers and brazers earned a median annual wage of $38,150 in May 2015, and they can expect a slower than average growth of 4% in employment from 2014-2024.

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