Metal Patternmaker: Job Description & Requirements

Learn about the occupation of metal pattern-making. Read further to find out about the required training and skills, in addition to the salary and job growth possibilities.

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Career Definition for a Metal Patternmaker

Metal patternmakers make the models that go into molds to be used in castings of parts used in manufacturing, like cars and planes. High-paying metal patternmaker jobs are more likely to be found in the automotive and aerospace industries, and metal patternmakers may work for a foundry or for an independent shop. According to the California Occupational Guides, metal patternmakers may be expected to own and use their own tools on jobs.

Education High school diploma or equivalent required, apprenticeship recommended
Job Skills Communication skills, blueprint reading, transition into three-dimensional drawings
Median Salary (2017) $45,030 for metal and plastic patternmakers
Job Growth (2016-2026) -15% for metal and plastic patternmakers

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics


Metal patternmakers are required to complete their high school education with a diploma or its equivalent. Most metal patternmaker careers begin with an apprenticeship, which usually takes several years. Metal patternmakers will have studied math, mechanical drawing, engineering and business skills in order to fully master their field.

Required Skills

A metal patternmaker needs to have good communication skills, as well as skills with tools and machinery. Metal patternmakers need to be able to read blueprints and turn those drawings into full scale, three-dimensional patterns.

Career and Employment Growth

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that the national annual median salary for metal and plastic patternmakers is $45,030 as of May 2017. Job openings for metal and plastic patternmakers are expected to decrease by 15% percent from 2016-2026.

Alternate Career Options

Check out these other options in machine technology careers:

Metal and Plastic Computer Numerically Controlled (CNC) Machine Tool Programmer

Also falling under the same broad heading of metal and plastic machine workers, these programmers can expect much faster than average employment growth of 16% from 2016-2026, due to the advances in technology being put into place to lower production costs and improve products' quality. Completing courses in computer programming and then receiving on-the-job training can help high school graduates learn the necessary skills to develop computer programs used for making metal or plastic parts with the use of automatic systems. In 2017, the BLS reported a median annual wage of $52,550 for this occupation.

Computer Programmer

Computer programmers usually earn a bachelor's degree in computer science or a similar field to secure employment writing code to develop software programs, based on engineers' and software developers' instructions. A decrease in available positions of 7% was projected by the BLS during the 2016-2026 decade. In 2017, these programmers earned a median salary of $82,240 per year, according to the BLS.

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