Career Definition for Molding Machine Technicians
Molding machine technicians operate a variety of specialized equipment used in the casting and molding of plastics and metals. Foundry mold and coremakers work solely with metals, while other molding machine technicians operate machines that mold both metal and plastic materials. Sometimes referred to as machine operators or tenders, these professionals perform daily maintenance, calibrate machines, and examine finished products.
|Education||On the job training; employers prefer those with prior experience and/or some college or technical school education|
|Job Skills||Physical fitness, endurance, understanding of machines and materials, heat tolerance|
|Median Salary 2017*||$31,090 (metal and plastic molding, coremaking, and casting machine setters, operators, and tenders); $35,140 (foundry mold and coremakers)|
|Career Outlook 2016-2026*||-15% (metal and plastic molding, coremaking, and casting machine setters, operators, and tenders); -24% (foundry mold and coremakers)|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
Although employers often hire and train workers on the job, most prefer to hire molding machine technicians with prior training in machine operations, some blueprint-reading abilities, and basic computer skills. A technical degree in machine operations offers future job candidates a competitive advantage. Although a college degree is not required, some college education may improve a candidate's employment prospects.
Molding machine technicians require superior knowledge of machine operations and materials used in the production process in order to operate and troubleshoot production equipment. The job requires physical endurance, the capacity to work in high-temperature environments, and the ability to lift at least 50 pounds. Molding machine technicians must also work on their feet for long periods of time.
Career and Economic Outlook
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects that employment of metal and plastic molding, coremaking, and casting machine setters, operators, and tenders will decline by 15% from 2016 to 2026; jobs for foundry mold and coremakers are projected to decline by 24% during the same period. According to the BLS in 2017, the median salary for metal and plastic molding, coremaking, and casting machine setters, operators, and tenders was $31,090 a year. For foundry mold and coremakers, the median wage was or $35,140 a year.
Alternative Career Options
Similar careers are:
Assembler or Fabricator
Those interested in working with smaller tools may want to explore the career field of assemblers and fabricators. These workers use machines and other tools to put the pieces of a product together. They use blueprints or instructions to guide their assembly. Many of these workers are trained on the job and only need a high school diploma for entry-level work, but those who assemble items including advanced electronics may be required to have some postsecondary education. Some jobs in this field require soldering certification. According to the BLS, the median annual salary for all fabricators and assemblers was $31,850 in 2017. This BLS projects that jobs for this group of workers will decrease at a pace of 14% from 2016 to 2026.
Machinists produce precision-cut metal parts by programming computer-controlled machines or using manual machines. Some of the items they produce include automotive brakes, screws and pistons. To learn their craft, machinists can earn a 2-year degree, complete an apprenticeship or train while on the job. In May 2017, machinists had a median salary of $42,600 a year, according to the BLS. The BLS projects that employment for machinists will grow by 2% from 2016 to 2026.