Polishing Technician: Job Outlook & Career Info

Mar 29, 2019

Polishing technicians provide the finishing touches to a variety of surface materials. Read on to learn about the necessary education, skills, salary and available job opportunities in various companies and industries to see if this is the right job for you.

Career Definition for Polishing Technicians

Polishing technicians fulfill a wide range of services by using power tools or hand-held tools to polish a wide variety of materials, including metal, plastic, glass, clay, and stone. These technicians are responsible for providing the finishing touches on manufactured products and ensure that their employer's polishing standards are reached.

Education High school diploma or GED; on-the-job training or apprenticeship
Job Skills Good vision, arm and hand steadiness, finger dexterity
Median Salary (2017)* $33,480 (for grinding, lapping, polishing and buffing machine tool setters, operators and tenders)
Job Outlook (2016-2026)* -10.3% (for crushing, grinding and polishing machine setters, operators and tenders)

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Education Required

Polishing technicians need to have a high school diploma or its equivalent, often a GED. Most polishing technicians learn the trade through an apprenticeship program and will continue to receive on-the-job training until they understand the principals of this occupation. They will learn workplace safety, the use of polishing tools and chemicals, and the properties of the materials they will be polishing.

Skills Required

It is essential that polishing technicians have arm and hand steadiness and be able to achieve simple, repetitive movements with their fingers, hands, and wrists. Technicians need to have good vision, in order to inspect products for blemishes or rough spots.

Economic and Career Outlook

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the median salary for grinding, buffing and polishing machine operators, such as polishing technicians, was $33,480 as of May 2017. The BLS also notes that employment opportunities for these professionals are expected to decline 10.3% for crushing, grinding and polishing machine setters, operators and tenders between 2016 and 2026.

Alternate Career Options

Related careers include:

Sawing Machine Setter, Operator and Tender

Working with wood, these professionals usually learn their skills on the job. They set up, operate and maintain computer numerically-controlled (CNC) equipment. No change in employment was projected by the BLS for these positions from 2016-2026, and an hourly median wage of $14.83 or $30,850 a year for woodworkers was reported in 2017.

Woodworking Machine Setter, Operator and Tender (Except Sawing)

Woodworking machine setters, operators and tenders use various types of woodworking machines, such as routers, lathes and sanders. Employment may be secured with a high school diploma, and specialized skills can be learned on the job, although some individuals complete postsecondary training. These workers could expect a little or no change of 1% from 2016-2026, and in 2017, the BLS reported a median hourly salary of $14.83, which equals a median salary of $30,850 a year for woodworkers.

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