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Punching Machine Technician: Employment Info and Requirements

Keep reading to learn what punching machine technicians do. See what the education and training requirements are. Find out about career prospects and earning potential to decide if this career is right for you.

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Career Definition for a Punching Machine Technician

Punching machines use dies and patterns to punch parts out of sheet metal, and they're commonly used by a variety of manufacturing industries. Punching machine technicians activate and observe punching machines in order to detect any malfunctions. Technicians inspect a machine for problems and will either fix the machine or troubleshoot it until the problem is detected and solved. These technicians may also be responsible for installing punching machines.

Education High school diploma or equivalent preferred
Job Skills Knowledge of machine control and operation, gauge reading, understanding of tools and equipment
Median Salary (2017)* $33,060 for punching machine tenders
Job Growth (2016-2026)* -9% for punching machine tenders

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Education Required

There are no formal educational requirements to become a punching machine technician, but most employers do prefer that their employees have a high school diploma or its equivalent. Prospective punching machine technicians can learn the job under experienced technicians through training programs or apprenticeships. Students learn how to stop and start machines, inspect machines, troubleshoot them to determine the problem, and develop the skills to fix them.

Skills Required

Punching machine technicians need to know how to control and operate punching machines, and understand the types of tools and equipment needed to repair them. They must be able to read dials, gauges, and other indicators to make sure the machine is working properly.

Economic and Career Outlook

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicts that jobs in this field will decline by 9% from 2016-2026. Career opportunities for punching machine technicians depend on the technician's ability to learn new technology and implement that technology into his or her work. According to the BLS, the median annual wage for a punching machine tender was $33,060 in 2017. A technician's wage depends on the size of the company, as well as the industry, the technician's skill level, and union status.

Alternate Career Options

Consider these alternative career options in machine operation:

Assembler

An assembler puts together the pieces of a manufactured item based on blueprints. Assemblers perform their job manually or with machines; they perform quality control inspections on these pieces as they work. They can put together things like toys, electronics, cars, and appliances, for example. The minimum education requirements for this job range from a high school diploma to an associate's degree. New assemblers can complete on-the-job training or an apprenticeship. Assemblers can also earn industry certifications. Jobs for assemblers and fabricators are expected to decrease 14% from 2016-2026, per the BLS. These professionals earned median pay of $31,850 in 2017, although pay can vary by industry; the BLS reports that timing device assemblers earned median pay of $34,800 that year, while aircraft structure assemblers earned $53,510 in median wages.

Machinist

A machinist uses blueprints and similar kinds of schematics to set up automatic, manual, and computer-numeric controlled machine tools to produce parts according to specifications. They also operate these machines, like lathes and grinders, checking manufactured parts for quality and making adjustments as needed. A high school diploma is the minimum education requirement for employment. Aspiring machinists can enter an apprenticeship; they can also complete postsecondary technical or vocational school training or participate in on-the-job training. Industry certification is also available to boost a machinist's resume. According to the BLS, machinists can expect job growth of 2% from 2016-2026. The BLS also reports that machinists earned a median pay of $42,600 in 2017.

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