Engine Machinist Degree Programs and Career Options

Most engine machinists, who make engine blocks and components for automobiles, learn their craft through on-the-job training. However, there are some automotive technology and engine machinist associate degree programs available at community colleges and trade schools.

Essential Information

Automotive technology and engine machinist associate degree programs are designed to provide individuals with the skills needed for building automobile engines. The prerequisite for an engine machinist associate degree program is simply possession of a high school diploma or its equivalent, but it is helpful to have proficiency in auto technology.

In associate degree programs, aspiring engine machinists learn how to read blueprints and specifications, which guide them in making precision cuts in metal. They learn the various types of metals used in engines and gain an understanding of how those metals react to heat and pressure. Instruction also includes how to use machinist tools, such as the lathe and drill press.

Engine Machinist Associate Degree

While community colleges require that students have completed high school or a GED exam before applying for enrollment, some trade schools waive that requirement as long as students show proficiency in auto technology. Associate degree programs for aspiring engine machinists are very practical and hands-on. Students learn about the tools and skills of the trade and almost immediately put those into practice in real-life settings. Courses may discuss:

  • Auto and cylinder head machining
  • Engine machine shop equipment
  • Lower engine machining
  • Parts and sales
  • Technical communication
  • Computer technology

Employment Outlook and Salary Info

Machinists in general held about 399,700 jobs in the United States as of 2014, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). The BLS also reported that in 2015, the mean hourly wage of engine machinists was about $20.25. The job growth rate for machinists is expected to be faster than average, at 10% for the period of 2014-2024, as indicated by BLS data. Employment opportunities should continue for individuals with a variety of auto technology skills.

Engine machinist and automotive technology associate's programs are two potential postsecondary options for aspiring machinists. These programs are usually hands-on in nature, focusing on the tools and practical techniques of the trade. Employment opportunities for machinists in general should be good, with 10% growth expected for the 2014-2024 decade.

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