Machinists make and repair all types of machine parts and metal instruments, including automobile and airplane parts. Learning the trade usually requires education in computer skills in addition to hands-on training. You can learn the skills in apprenticeship programs, at technical schools or in community colleges. Even though the government expects the number of jobs to decline, the prospects for employment for machinists will continue to be strong because fewer young people are entering the field.
Mean Annual Income
The mean or average annual wage for a machinist in the United States was $38,940 as of May 2009, the most recent figure from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Range of Annual Income
Machinists have a wide range in income. The lowest 10 percent earn about $23,580 per year, while the top 10 percent earn $57,250. All figures come from the Bureau of Labor Statistics' most recent report for May 2009. As in most fields, experienced workers earn more than beginners or apprentices.
Jobs and Income by Industry
Machinists work in a variety of industries, some of which pay better than others. Government statistics as of May 2009 show the highest average annual wages in industries employing fewer than 1,000 machinists each. Machinists in natural gas distribution earn $70,600 a year. Others working for schools and colleges, in the electric power industry or in metal ore mining all average over $50,000 per year. Machine shops employ the most workers and pay an average wage of $37,150. Aerospace jobs pay an average of $43,110 per year. Other industries with numerous jobs include auto parts manufacturing, paying $39,710; metalworking machinery manufacturing, paying $39,060 and employment services, paying $32,680.
Income by Location
Location also helps determine the annual income of machinists. District of Columbia workers show the highest annual income at $55,270, followed by Hawaii at $52,460 and Washington state at $47,480 in the government listing. Machinists in Maryland and Alaska also earn nearly $47,000 per year. States having more machinists but lower pay include Ohio, with an annual wage of $37,200; Indiana, with an annual wage of $38,700; and Michigan and Connecticut, at about $41,000. Machinists in some metropolitan areas also receive higher pay. High-paying areas include Ann Arbor, Michigan, with an average annual wage of $57,530 and Fairbanks, Alaska, with an average of $57,480.