Machinist Job Description (With Responsibilities And Skills)

Updated 21 August 2023

Factories and manufacturing companies employ trained personnel to operate machinery to produce precision parts for different equipment and objects. Machinists are highly-skilled, qualified personnel responsible for operating heavy machinery, such as grinders or milling machines, to produce precision metal parts and components for mechanical equipment. If you are interested in pursuing your career as a machinist, learning about their skills and requirements for the position can help you make an informed decision.

In this article, we define what a machinist job is, list their duties, outline a set of requirements that an employer may seek in an ideal candidate and provide a sample job description for the role.

Please note that none of the companies, institutes or organisations mentioned in this article are associated with Indeed.

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What Is A Machinist Job?

A machinist job is a set of duties that a machinist performs as part of their role, including:

  • Reviewing computer-aided designs, blueprints and technical drawings to understand the specifications and dimensions of the parts they produce

  • Operating heavy machineries, such as lathes, milling machines and grinders, to shape or modify metal parts and components to their exact specifications

  • Installing, aligning and securing cutting tools, fixtures and workpieces on the machine to prepare for the machining process

  • Monitoring the machine to ensure the product is of high quality and meets the specified requirements

  • Identifying machine damage, lubrication or vibration problems and performing routine maintenance tasks to keep them in good condition

  • Designing, setting up and operating Computer Numerical Control (CNC) machining for automating the control, movement and precision of machine tools through the use of embedded software

  • Using measuring equipment and visual inspection techniques to ensure the final metal parts or components meet the required specifications and quality standards

Related: How To Become A CNC Machinist: A Comprehensive Guide

Machinist Job Requirements

Here are the requirements for the role of a machinist:


Though there is no specific degree requirement, employers usually prefer candidates with diplomas or certifications from vocational training programmes. The Directorate General of Training under the Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship offers various programmes to help candidates learn trade skills and develop the necessary in-depth knowledge for the role. While the first year of the course covers basic fitting operations, such as making, filing or sawing, the second year covers advanced milling operations, including boring and gear cutting.

After completing the course, you require extensive practical training and experience to work in various industries, such as manufacturing, engineering, oil and gas and tool and die-making.

Related: Career Options After 10th (With Types Of Jobs And Courses)

Career path

There are several career paths for candidates wanting to pursue a career in machinery. Some of them include:

  1. Joining as a technician after completing the vocational training programme and advancing to senior roles, including supervisor and manager

  2. Appearing for the 10+2 examination through the National Institute of Open Schooling to continue further education

  3. Continuing your education by applying for a diploma in mechanical engineering, computer science engineering or a related field in any of the recognised institutes through lateral entry

  4. Obtaining a National Apprenticeship Certificate by clearing the All India Trade Test for Apprentices after having worked for a minimum of three years in the trade

  5. Joining advanced vocational training programmes to improve skills and knowledge in the areas of CNC machining, precision machining or advanced machining techniques

Related: What Is Apprenticeship Training? (With Types And Benefits)


Certifications can help you improve your skills and knowledge in areas including general machining skills, CNC programming and operation, quality control and safety. It can also help you advance to senior positions with better compensation and benefits. Here are some relevant certifications for the role:

  • Certificate Program in Precision Machinist

  • Certificate Program in CNC Technology

  • Certificate Program in Tool and Die Making

Related: Tool And Die Making: How To Become A Certified Die Maker


Here are some key core skills for the position:

Knowledge of technical designs and documentation

As a machinist, your primary role is to review the technical diagrams and engineering drawings for dimensions, annotations and tolerances. This provides detailed information on creating or shaping metal parts and components. This requires you to learn reading symbols and abbreviations, dimensions and section views and develop the ability to visualise the geometry of the finished part.

Ability to operate heavy machinery

Heavy machinery involves extensive use of hand and power tools, heavy lifting and pushing and pulling. The job may also require you to stand for long periods each day. This requires you to be physically fit and have good stamina. Improve your physical strength through regular exercise, strength-building workouts and a healthy diet.

Related: Objective For A Machine Operator Resume (With 7 Examples)

Knowledge of safety standards

Adherence to manufacturers' guidelines and safety standards when operating heavy machinery or handling tools and equipment can prevent injuries in the workplace. Ensure that you understand how each machine works and the common machinery hazards. Additionally, make sure that you undergo periodic workplace safety training and review instruction manuals that detail machine safety guidelines.

Knowledge of CNC machining

CNC machining is a partially or fully automated process that enables machinists to direct the computer control systems to control the movement of machinery and perform the required actions. Knowledge of computer systems, including their controls, interfaces and functionalities, allows you to operate them effectively. Knowing programming languages such as G-code and M-code can also help you write, modify and troubleshoot CNC programs to achieve the desired machining outcomes.

Related: Quality Assurance Vs Quality Control (With Differences)

Communication and collaboration

As a machinist, you interact with mechanical engineers, process teams, maintenance staff and other personnel. You also coordinate with quality control teams, floor supervisors and suppliers to ensure the high quality of the finished product and place orders for cutting tools, work holding fixtures and other necessary supplies for your work. Strong communication and collaboration skills can help you succeed in this role.

Related: 15 Essential Machinist Skills (Plus Important Tools To Learn)

Work environment

Machinists usually work in industrial settings, often operating heavy machinery for long periods. There can be exposure to lubricants and coolants, resulting in skin irritation or respiratory issues. There can also be regular exposure to loud sounds due to heavy machines operating for long periods. Wear earplugs and protective equipment, such as gloves and safety glasses, and adhere to workplace safety measures and company guidelines.

Related: What Is A CNC Programmer? (Duties, Skills And Qualifications)

Example Of A Machinist's Job Description

A machinist's job description is a detailed document highlighting the necessary skills, qualifications and work experience candidates require for the role. Companies may also include additional information such as work hours, location, employee benefits and other details. Reading the job description before applying can help you understand what key skills and work experience to add to your resume or cover letter. Here is an example:

Infinity Ltd is seeking an experienced Machinist to join our team. Your primary responsibilities would include:

  • Reviewing engineering drawings, blueprints and specifications to understand machining requirements

  • Performing machining operations such as turning, milling, drilling and grinding to produce high-quality parts

  • Monitoring machine operations and performing routine maintenance to ensure optimal performance and prevent equipment failure

  • Inspecting the finished parts for their tolerances and dimensions, quality and surface finishes

  • Collaborating with engineers, quality control personnel and other staff to improve workflow

  • Adhering to safety standards and protocols

Our requirements include:

  • Minimum of three years of experience as a Machinist

  • Preferred Diploma in Mechanical Engineering or a related field

  • Experience operating manual and CNC machines

  • Strong knowledge of machining techniques, tooling and materials

  • Excellent problem-solving skills and attention to detail

We offer competitive salaries, health insurance, employee discounts, paid holidays and retirement benefits. If you are interested in the position, email us your updated resume and cover letter to

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