How Do I Become a Machinist Apprentice?

T. L. Childree
T. L. Childree
A CNC machine used by a machinist.
A CNC machine used by a machinist.

A machinist apprentice works under the supervision of an experienced professional to gain the practical skills needed for this occupation. In order to become a machinist apprentice, you should have a high school diploma and possibly an associate’s degree from a community college or trade school. Next, find a company that employs machinists and apply for an apprenticeship. After you become a machinist apprentice, you will be fully-trained in the tools, materials, skills, and principles involved in the machinist trade. You may want to consider becoming professionally certified after completing this training to prove that you have the knowledge and skills required for this profession.

A high school diploma is typically the minimum educational requirement to become a machinist apprentice.
A high school diploma is typically the minimum educational requirement to become a machinist apprentice.

A high school diploma is the minimum educational requirement to become a machinist apprentice. You should complete high school courses in mathematics and science to prepare for further college training. You may also need to earn an associate’s degree from a two-year community college or trade school before beginning your apprenticeship. College coursework will probably include subjects such as advanced mathematics, physics, and blueprint reading, as well as materials science and safety practices. Additional instruction in computer numerical control (CNC) machining equipment may also be given.

In order to become a machinist apprentice, you will need to find a company that employs these craftsmen and apply for on-the-job training. You can often secure an apprenticeship through the career-placement department of your college or trade school. Many colleges form partnerships with regional employers to allow completion of your internship while earning your associate’s degree. In some instances, your employer may be willing to pay a portion of your college tuition in addition to your apprenticeship wages. On-the-job training programs can also be found through online and newspaper employment ads if an apprenticeship is not available through your college.

Once you have become a machinist apprentice, you will receive extensive, hands-on instruction from an experienced professional. You will probably begin your on-the-job training by performing simple tasks and then advance to more complex procedures as your experience-level increases. This training typically includes instruction in the proper use of hand tools, such as scrapers, files, and wrenches. You will also be taught how to operate precision measuring instruments such as height gauges, micrometers, and gauge blocks. Additionally, instruction will be given in the correct operation of complex machinery, such as lathes, drill presses, and planers.

You may want to seek professional machinist certification upon completion of your apprenticeship. This certification assures prospective employers that you have acquired the necessary skills to be a professional machinist. Professional certification can usually be obtained from your college or a regional apprenticeship board. A comprehensive skills and knowledge examination may be required for this certification and continuing education classes are sometimes needed for recertification.

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    • A CNC machine used by a machinist.
      A CNC machine used by a machinist.
    • A high school diploma is typically the minimum educational requirement to become a machinist apprentice.
      A high school diploma is typically the minimum educational requirement to become a machinist apprentice.