(RED OAK, Texas) – From smartphones to the hubcaps on vehicles, precision machining is a critical component of our lives.
“(Many human-made things would) not exist without a machine and its components,” said Nathan Cleveland, acting statewide lead in Texas State Technical College’s Precision Machining Technology program and associate provost at TSTC in Marshall.
Cleveland said high school students need to be more exposed to what precision machining is, along with its career stability and income potential. He said most students who enter TSTC’s Precision Machining Technology program usually know someone already in the industry. The program’s classes at the North Texas campus are taught at night.
Lyle Guinn, the lead instructor for TSTC’s Precision Machining Technology program in North Texas, said students entering the program should be good at spatial thinking, have a mechanical aptitude and understand geometry.
Cleveland said the kinds of jobs that program graduates want depend on the area of Texas where they want to live. He said while East Texas has many production jobs, the Houston area has many oil and gas industry jobs. The career niche that graduates shift into will factor into their income.
“A lot of it is where they (graduates) want to live, what kind of benefits they want and if they want to continue on in their education,” Guinn said. “A lot of the companies you go to work for as a machinist will continue to pay for your education.”
Companies that have sought machining workers in the last few months in North Texas include Amazon, Bridgestone/Firestone, Sabre Industries Inc. and FedEx, according to Workforce Solutions of North Central Texas.
Industrial engineering technologists and technicians have the highest hourly wage for experienced workers among machining-type jobs in the Dallas-Fort Worth area at more than $40, according to data from Workforce Solutions. The second-highest hourly wage for experienced workers is more than $39 for metal and plastic model makers.
Workforce Solutions’ 16-county area has more than 7,700 machinists and more than 6,600 metal and plastics machine tool cutting setters, operators and tenders.
According to the U.S. Department of Labor’s CareerOneStop website, computer numerical controlled tool programmers are making a yearly median salary of more than $57,000 in Texas. Jobs are concentrated in the Austin, Dallas-Fort Worth, Houston and San Antonio areas.
TSTC offers an Associate of Applied Science degree in Precision Machining Technology and a certificate of completion in Machining.
Registration continues for the fall semester. Scholarships are available. For more information, go to tstc.edu.