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1200 new positions on the Virginia Peninsula from 2012 to 2016

Start: $ 15.66/hr. $ 32,600/yr.
Ave: $ 21.05/hr. $ 43,800/yr.


Employer website, Peninsula Worklink, Virginia Employment Commission

New Horizons Regional Education Centers, Newport News Shipbuilding Apprentice School, Thomas Nelson Community College (certificate)

Virginia Wizard


Job Description: Set up and operate a variety of machine tools to produce precision parts and instruments. Includes precision instrument makers who fabricate, modify or repair mechanical instruments.

Education Needed: High School Diploma or equivalent, vocational training, OJT or an AAS

Career Pathway: Machinists train in apprenticeship programs, vocational schools, community or technical colleges or informally on the job. Many entrants previously have worked as machine setters, operators or tenders. There are many different ways to become a skilled machinist. In high school, students should take math courses, especially trigonometry and geometry, and if available, courses in blueprint reading, metalworking and drafting. Due to the increasing use of computer-controlled machinery, basic computer skills are needed before entering a training program. After highschool some machinists learn entirely on the job, but most acquire their skills in a mix of classroom and on-the-job training. Formal apprenticeship programs, typically sponsored by a union or manufacturer, are an excellent way to learn the job of machinist, but are often hard to get into. People interested in becoming machinists should be mechanically inclined, have good problem-solving abilities, be able to work independently and be able to do highly accurate work (tolerances may reach 50/1,000,000ths of an inch) that requires concentration and physical effort. Experience working with machine tools is helpful. Machinists can advance in several ways. Experienced machinists may become CNC programmers, tool and die makers or mold makers, or be promoted to supervisory or administrative positions in their firms. A few open their own machine shops.

WorkKeys Scores Needed:: Silver level: Applied Math (4), Reading for Information (4), Locating Information (4) and Observation (4)

October 31, 2020


1) Review Essential Skills Below.  Take our skills check up to see how you qualify against employer standards.

2) Visit Employer website, Peninsula Worklink, Virginia Employment Commission to learn about education and training programs.

3) Current employers of record for Machinists:
Advex Corporation, Davis Boat Works Inc., Continental AG Newport News (Siemens VDO), Canon Virginia Inc., Newport News Shipbuilding

Essential Skills for Machinists

Technical Skill
Equipment Selection: determining the kind of tools and equipment needed to do a job. Installation: installing equipment, machines, wiring or programs to meet specifications.
Operation and Control: controlling operations of equipment or systems.
Operation Monitoring: watching gauges, dials or other indicators to make sure a machine is working properly.
Technology Design: knowledge of design techniques, tools and principals involved in production of precision technical plans, blueprints, drawings and models.
Troubleshooting: determining causes of operating errors and deciding what to do about it.

Easily translates a word problem in to a computational one.
Adds and subtracts whole numbers, including negative numbers.
Changes numbers from one form to another using whole numbers, fractions, decimals or percentages.
Converts simple calculations with money, volume, length and weight.
Adds, subtracts, multiplies and divides all units of measurement.
Combines ratio, rate, and percentage.
Draws and interprets bar graphs.
Performs mathematical calculations using decimals and fractions.
Calculates area, perimeter and volume of various shapes (rectangle, triangle and circle).
Solves calculations with two unknowns.
Plans jobs using complex measurement (simple fractions of a millimeter) and coordinate geometry. (Basic geometry)
Utilizes applications that require: right triangle trigonometry, solving systems of equations in 3 variables, solving quadratic equations; simplifying radicals, simplifying rational expressions; and utilizing positive exponents.

Communicates effectively with customers and fellow employees.
Speaks extemporaneously to describe complex situations in an understandable manner. Listens well and applies what is learned.
Reads and applies safety warnings and simpler equipment instructions.
Applies information from professional and technical journals, financial reports, and legal documents.
Follows directions correctly.
Follows written reporting procedures correctly to write commentaries, analysis and critiques in complex sentences with correct grammar, spelling and punctuation.

Workplace Skills
Creativity, innovation, adaptation: contributes new ideas and adapts to changes in the workplace.
Diversity awareness and application: communicates and works well with customers and coworkers of different ages, genders, races, socioeconomics, ethnicities and cultural backgrounds. Professional ethics: abides by workplace policies and laws and demonstrates personal integrity.
Personal hygiene and safety: follows safety guidelines and manages personal health.

Professional Skills
Time and resource management: punctual, timely with work deadlines, manages time and other resources well.
Team player: demonstrates commitment to the success of the team, assists others, requests help when needed and resolves conflicts effectively.
Positive work ethic: arrives ready to work, is supportive of accomplishing tasks at hand, completes work assignments in effective and efficient way and is willing to take on additional tasks. Reasoning, problem solving: identifies, breaks down, prioritizes and resolves problems that arise in completing assigned tasks.
Systems thinking: understands his or her role in fulfilling the mission of this workplace.