Is becoming a tool and die maker right for me?

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What do tool and die makers do?
Career Satisfaction
Are tool and die makers happy with their careers?
What are tool and die makers like?

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How to become a Tool and Die Maker

Formal apprenticeship programs, typically sponsored by a union or manufacturer, are an excellent way to become a machinist or tool and die maker, but they are often hard to get into. Apprentices usually must have a high school diploma or equivalent. In high school, students should take courses in trigonometry and geometry, blueprint reading, metalworking, and drafting, if available. Apprenticeship programs consist of paid shop training and related technical instruction lasting between four and five years. The classes are often taught in cooperation with local community colleges or vocational–technical schools.

Although apprenticeship programs may be the best way to learn the job, a growing number of tool and die makers receive their formal technical training from community and technical colleges. These individuals often learn while employed by a manufacturer that supports the employee's training goals and gives the needed on-the-job training less formally.

Even after completing a formal training program, tool and die makers still need years of experience to become highly skilled. To boost the skill level of tool and die makers and to create a more uniform standard of competency, a number of training facilities, apprenticeship boards, and colleges offer certification programs. Completing a recognized certification program provides tool and die makers with better job opportunities and helps employers judge the abilities of new hires. Journey-level certification is available from apprenticeship boards after completing an apprenticeship. Many employers recognize this certification, and it often leads to better job opportunities.