Machinists usually have a passion for creating useful things from scratch. Their talent resides in the ability to transform a simple piece of metal into a part that will play its role in the operation of an equipment unit. Machinists are like "industrial sculptors" because they have the capacity to make unique parts according to specific requirements. People who want to become machinists usually possess qualities such as attention to details, knowledge of various technical processes, being skilled with a variety of electrically powered and hand tools, and patience. Machinists also need good communication skills to discuss their tasks with engineers, tool setters, and administrative workers. They must have in-depth knowledge of safety procedures because a lack of caution when operating machinery may result in injury and even disability. When a replacement part is needed urgently, machinists must be able to work quickly while maintaining high quality standards. Candidates must be good at basic math and have good computer skills.
People who want to become machinists require a high school diploma. They may then attend apprenticeship programs or get a degree at a technical or community college. However, the most essential part of becoming a machinist is on-the-job training, which is where candidates acquire the necessary skills and experience to operate machinery individually. The duration of training may be up to five years, and a continuous refining of skills and knowledge is further required on the job. Before they become proficient in their occupation, machinists may be supervised by a more experienced machinery expert.