What Does a General Machinist Do?

A general machinist (429A) is a skilled craftsperson who sets up and operates precision metal cutting and grinding machines such as lathes, milling machines, drills, shapers, boring mills and grinders. A machinist may use this variety of equipment to manufacture, install, operate, adjust and repair machine tools and other machines in common use.

Essential Skills Required for Success as a General Machinist       NOC Code 7231

Job-related Skills, Interests and Values

  • reading and understanding blueprints, charts and tables
  • making , fitting and assembling parts using your hands or hand and power tools
  • estimating and measuring sizes and distances accurately and laying out work pieces
  • working with numbers
  • seeing and comparing slight differences in objects
  • working independently at tasks that require concentration as well as physical effort

Additional information on training standards for this particular trade in the Industrial sector may be found on the Ontario College of Trades (OCOT) website at: http://www.collegeoftrades.ca/trades/training-standards1/industrial

What Preparation and Training Do You Need?

  • before entering an apprenticeship you should have a secondary school diploma (Grade 12)
  • complete a machinist apprenticeship program of 7280 hours or four years that includes a combination of work experience in the trade (90%) and college or industry courses - three 8 week in-school sessions
  • successfully complete the required examinations and hours of employment in order to be awarded a Journeyperson certificate

The minimum to be apprenticed in this trade under the Ontario College of Trades Apprenticeship Act (2009). Please note that minimum entry requirements to this and other trades are currently under review by the Ontario College of Trades.

If you are currently attending high school, you may benefit from enroling in a Manufacturing Specialist High Skills Major Program. For more information, please click the following link:


What’s Your Future as a General Machinist? Most workers in this occupation work full-time, some in small machine shops that employ two or three machinists, or in larger ones that employ several hundreds. The Canadian Tooling & Machining Association website is a good source of information about the trade: www.ctma.com. Industries in Southern Ontario that employ machinists include:

  • motor vehicle parts manufacturers
  • machinery and equipment manufacturers
  • aircraft and parts manufacturers
  • motor vehicle manufacturers
  • primary steel producers

The trend in the last decade has been toward computerized numeric control (CNC) machines that are usually programmed by an engineer or C.N.C. programmer. The general machinist however, must understand the programming process, and is usually responsible for two or three machines. Job prospects improve for general machinists with C.N.C. programming skills and experience.

Wage Rate

  • you  start at a wage rate that is less than that of journeyperson machinist
  • this rate increases gradually as you gain more competency 
  • the journeyperson’s rate varies in the range of $14.00 to $25.00 per hour, plus benefits

Self- Rating

Ask Yourself: Is Working as a General Machinist For You?

Do you enjoy working with your hands and with hand and power tools?

Yes      No

Is it easy for you to spot differences in how objects look?

Yes      No

Are you able to stand for long periods of time?

Yes      No

Can you understand written instructions?

Yes      No

Do you like to keep up to date on new techniques?

Yes      No

Are you pretty good at working with numbers?

Yes      No

 Do you enjoy working with machines and tools?

Yes      No

If you answered Yes to most of these questions, General Machinist may be for you!

You may also want to explore other careers that require similar interests and skills:

  • Tool & Die Maker
  • Millwright
  • Stationary Engineer
  • Metal Patternmaker
  • Gunsmith or Locksmith


Wildcard SSL Certificates