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Career and Education Opportunities for Tool and Die Makers in Birmingham, Alabama

If you want to be a tool and die maker, the Birmingham, Alabama area offers many opportunities both for education and employment. About 1,060 people are currently employed as tool and die makers in Alabama. By 2016, this is expected to grow 13% to 1,200 people employed. This is better than the national trend for tool and die makers, which sees this job pool shrinking by about 8.0% over the next eight years. In general, tool and die makers analyze specifications, lay out metal stock, set up and operate machine tools, and fit and assemble parts to make and repair dies, cutting tools, and machinists' hand tools.

A person working as a tool and die maker can expect to earn about $20 hourly or $42,950 yearly on average in Alabama and about $22 hourly or $46,430 per year on average in the U.S. as a whole. Tool and die makers earn more than people working in the category of Foundry and Metal Work generally in Alabama and more than people in the Foundry and Metal Work category nationally.

There is one school within twenty-five miles of Birmingham where you can study to be a tool and die maker, among fifteen schools of higher education total in the Birmingham area. Given that the most common education level for tool and die makers is a post-secondary certificate, you can expect to spend a short time training to become a tool and die maker if you already have a high school diploma.

CAREER DESCRIPTION: Tool and Die Maker

Tool and Die Maker video from the State of New Jersey Dept. of Labor and Workforce Development

In general, tool and die makers analyze specifications, lay out metal stock, set up and operate machine tools, and fit and assemble parts to make and repair dies, cutting tools, and machinists' hand tools.

Tool and die makers lift and secure machined components on surface plates or worktables, using hoists, vises, v-blocks, or angle plates. They also fit and assemble components to make or modify dies, jigs and tools, using machine tools and hand tools. Equally important, tool and die makers have to file and adjust different components to properly fit them together. They are often called upon to study blueprints or specifications to develop sequences of operations for fabricating tools or assemblies. They are expected to verify dimensions and clearances of finished components for conformance to given requirements, using measuring instruments such as calipers and dial indicators. Finally, tool and die makers decide on metals to be used from a range of metals and alloys, on the basis of properties such as hardness and heat tolerance.

Every day, tool and die makers are expected to be able to organize information in a variety of ways. They need to maintain precise control of objects and devices through a range of movements. It is also important that they listen to and understand others in meetings.

It is important for tool and die makers to inspect finished dies for smoothness and defects. They are often called upon to prepare and operate conventional or computer numerically controlled machine tools such as lathes and grinders to cut or otherwise shape components to prescribed dimensions and finishes. They also conduct test runs with completed tools or dies to insure that components meet specifications, making adjustments as needed. They are sometimes expected to set pyrometer controls of heat-treating furnaces and feed or place components, tools, or assemblies into furnaces to harden. Somewhat less frequently, tool and die makers are also expected to verify dimensions and clearances of finished components for conformance to given requirements, using measuring instruments such as calipers and dial indicators.

and decide on metals to be used from a range of metals and alloys, on the basis of properties such as hardness and heat tolerance. And finally, they sometimes have to measure and scribe metal or plastic stock to lay out machining, using instruments such as protractors and rulers.

Like many other jobs, tool and die makers must be thorough and dependable and be reliable.

Similar jobs with educational opportunities in Birmingham include:

  • Mold Machine Operator. Set up, operate, or tend metal or plastic molding, casting, or coremaking machines to mold or cast metal or thermoplastic parts or products.
  • Printing Press Machine Operator. Set up or operate various types of printing machines, such as offset, letterset, or gravure presses or screen printers to produce print on paper or other materials.
  • Solderer. Braze or solder together components to assemble fabricated metal parts, using soldering iron, torch, or welding machine and flux.
  • Welder. Use hand-welding or flame-cutting equipment to weld or join metal components or to fill holes, indentations, or seams of fabricated metal products.
  • Welding Operator. Set up, operate, or tend welding, soldering, or brazing machines or robots that weld, braze, or heat treat metal products, components, or assemblies.

EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES: Tool and Die Maker Training

Bevill State Community College - Sumiton, AL

Bevill State Community College, 101 State St, Sumiton, AL 35148. Bevill State Community College is a small college located in Sumiton, Alabama. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 3,860 students. Bevill State Community College has less than one year, one to two year, and associate's degree programs in Tool and Die Technology/Technician which graduated five, zero, and five students respectively in 2008.

LOCATION INFORMATION: Birmingham, Alabama

Birmingham, Alabama
Birmingham, Alabama photo by Eric_in_SF

Birmingham is located in Jefferson County, Alabama. It has a population of over 228,798, which has shrunk by 5.8% over the last ten years. The cost of living index in Birmingham, 81, is well below the national average. New single-family homes in Birmingham cost $187,300 on average, which is well above the state average. In 2008, one hundred thirty-two new homes were built in Birmingham, down from two hundred thirty-two the previous year.

The top three industries for women in Birmingham are health care, educational services, and finance and insurance. For men, it is construction, accommodation and food services, and health care. The average travel time to work is about 24 minutes. More than 18.5% of Birmingham residents have a bachelor's degree, which is lower than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 6.6%, is lower than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Birmingham is 12.5%, which is greater than Alabama's average of 10.7%.

The percentage of Birmingham residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 60.1%, is more than both the national and state average. Williams Chapel Christian Methodist Episcopal Church, Westminister Presbyterian Church and West End Methodist Church are all churches located in Birmingham. The most common religious groups are the Southern Baptist Convention, the United Methodist Church and the Catholic Church.

Birmingham is home to the Mineral Park Municipal Golf Course and the Cooper Green Golf Course as well as Avondale Mills Park and Smithfield Historic District. Shopping malls in the area include Acipco Shopping Center, Altadena Square Shopping Center and Parkway East Huffman Shopping Center. Visitors to Birmingham can choose from Marriott Hotel Birmingham, Rime Garden Extended Stay Suites and Studioplus for temporary stays in the area.