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Career and Education Opportunities for Buffing Machine Operators in St. Louis, Missouri

Buffing machine operator career and educational opportunities abound in St. Louis, Missouri. About 1,460 people are currently employed as buffing machine operators in Missouri. By 2016, this is expected to shrink 10% to about 1,320 people employed. This is better than the national trend for buffing machine operators, which sees this job pool shrinking by about 15.9% over the next eight years. Buffing machine operators generally set up, operate, or tend grinding and related tools that remove excess material or burrs from surfaces, sharpen edges or corners, or buff, hone, or polish metal or plastic work pieces.

Income for buffing machine operators is about $14 per hour or $29,850 annually on average in Missouri. Nationally, their income is about $14 hourly or $29,460 yearly. Earnings for buffing machine operators are not quite as good as earnings in the general category of Foundry and Metal Work in Missouri and not quite as good as general Foundry and Metal Work category earnings nationally.

There are seventy-one schools of higher education in the St. Louis area, including four within twenty-five miles of St. Louis where you can get a degree to start your career as a buffing machine operator. The most common level of education for buffing machine operators is a high school diploma or GED. You can expect to spend only a short time training to become a buffing machine operator if you already have a high school diploma.

CAREER DESCRIPTION: Buffing Machine Operator

In general, buffing machine operators set up, operate, or tend grinding and related tools that remove excess material or burrs from surfaces, sharpen edges or corners, or buff, hone, or polish metal or plastic work pieces.

Buffing machine operators inspect or measure finished workpieces to establish conformance to given requirements, using measuring instruments such as gauges or micrometers. They also observe machine operations to uncover any problems; make needed adjustments to fix problems. Equally important, buffing machine operators have to activate machine start-up switches to grind or cut workpieces, according to given requirements. Finally, buffing machine operators prepare grinding tools that remove excess material or burrs from surfaces, sharpen edges or corners, or buff, hone, or polish metal or plastic workpieces.

Every day, buffing machine operators are expected to be able to maintain precise control of objects and devices through a range of movements. It is also important that they respond quickly in general.

It is important for buffing machine operators to lift and position workpieces, manually or with hoists, and secure them in hoppers or on machine tables or chucks, using clamps. They are often called upon to measure workpieces and lay out work, using precision measuring devices. They also set and adjust machine controls in line with product specifications, utilizing knowledge of machine operation. They are sometimes expected to move machine controls to index workpieces, and to modify machines for pre-selected operational settings. Somewhat less frequently, buffing machine operators are also expected to adjust air cylinders and setting stops to set traverse lengths and feed arm strokes.

Buffing machine operators sometimes are asked to prepare grinding tools that remove excess material or burrs from surfaces, sharpen edges or corners, or buff, hone, or polish metal or plastic workpieces. and maintain stocks of machine components and machining tools. And finally, they sometimes have to set and adjust machine controls in line with product specifications, utilizing knowledge of machine operation.

Like many other jobs, buffing machine operators must be thorough and dependable and be reliable.

Similar jobs with educational opportunities in St. Louis include:

  • Heat Treating Equipment Operator. Set up, operate, or tend heating equipment, such as heat-treating furnaces, flame-hardening machines, induction machines, or vacuum equipment to temper, harden, or heat-treat metal or plastic objects.
  • Layout Technician. Lay out reference points and dimensions on metal or plastic stock or workpieces, such as sheets, plates, or machine parts, for further processing. Includes shipfitters.
  • Solderer. Braze or solder together components to assemble fabricated metal parts, using soldering iron, torch, or welding machine and flux.
  • Tool and Die Maker. 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.
  • 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: Buffing Machine Operator Training

Lewis and Clark Community College - Godfrey, IL

Lewis and Clark Community College, 5800 Godfrey Rd, Godfrey, IL 62035. Lewis and Clark Community College is a medium sized college located in Godfrey, Illinois. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 8,016 students. Lewis and Clark Community College has a less than one year and a one to two year program in Machine Tool Technology/Machinist which graduated eleven and thirty-one students respectively in 2008.

Jefferson College - Hillsboro, MO

Jefferson College, 1000 Viking Dr, Hillsboro, MO 63050-2440. Jefferson College is a medium sized college located in Hillsboro, Missouri. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 4,983 students. Jefferson College has a one to two year and an associate's degree program in Machine Tool Technology/Machinist which graduated two and seven students respectively in 2008.

Ranken Technical College - Saint Louis, MO

Ranken Technical College, 4431 Finney Ave, Saint Louis, MO 63113-2811. Ranken Technical College is a small college located in Saint Louis, Missouri. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs and has 1,626 students. Ranken Technical College has less than one year, one to two year, and associate's degree programs in Machine Tool Technology/Machinist which graduated fourteen, one, and twenty-three students respectively in 2008.

Southwestern Illinois College - Belleville, IL

Southwestern Illinois College, 2500 Carlyle Ave, Belleville, IL 62221-5899. Southwestern Illinois College is a large college located in Belleville, Illinois. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 14,308 students. Southwestern Illinois College has a one to two year and an associate's degree program in Machine Tool Technology/Machinist which graduated nine and five students respectively in 2008.

CERTIFICATIONS

Precision Sheet Metal Operator: PSMO Certification is the metal fabricating industry's first comprehensive exam designed to assess a candidate's knowledge of fundamental precision sheet metal fabrication processes in shearing, sawing, press brake, turret punch press, laser cutting, and mechanical finishing.

For more information, see the Fabricators & Manufacturers Association, International website.

LOCATION INFORMATION: St. Louis, Missouri

St. Louis, Missouri
St. Louis, Missouri photo by Dschwen

St. Louis is located in St. Louis City County, Missouri. It has a population of over 354,361, which has grown by 1.8% over the last ten years. The cost of living index in St. Louis, 83, is well below the national average. New single-family homes in St. Louis are priced at $111,600 on average, which is far less than the state average. In 2008, one hundred fifty-seven new homes were built in St. Louis, down from two hundred sixty-one the previous year.

The top three industries for women in St. Louis are health care, educational services, and accommodation and food services. For men, it is accommodation and food services, construction, and educational services. The average travel time to work is about 25 minutes. More than 19.1% of St. Louis residents have a bachelor's degree, which is lower than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 7.6%, is lower than the state average.

The unemployment rate in St. Louis is 10.9%, which is greater than Missouri's average of 8.9%.

Nativity of Our Lord Church, Church of the Good Shepard and Church of the Holy Communion are among the churches located in St. Louis.

St. Louis is home to the Terminal Railroad Association Building and the Memorial Home as well as Washington Park and Willmore Park. Shopping malls in the area include Hampton Village Shopping Center and Loughborough Shopping Center.