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Career and Education Opportunities for Tool and Die Makers in Durham, North Carolina

Many educational and employment opportunities exist for tool and die makers in the Durham, North Carolina area. Currently, 2,080 people work as tool and die makers in North Carolina. This is expected to grow 1% to 2,100 people by 2016. 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.

The income of a tool and die maker is about $19 per hour or $40,870 yearly on average in North Carolina. In the U.S. as a whole, their income is about $22 hourly or $46,430 per year on average. Incomes for tool and die makers are better than in the overall category of Foundry and Metal Work in North Carolina, and better than the overall Foundry and Metal Work category nationally.

The Durham area is home to twenty-six schools of higher education, including two within twenty-five miles of Durham where you can get a degree as a tool and die maker. The most common level of education 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 Durham include:

  • Buffing Machine Operator. 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.
  • 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.
  • Structural and Ornamental Metalwork Metal Fabricator. Fabricate, lay out, and fit parts of structural metal products.
  • 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

Wake Technical Community College - Raleigh, NC

Wake Technical Community College, 9101 Fayetteville Road, Raleigh, NC 27603-5696. Wake Technical Community College is a large college located in Raleigh, North Carolina. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 14,839 students. Wake Technical Community College has a one to two year and an associate's degree program in Tool and Die Technology/Technician which graduated zero and six students respectively in 2008.

Alamance Community College - Graham, NC

Alamance Community College, 1247 Jimmie Kerr Road, Graham, NC 27253-8000. Alamance Community College is a small college located in Graham, North Carolina. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 4,607 students. Alamance Community College has an associate's degree program in Tool and Die Technology/Technician which graduated two students in 2008.

LOCATION INFORMATION: Durham, North Carolina

Durham, North Carolina
Durham, North Carolina photo by Specious

Durham is situated in Durham County, North Carolina. It has a population of over 223,284, which has grown by 19.4% over the last ten years. The cost of living index in Durham, 86, is well below the national average. New single-family homes in Durham are valued at $187,200 on average, which is well above the state average. In 2008, 1,082 new homes were built in Durham, down from 1,574 the previous year.

The three most popular industries for women in Durham are health care, educational services, and professional, scientific, and technical services. For men, it is construction, educational services, and health care. The average commute to work is about 21 minutes. More than 41.8% of Durham residents have a bachelor's degree, which is higher than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 18.3%, is higher than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Durham is 7.3%, which is less than North Carolina's average of 10.6%.

The percentage of Durham residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 39.3%, is less than both the national and state average. Laymans Church, Holy Infant Church and Homestead Heights Church are among the churches located in Durham. The most prominent religious groups are the Southern Baptist Convention, the United Methodist Church and the Catholic Church.

Durham is home to the Hope Valley Country Club and the Union Building as well as Durham County Stadium and Northgate Park. Shopping centers in the area include South Square Mall, Lakewood Shopping Center and Kings Plaza Shopping Center. Visitors to Durham can choose from Brownestone Inn, Durham-Days Inn ) and Hilton Durham for temporary stays in the area.