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Career and Education Opportunities for Buffing Machine Operators in Chattanooga, Tennessee

For those living in the Chattanooga, Tennessee area, there are many career and education opportunities for buffing machine operators. There are currently 2,480 working buffing machine operators in Tennessee; this should grow by 2% to about 2,520 working buffing machine operators in the state by 2016. This is better than the nation as a whole, where employment opportunities for buffing machine operators are expected to shrink by about 15.9%. 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.

A person working as a buffing machine operator can expect to earn about $14 hourly or $31,030 per year on average in Tennessee and about $14 hourly or $29,460 annually on average in the U.S. as a whole. Compared with people working in the overall category of Foundry and Metal Work, people working as buffing machine operators in Tennessee earn more. They earn less than people working in the overall category of Foundry and Metal Work nationally.

There is one school within twenty-five miles of Chattanooga where you can study to be a buffing machine operator, among twenty schools of higher education total in the Chattanooga area. 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 Chattanooga 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.
  • 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

Northwestern Technical College - Rock Spring, GA

Northwestern Technical College, 265 Bicentennial Trail, Rock Spring, GA 30739. Northwestern Technical College is a small college located in Rock Spring, Georgia. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 2,335 students. Northwestern Technical College has a less than one year and a one to two year program in Machine Shop Technology/Assistant which graduated twenty-three and six 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: Chattanooga, Tennessee

Chattanooga, Tennessee
Chattanooga, Tennessee photo by Avala

Chattanooga is situated in Hamilton County, Tennessee. It has a population of over 170,880, which has grown by 9.9% in the past ten years. The cost of living index in Chattanooga, 85, is well below the national average. New single-family homes in Chattanooga are priced at $141,100 on average, which is below the state average. In 2008, two hundred sixty-two new homes were built in Chattanooga, down from four hundred forty-one the previous year.

The top three industries for women in Chattanooga are health care, educational services, and finance and insurance. For men, it is construction, accommodation and food services, and health care. The average commute to work is about 20 minutes. More than 21.5% of Chattanooga residents have a bachelor's degree, which is higher than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 7.5%, is higher than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Chattanooga is 9.5%, which is less than Tennessee's average of 10.2%.

The percentage of Chattanooga residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 58.2%, is more than both the national and state average. Stuart Heights Baptist Church, Kings Point Church and Stanley United Methodist Church are some of the churches located in Chattanooga. The largest religious groups are the Southern Baptist Convention, the United Methodist Church and the Non-Charismatic Churches Independent.

Chattanooga is home to the Creeks Bend Golf Club and the Concord Golf Course as well as Warner Park and Ross Landing City Park. Shopping malls in the area include Northgate Mall, Northgate Crossing Shopping Center and Lee Plaza East Shopping Center. Visitors to Chattanooga can choose from Holiday Inn Express Hotel & Suites, Crystal Air Sport Motel and Hampton Inn Chattanooga I-75 North for temporary stays in the area.