Metal and Plastic Grinding, Lapping, Polishing, and Buffing Machine Tool Setters, Operators, and Tenders
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Overview
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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.
Titles for this career often contain these words
GrinderOperatorPolisherMachineSanderBufferSharpenerFinisherWheelMetalSetUpFilerToolBladeBearingSawBurrDresserGrindingHoningKnifeBitBrassBuffingTenderBurrerGearLappingSetterWorkerBarrelBenchBurnisherCenterlessCNCComputerDeburringTechnicianDiskFinishJewelManufacturingSandSilverwareAxleScrewheadBandReamerBevelBottomBurringTrimmerNumericallyControlledDeburrerDrillEdgerEmeryFluteLapperGoldFacerJobKeyLapMoldPolishingProductionRazorRollScissorsScratchShotSteelThreadToothWatchAbrasiveAirAluminumAutomaticBalanceCentererBearingizerBeltFaceStonerBilletGrooverBodyBroachBrushBuffererLineBurnishingHandCastingsCellChromeColorNumericalControlCrankshaftCutleryCutterCylinderToolingDialDieMaintenanceDingerDiscDoubleDrumDryEdgeEdgingEnamelEndExternalEyeGlassFrameEyeglassFramesFaucetFenderFileFilingOpenerFlatBlockerNibSetupHobHonerJetJigPalletApprenticePotRailTapTopWet
Education
Only 4% of metal and plastic grinding, lapping, polishing, and buffing machine tool setters, operators, and tenders have a bachelor's degree or higher.
Education attained by metal and plastic grinding, lapping, polishing, and buffing machine tool setters, operators, and tenders
None
High School
Some College
Associate's/Cert.
Bachelor's Degree
Master's Degree
Professional Degree
Doctorate
Context: workers with bachelor's degrees
Fewer metal and plastic grinding, lapping, polishing, and buffing machine tool setters, operators, and tenders have bachelor's degrees than 90% of other careeers.
Employment
Workforce size
Metal and plastic grinding, lapping, polishing, and buffing machine tool setters, operators, and tenders, with 75,400 workers, are near the middle of all careers in the number employed.
Predicted employment growth
Over the next decade, jobs for metal and plastic grinding, lapping, polishing, and buffing machine tool setters, operators, and tenders are expected to shrink by 10%, and should have about 7,400 job openings a year.
Safety from automation
Metal and plastic grinding, lapping, polishing, and buffing machine tool setters, operators, and tenders are more likely to be automated than 86% of other careers.
Salaries
Context: Median Salary
How do salaries for metal and plastic grinding, lapping, polishing, and buffing machine tool setters, operators, and tenders compare to other jobs' salaries?
Distribution: What salary can you expect?
See what most metal and plastic grinding, lapping, polishing, and buffing machine tool setters, operators, and tenders earn.
$36K$0$20K$40K$60K
Gender
Women account for 14% of metal and plastic grinding, lapping, polishing, and buffing machine tool setters, operators, and tenders -- that's a smaller percentage than 74% of other jobs.
Gender of metal and plastic grinding, lapping, polishing, and buffing machine tool setters, operators, and tenders
Men
Women
Context: Salary inequity
For each career, we compared the median (middle) men's salary to the median women's salary. For metal and plastic grinding, lapping, polishing, and buffing machine tool setters, operators, and tenders, the median men's salary was 29% more the median woman's salary.
Race/Origin
About 17% of metal and plastic grinding, lapping, polishing, and buffing machine tool setters, operators, and tenders are minority, and 19% are foreign-born.
Race/origin of metal and plastic grinding, lapping, polishing, and buffing machine tool setters, operators, and tenders
White
Black
Pacific Islander
Hispanic
Asian
American Indian
Multiracial
Other
Context: Foreign-born workers (19%)
Where are the most jobs?
We ranked the number of jobs in Metal and Plastic Grinding, Lapping, Polishing, and Buffing Machine Tool Setters, Operators, and Tenders per thousand workers in each state, DC, and Puerto Rico. Blue indicates low density, with lighter shades moving to yellow indicating higher numbers working in this profession.
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Benefits
How do benefits for this career compare to other jobs?
Context: Employer offers health insurance
Context: Employer offers a pension plan
Worker concerns
Some jobs are more stressful than others, and some are just plain dangerous. The following list gives the percentages of metal and plastic grinding, lapping, polishing, and buffing machine tool setters, operators, and tenders who report hazardous or difficult situations typically occurring at least once a week.
  • Time Pressure (80%)
  • Exposed to Hazardous Equipment (71%)
  • Exposed to Contaminants (66%)
  • Responsible for Others' Health and Safety (55%)
  • Consequence of Error (39%)
  • Exposed to Minor Burns, Cuts, Bites, or Stings (37%)
SOURCES:
Salary and diversity
What do metal and plastic grinding, lapping, polishing, and buffing machine tool setters, operators, and tenders earn?
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) provides company-reported job titles and corresonding salaries. This data excludes self-employed workers.
Distribution: Salaries for metal and plastic grinding, lapping, polishing, and buffing machine tool setters, operators, and tenders (BLS Salary Data)
$36K$0$20K$40K$60K$80K$100K$120K
Context: Median salaries across careers (BLS Salary Data)
$36K$0$20K$40K$60K$80K$100K$120K
The American Community Survey (ACS) asks individuals to report their occupation and salary, and as such includes self-employed workers.
Distribution: Salaries for metal and plastic grinding, lapping, polishing, and buffing machine tool setters, operators, and tenders (ACS Salary Data)
$33K$0$20K$40K$60K$80K$100K$120K
Context: Median salaries across careers (ACS Salary Data)
$33K$0$20K$40K$60K$80K$100K$120K
Metal and Plastic Grinding, Lapping, Polishing, and Buffing Machine Tool Setters, Operators, and Tenders: Inflation-adjusted salary trend
This job's median $36KAll jobs' median $45K$35K$44K1112131415161718$0$20K$40K$60K$80K
A look at employers and corresponding salaries
The donut shares the break-down of workers by employer type, giving us a picture of what employers most typically hire metal and plastic grinding, lapping, polishing, and buffing machine tool setters, operators, and tenders.
Employers of Metal and Plastic Grinding, Lapping, Polishing, and Buffing Machine Tool Setters, Operators, and Tenders (ACS)
Private for-profit (97.4%)
Private not-for-profit (0.8%)
Local government (0.3%)
State government (0.1%)
Federal government (0.2%)
Self-employed incorporated (0.3%)
Self-employed not incorporated (0.8%)
Working without pay (0.1%)
Distribution: Salaries of metal and plastic grinding, lapping, polishing, and buffing machine tool setters, operators, and tenders by type of employer (ACS data)
Following are the salary distributions by employer type calculated by aggregating individual household survey responses.
$33K$33K$0$20,000$40,000$60,000$80,000Private for-profitAll
Distribution: Salaries of metal and plastic grinding, lapping, polishing, and buffing machine tool setters, operators, and tenders by type of employer (BLS data)
Following are the salary distributions by employer type as reported by BLS based on large employer-focused surveys. We note that smaller employer categories are not included by BLS.
$36K$0$20,000$40,000$60,000All

We only include salary data when the survey error is less than 20%, so you may see only partial information for some categories.

Salary growth for metal and plastic grinding, lapping, polishing, and buffing machine tool setters, operators, and tenders

Is this a job that rewards experience, or is this job most likely a part of a career ladder? The higher a job's experience quotient, the more experience is rewarded with pay increases. Jobs in the green range have the best rewards with experience.

Take a minute to look at how much you might expect your salary to increase with each five years' experience, as well as how the numbers working at each age change. Does this seem to be a job for the young or the old, or could it be a career offering steady salary growth for many years?

Salary distribution
$38K$38K$26K$40K$28K$37K$30K$38K$30K$0$20K$40K$60K$80K20-2425-2930-3435-3940-4445-4950-5455-5960-64
Number employed
02K4K6K8K20-2425-2930-3435-3940-4445-4950-5455-5960-64

We only include salary data when the survey error is less than 20%, so you may see only partial information for some categories.

Metal and plastic grinding, lapping, polishing, and buffing machine tool setters, operators, and tenders and gender

With 14% women, this occupation has a lower percentage of women than 74% of careers.

Context: Women in the workforce
14%0%20%40%60%80%100%
Gender of Metal and plastic grinding, lapping, polishing, and buffing machine tool setters, operators, and tenders
Men (86%)
Women (14%)
Distribution: Salaries by gender

The median (middle) salary for all full-time male workers in the US exceeds the full-time median salary for women by 19%, and the difference for metal and plastic grinding, lapping, polishing, and buffing machine tool setters, operators, and tenders tops that, with the median salary for men 29% higher than the median salary for women.

$27K$34K$0$20K$40K$60K$80KWomenMen
Context: Salary Inequity

The chart below shows the salary inequity, the percentage by which the median men's salary is higher than the median women's salary for all but about 20 jobs in which women typically earn more than men. Metal and plastic grinding, lapping, polishing, and buffing machine tool setters, operators, and tenders have one of the more significant inequity issues, with the increase in men's median salary over women's median salary even higher than that for 79% of other jobs.

29%0%20%40%60%80%100%

We only include salary data when the survey error is less than 20%, so you may see only partial information for some categories.

Race and origin of metal and plastic grinding, lapping, polishing, and buffing machine tool setters, operators, and tenders

Here we check out the diversity of origin in this career. There is a smaller percentage of minority metal and plastic grinding, lapping, polishing, and buffing machine tool setters, operators, and tenders than for 65% of other careers. Although this career does not include a large percentage of minorities, it does hire more foreign-born people that most other careers.

Race/origin of metal and plastic grinding, lapping, polishing, and buffing machine tool setters, operators, and tenders
White (76% )
Black (10% )
Other (7% )
Asian (3% )
Multiracial (2% )
American Indian (1% )
Hispanic (1% )
Pacific Islander (0% )
Context: Representation of minorities in the workforce
17%0%20%40%60%80%100%
Context: Representation of foreign-born workers
19%0%20%40%60%80%100%
Distribution: Salaries for metal and plastic grinding, lapping, polishing, and buffing machine tool setters, operators, and tenders by race/origin

For some careers, there is a pay disparity depending on race or origin, though this is not prevalent. We calculate standard errors for all of our calculations, and when the error is high we do not show results. Therefore, for some jobs will have omitted race/origin categories.

$29K$29K$32K$34K$0$20K$40K$60K$80KBlackOtherAsianWhite
Distribution: Salaries for metal and plastic grinding, lapping, polishing, and buffing machine tool setters, operators, and tenders by nativity
$31K$34K$0$20K$40K$60K$80KAll foreign-bornAll native citizens

We only include salary data when the survey error is less than 20%, so you may see only partial information for some categories.

Metal and plastic grinding, lapping, polishing, and buffing machine tool setters, operators, and tenders and Part-time/Full-time employment

We've found that somes jobs hava a huge number of part-time workers, and that typically most who are working part-time are doing so because they cannot find full-time work or the job they have cannot provide full-time hours. With 5% part-time workers, this occupation has a lower percentage of part-time workers than 77% of careers.

Context: Part-time workers in the workforce
5%0%20%40%60%80%100%
Why workers are part-time
Full-Time is less than 35 hours a week
Retired/Social Security limit on earnings
Could not find full-time work
Seasonal work
Slack work/business conditions
School/training
Health/medical limitations
Child care problems
Other family/personal obligations
Other reasons
Distribution: Salaries by part-time/full-time status

We only have enough data to accuarately show the salary distribution for full-time workers.

$33K$0$20K$40K$60K$80KFull-time workers
Pathways to this career
Education attained by metal and plastic grinding, lapping, polishing, and buffing machine tool setters, operators, and tenders

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), metal and plastic grinding, lapping, polishing, and buffing machine tool setters, operators, and tenders typically hold a high school diploma or equivalent.

Sometimes the typical education identified by the BLS differs a bit from the reality of the how much education current workers actually have. The donut shows the education level held by people currently working as metal and plastic grinding, lapping, polishing, and buffing machine tool setters, operators, and tenders as reported in responses to the American Community Survey.

Details: Education and training recommended for metal and plastic grinding, lapping, polishing, and buffing machine tool setters, operators, and tenders

Although most metal and plastic machine workers typically have a high school diploma, many computer numerically controlled machine tool programmers usually need to complete coursework beyond high school. Some community colleges and other schools offer courses and certificate programs in operating metal and plastics machines including CNC programming.

For most metal and plastic machine workers, high school courses in computer programming, vocational technology, algebra, geometry, trigonometry, and basic statistics are considered useful.

Details: Licensing and certification recommended for metal and plastic grinding, lapping, polishing, and buffing machine tool setters, operators, and tenders

Certification can show competence and can be helpful for advancement. The National Institute for Metalworking Skills  (NIMS) offers certification in numerous metalworking specializations.

Education attained by metal and plastic grinding, lapping, polishing, and buffing machine tool setters, operators, and tenders
None
High School
Some College
Associate's/Cert.
Bachelor's Degree
Master's Degree
Professional Degree
Doctorate
Distribution: Salary by education level

What level of education is truly needed for metal and plastic grinding, lapping, polishing, and buffing machine tool setters, operators, and tenders? Below we see the distribution of metal and plastic grinding, lapping, polishing, and buffing machine tool setters, operators, and tenders salaries based on the education attained.

$31K$34K$36K$41K$32K$0$20K$40K$60K$80KNone (22%)High School (51%)Some College (19%)Associate's/Cert. (5%)Bachelor's Degree (4%)

We only include salary data when the survey error is less than 20%, so you may see only partial information for some categories.

The Department of Education recommends the following college degree programs as preparation for this career. You can click a program row to learn more about the program and explore a list of schools that offer the program.

Number of degrees awarded in 2017
Education
Education level of awarded degrees
Associate's degree or certificate
Bachelor's
Graduate
Gender
Gender of graduates
Men
Women
Race/Origin
Race/origin of graduates
White
Minority
International
Switching Careers
The most common next careers for metal and plastic grinding, lapping, polishing, and buffing machine tool setters, operators, and tenders

What jobs will most metal and plastic grinding, lapping, polishing, and buffing machine tool setters, operators, and tenders hold next year?

The data in this chart comes from person interviews for the Census Bureau's Current Population Survey. The survey interviews households eight times over a two-year period, allowing us a glimpse into how people move from job to job. You can see more details from the results of the survey in our last tab in this section, and you can read about our methodology in our source descriptions.

Here we see all of the jobs that at least 1% of metal and plastic grinding, lapping, polishing, and buffing machine tool setters, operators, and tenders reported holding in their second year's survey. Is your future job on this list?

Metal and Plastic Grinding, Lapping, Polishing, and Buffing Machine ToolSetters, Operators, and TendersSpecialized production workers, including computer-controlled tooloperatorsntsAcsOcc_8220Specialized Assemblers and FabricatorsLaborers and Freight, Stock, and By-Hand Material MoversMachinistsWelding, soldering, and brazing workersCrushing, grinding, polishing, mixing, and blending workersFarmers, Ranchers, and Other Agricultural ManagersSpecialized Teachers and InstructorsMetal and Plastic Cutting, Punching, and Press Machine Setters,Operators, and TendersAccountants and AuditorsTool and Die MakersShipping, Receiving, and Inventory ClerksDental AssistantsGrounds maintenance workersBuilding CleanersDriver/sales workers and truck driversCleaners of Vehicles and EquipmentWholesale and Manufacturing Sales RepresentativesFurniture FinishersSheet Metal WorkersPainting workersElementary and Middle School School TeachersWoodworking Machine Setters, Operators, and TendersPrecision instrument and equipment repairersStructural Metal Fabricators and Fitters
Lateral job transitions for metal and plastic grinding, lapping, polishing, and buffing machine tool setters, operators, and tenders

A lateral career transition is a move to a job with similar pay and responsibilities. A move to such a job can offer a change of pace without an increase in stress or a decrease in pay. The following table simply identifies all 12 jobs which were held by at least 1% of survey respondents before working as metal and plastic grinding, lapping, polishing, and buffing machine tool setters, operators, and tenders as well as 1% of respondents after working as metal and plastic grinding, lapping, polishing, and buffing machine tool setters, operators, and tenders. Select a row to investigate the job's full description and determine if it truly offers an opportunity for a lateral transition.

Prior and next careers for metal and plastic grinding, lapping, polishing, and buffing machine tool setters, operators, and tenders: full listings

What do people typically do before and after they work as metal and plastic grinding, lapping, polishing, and buffing machine tool setters, operators, and tenders? Here are the full lists of all jobs that at least 1% of metal and plastic grinding, lapping, polishing, and buffing machine tool setters, operators, and tenders surveyed reported as holding a year earlier or later.

Variation by state
State-by-state employment numbers

Some careers tend to be centered in specific parts of the country. For example, most jobs in fashion are in New York or California. Let's see if your dream job is easy to find in your dream location! We have a few choices for viewing the data that can help you get a full employment picture.

Job density versus job count

Which states hire the most metal and plastic grinding, lapping, polishing, and buffing machine tool setters, operators, and tenders? We wonder if that's a fair question since states come in all sizes, so instead let's start with the question of which states have the highest density of people working as metal and plastic grinding, lapping, polishing, and buffing machine tool setters, operators, and tenders. You can choose to view the number of jobs per state if you prefer.

BLS vs ACS data

This map defaults to employment information from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), which provides job totals carefully compiled for accuracy and with a primary focus on how employers describe their workers. The BLS job totals do not count self-employed workers. We've also compiled totals using the Census Bureau's American Community Survey (ACS) which are based on how workers describe themselves. Sometimes ACS results are quite a bit different from the employer-based BLS data.

Choose the metric to review
Jobs per 1000 working
Number of jobs
Use this data source
BLS
Number of Metal and Plastic Grinding, Lapping, Polishing, and Buffing Machine Tool Setters, Operators, and Tenders per 1,000 workers (BLS)
Select a state to see local area details
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0.00.51.01.52.0
Salaries by state
Let's get a feel for where metal and plastic grinding, lapping, polishing, and buffing machine tool setters, operators, and tenders earn the highest salaries. There are several choices for which data we consider and how we view that data, and each can lead to different conclusions, so please read on...
Median salary versus state ratio

We use two methods to compare salaries across states:

  • In-state comparisons: the ratio of median (middle) salaries for metal and plastic grinding, lapping, polishing, and buffing machine tool setters, operators, and tenders compared to the median salary for all people working in each state, or
  • Median salary: the unaltered median salaries for metal and plastic grinding, lapping, polishing, and buffing machine tool setters, operators, and tenders.

We hope the ratio allows perspective about how salaries may compare to the regional cost-of-living.

BLS vs ACS data

We have two sources for statewide salary information with important distinctions. The BLS data is created by surveying companies, missing individuals who are self-employed or work for smaller companies. The ACS data is compiled from multi-faceted household surveys and may reflect the inconsistencies that people may have in reporting information.

Choose the metric to review
Location-adjusted median salary
Median salary
Use this data source
BLS
Location-adjusted median salary for Metal and Plastic Grinding, Lapping, Polishing, and Buffing Machine Tool Setters, Operators, and Tenders (BLS)
The darkest shading corresponds to states in which metal and plastic grinding, lapping, polishing, and buffing machine tool setters, operators, and tenders earn the highest salary when compared to other jobs in the state. We think this ratio might be a better indicator than the actual salary for your buying power as a state resident.
Select a state to see local area details
AKMEWIVTNHWAIDMTNDMNILMINYMAORUTWYSDIAINOHPANJCTRICANVCONEMOKYWVVAMDDEAZNMKSARTNNCSCDCOKLAMSALGAHITXFLPR
$0$20K$40K$60K
Compare to similar jobs

If this job interests you, then use the tabs and education selector to find other careers that might be a good fit for you.

How should the career similarity be computed?

There are a number of ways to measure the similarity of jobs, here are a few we provide:

  • Interests: Also known as a Holland Code - Are you a thinker? A helper? What fits your personality?
  • Environment: Are there hazards? Will you be comfortable? Will it be stressful?
  • Knowledge: What do you need to know the most about?
  • Physical Abilities: Do you need to especially strong or coordinated?