Job and Die Setters


Education and Training Requirements

High School

Employers usually prefer to hire high school graduates who have good basic skills and have taken algebra, geometry, and trigonometry. Metal or machine shop, industrial arts, and blueprint reading are also helpful. Competency in English is necessary because of the operating explanations a setup operator must give to machine tenders.

Postsecondary Training

Job and die setters begin their careers as machine tool operators. After they become skilled and knowledgeable about machining processes and the products being manufactured, they may be promoted to setup work. It often takes several years of observing and assisting experienced coworkers to become competent in adjusting the feed and speed of machines and changing cutting tools. Setup operators also learn how to read blueprints and plan work sequence in addition to making machine adjustments. Sometimes this training occurs in a formal training program that includes classroom instruction as well as on-the-job observation. In the last 10 years, some apprenticeships have also been developed for these jobs. For example, die setters in metalworking manufacturing now have a formal apprenticeship program through National Institute for Metalworking Skills.

Other Education or Training

The National Tooling and Machining Association, Precision Machined Products Association, Precision Metalforming Association Educational Foundation, and the Fabricators and Manufacturers Association, International offer continuing education classes and webinars. Contact these organizations for more information.

Certification, Licensing, and Special Requirements

Certification or Licensing

There is no licensing required for job and die setters. The National Institute for Metalworking Skills offers certification for workers that perform work with metal dies and machines. The Fabricators and Manufacturers Association, International offers the precision sheet metal operator certification program.

Experience, Skills, and Personality Traits

Job and die setters begin their careers as machine tool operators. You will need to have three to five years of experience as an operator to ensure you are familiar with the equipment and be qualified to work as a job and die setter.

To obtain a supervisory position you may be required to have at least one to two years of experience as a job or die setter.

Today's job and die setters need to have some computer skills, as these workers in some industries may use equipment that is operated by computers. In addition, the job requires physical strength, stamina, and strong mechanical skills.

To be a successful setup worker, you should be interested in machines and have an aptitude for mechanical processes. The ability to work independently, with precision and attention to detail, is important. Finally, strong communication skills are a plus, since setters are responsible for showing machine tool operators how to carry out machining operations.