Approximately 8,400 layout workers are employed in the United States. Most layout workers work for small tool and die companies and precision machining shops that are located both in small towns and metropolitan areas. However, most jobs are found in geographic regions where manufacturing is concentrated. Layout workers are also employed in plants that manufacture automobiles, machine tools, components, textiles, and aircraft.
In most companies, positions in the layout department are filled from within by promotion or reassignment. This is because the work requires a solid foundation in all aspects of the machining operation. Skilled machinists, who have obtained additional training through classes or workshops, often qualify for layout work. Prospective machinists enter the field by applying for apprenticeships with local machinist unions or joint apprenticeship training programs.
Several advancement opportunities are open to layout workers with the proper qualifications. If they can deal well with people and possess good judgment and planning skills, they may progress to a supervisory position, such as shop supervisor. Another possibility for the worker who has attended a technical school is to move into experimental and design work, process planning, or estimating. In addition, layout workers can easily transfer to other work, such as machine programming, which is becoming more important as machines become more technically sophisticated. Finally, some layout workers open machine shops of their own.
Tips for Entry
Try to land a summer job in a machine shop or manufacturing operation to get firsthand experience in the field.
Visit https://www.pma.org/foundation/https://members.ntma.org/eweb/dynamicpage.aspx?webcode=JobBank for job listings.
Talk to layout workers about their careers. Ask them for advice on breaking into the field.