Tool and Die Makers

(NOC 7232)

in All Trades and Transportation

Tool and die makers make, repair, and modify custom-made, prototype or special tools, dies, and fixtures. They work in manufacturing industries like automotive, aircraft, metal fabrication, electrical machinery, and plastics, and in tool and die, mould making and machine shops. This group also includes metal patternmakers and metal mould makers.

Job Outlook

Undetermined

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  • Estimate change in employment not available for this occupation.
  • Estimate 0 openings due to growth and retirements, 2021-2023
  • Estimate rate of unemployment not available for this occupation.

Compared to: All Trades and Transportation

  • Estimate 4040 employment change, 2021-2023
  • Estimate 8425 openings due to growth and retirements, 2021-2023
  • Estimate rate of unemployment not available for these occupation.

Outlook: undetermined - an outlook was not determined for this occupation due to too few workers in Nova Scotia.
Size of the occupation in Nova Scotia: small with infrequent job opportunities.
Demand: Employment is expected to remain largely the same over the next few years. A moderate number of positions will become available due to retirements.
Work hours: full-time, usually. Both permanent and temporary positions are common.

Hourly Pay

N/A

Minimum

N/A

Median

N/A

Maximum

Annual Pay

N/A

Minimum

$49,657

Median

N/A

Maximum

Compared to: All Trades and Transportation

Hourly Pay

$15.00

Minimum

$24.00

Median

$37.00

Maximum

Annual Pay

$7,580

Minimum

$37,269

Median

$79,787

Maximum

About the job

Nature of work

Tool and die makers make, repair, and modify custom-made, prototype or special tools, dies, and fixtures. They work in manufacturing industries like automotive, aircraft, metal fabrication, electrical machinery, and plastics, and in tool and die, mould making and machine shops. This group also includes metal patternmakers and metal mould makers.

Job duties

Tool and die makers:

  • Read and interpret engineering drawings and specifications of tools, dies, prototypes or models.
  • Prepare templates and sketches and determine work processes.
  • Calculate dimensions and tolerances and set up machine tools.
  • Position, secure, measure and work metal stock or castings to lay out for machining.
  • Set up, use and maintain a variety of conventional and computer numerically controlled (CNC) machine tools to cut, turn, mill, plane, drill, bore, grind, or otherwise shape workpiece to prescribed dimensions and finish.
  • Verify that machined parts meet specifications using precision measuring instruments like verniers, calipers, micrometers, coordinate measuring machines (CMM) and electronic measuring devices.
  • Fit and assemble or disassemble parts using hand tools.
  • Test completed tools, dies, jigs or fixtures for proper operation.
  • May program CNC machine tools.

Metal patternmakers:

  • Machine, fit and assemble castings and other parts to make precision models of required shape like metal patterns, core boxes and match plates.
  • Lay out, shape, and assemble patterns of metal, wood, plastic and other materials from blueprints, models, or templates.
  • May program CNC machine tools.

Metal mould makers:

  • Machine, fit and assemble parts to make metal moulds and cores for plastic injection moulding, or other production processes.
  • May program CNC machine tools.

Sample job titles

  • die cutter
  • die finisher
  • die fitter
  • die mouldmaker
  • die repairer
  • injection moulding tool and die maker
  • jig and form maker
  • precision tool maker
  • tool and die maker

Skills

  • Communication skills
  • Mechanical aptitude
  • Attention to detail
  • Hand-eye coordination
  • Manual dexterity
  • Ability to troubleshoot
  • Ability to work independently and as part of a team
  • Logical reasoning ability
  • Advanced mathematic and applied science abilities
  • Above average spatial ability
  • Ability to plan and think sequentially
  • Workers should be knowledgeable about the properties of metal and non-metallic materials like plastic, rubber, and composite materials.
  • Workers should be comfortable working with tools.
  • Employees in automated shops must be comfortable using computer equipment.

Job requirements

  • High school or equivalent (usually).
  • A combination of over five years of work experience in the trade and some high school, college, or industry courses in tool and die making is required to be eligible for trade certification.
  • Trade Qualifier option, 10,800, and other criteria.
  • Certification for tool and die makers is voluntary in Nova Scotia.
  • Write and score a minimum of 70% on the Red Seal exam for tool and die makers.
  • Red Seal Endorsement (RSE) allows for interprovincial mobility.
  • Mould makers usually require completion of a four-year apprenticeship or college program in mould making.
  • Patternmakers usually require completion of an apprenticeship or college program in patternmaking.

Other considerations

  • Tool and die makers usually work indoors in tool rooms, machine shops, and manufacturing environments.
  • Risks include working with moving machine parts, flying chips, sharp edges, and extreme heat from heated materials. They may be lifting and moving heavy components.
  • Precautions are required when working with manufacturing chemicals, airborne irritants, compressed gasses, toxic lubricants, and cleaners.
  • The work requires long periods of time standing.
  • Some tool and die makers may specialize in design, prototyping, automation equipment fabrication, tool and cutter making, heat treating, test equipment, gauge making, jig and fixture making, die making, mould making, assembly, inspection and programming. They may also be involved in research and development.
  • Tool and die makers may work with other professionals like machinists, mould makers, industrial mechanics (millwrights), designers, programmers, and engineers.
  • Workers need to keep up with changing technology. The use of sophisticated computer-controlled equipment has transformed the work of machinists and will continue to do so.
  • Experienced tool and die makers may become team leaders, supervisors, managers, instructors, or business owners.
  • With additional training they may transfer their skills to design and engineering responsibilities.
  • Their skills are transferrable to related occupations like machinist, mould maker, pattern maker, industrial mechanic (millwright), and CNC programmer.
  • Everyone has fair access to participate and succeed in the apprenticeship system. Everyone who develops the necessary skills and abilities should be able to succeed in the trades and trade qualification system. Work environments in the province support women and equity-seeking communities.

By the numbers

Quick look

< 50

employed in 2016

100.0%

employed full-time

33.3%

self employed

0.0%
Icons/female Created with Sketch.
100%
Icons/male Created with Sketch.
52.2

median age

Compared to: All Trades and Transportation

57,925

employed in 2016

85.9%

employed full-time

11.8%

self employed

5.3%
Icons/female Created with Sketch.
94.7%
Icons/male Created with Sketch.
46.8

median age

Where will I likely work?

42.9%

North Shore

N/A
28.6%

Southern

N/A
28.6%

Halifax

N/A

Compared to: All NS Occupations

47.0%

Halifax

15.6%

North Shore

12.9%

Annapolis Valley

12.7%

Cape Breton

11.8%

Southern

Top Industries of Employment

55.6%

Manufacturing

22.2%

Accommodation and food services

22.2%

Public administration

What is the age of Employment?

43.0%

45-54

29.0%

55-64

29.0%

35-44

Compared to: All Trades and Transportation

24.4%

45-54

22.1%

55-64

17.7%

35-44

17.7%

25-34

10.9%

15-24

Top levels of education

42.9%

College Diploma

N/A
28.6%

High school

N/A
28.6%

Trade Certification

N/A
28.6%

Diploma Below Bachelor

N/A

Compared to: All Trades and Transportation

29.2%

Trade Certification

$46,494 median annual income
25.5%

High school

$31,260 median annual income
22.3%

College Diploma

$42,050 median annual income
18.7%

Less than high school

$28,319 median annual income
2.8%

Bachelor

$30,527 median annual income

Education & training

High School Diploma or Equivalent

High School Program

Adults without a high school diploma can contact the Nova Scotia School for Adult Learning (NSSAL) for tuition-free programming across the province. NSSAL oversees adult education programs in Nova Scotia. NSSAL partners with the Nova Scotia Community College, Adult High Schools, Université Sainte-Anne, and community-based learning organizations to deliver programs. NSSAL offers clear, accessible pathways from adult basic education to a high school credential or GED.

Institutions providing this program

Universite Sainte-Anne

Pointe-de-l'Église, NS

Nova Scotia Community College

Various, NS

Adult High Schools

Various, NS

Community Learning Organizations

Various, NS

Machine Tool Technology/Machinist - Pre-apprenticeship College Program

College or Trades Program

These programs prepare students to apply technical knowledge and skills to plan, manufacture, assemble, test, and repair parts, mechanisms, machines, and structures in which materials are cast, formed, shaped, moulded, heat treated, cut, twisted, pressed, fused, stamped or worked.

Institutions providing this program

Nova Scotia Community College

Various, NS

Tool and Die Technician

College or Trades Program

These programs prepare students to apply technical knowledge and skills to operate machine tools used in the forming of metal components, as well as the fabrication of special tools, dies, jigs and fixtures used in cutting, working and finishing metal components.

Institutions providing this program

Nova Scotia Apprenticeship Agency

Halifax, NS

Employment requirements & contacts

Regulations

Tool and Die Maker

Certificate of Qualification (Voluntary): This is a designated trade in Nova Scotia. Employers may require certification, but a certificate is not needed to legally work in this trade.

Regulating body:
Nova Scotia Apprenticeship Agency
Halifax, NS

Contacts

Canadian Tooling and Machining Association
Cambridge, ON

Additional resources

There are no additional resources for this occupation.