Career Map: General Machinist
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General Machinists cut, shape, and finish metal to make machine parts used in all areas of manufacturing. They use metal-cutting machines and specialized equipment to fabricate these precision parts. General Machinists work in manufacturing companies and machine shops.
Certification Requirements in Ontario
Certification to work in a trade in Ontario is called a Certificate of Qualification. This is often referred to as the C of Q. Trade certification for General Machinists in Ontario is available through Labour Market and Training Division Apprenticeship offices of the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities. The governing legislation for this trade is the Apprenticeship and Certification Act (1998).
Certification for this trade in Ontario is voluntary. This means that General Machinists can work without being certified. Although certification is not required, it is recommended. Most General Machinists working in Ontario are certified, and most employers ask for the C of Q and for the C of A (Certificate of Apprenticeship). Certified General Machinists have better employment opportunities and earn higher wages.
To become a certified General Machinist in Ontario you must do one of the following:
- complete a four-year apprenticeship. Apprenticeship includes on-the-job training (about 90% of the apprenticeship) and some in-school training (about 10% of the apprenticeship). Apprenticeship is a training agreement between a person who wants to learn a skilled trade and an employer who needs a skilled worker and is willing to train an apprentice. An apprentice earns wages while working and learning the skills necessary to become a qualified tradesperson or journeyperson. Apprentices receive a Certificate of Apprenticeship when they complete their training. Employers often request this certificate as proof of training and experience.
- complete four years of experience as a General Machinist
- prove equivalent training and experience
When you have done this, you must also:
- Complete and submit an application for the Certificate of Qualification.
- Pay the required fees.
- Write and pass the Certificate of Qualification Exam.
Competencies Required to Practise Your Trade in Ontario
Before you can receive government certification you must complete training that covers the competencies listed in the Apprenticeship Training Standards – General Machinist. This document lists in detail all of the skills and work tasks that General Machinists must be able to demonstrate in order to be eligible to write the Certificate of Qualification Exam. In Ontario, an employer who sponsors an apprenticeship would sign off on each of the following competencies during an apprenticeship:
- Protect self and others.
- Plan and prepare for machining jobs.
- Perform work-in-process dimensional and surface verification.
- Perform bench work.
- Perform sawing.
- Perform drilling using drill press/machines.
- Perform machine grinding.
- Perform lathe work.
- Perform milling.
- Perform numerically controlled (NC) and computerized numerically controlled (CNC) machining.
As an internationally trained General Machinist, you must be able to prove that you have these skills before you can write the Certificate of Qualification Exam.
When you apply for certification as a General Machinist you are not required to pass an English language test, to become certified, you must write a technical multiple-choice exam, which requires knowledge and understanding of English terms for this trade.
The job requires excellent language skills. General Machinists must be able to read and interpret blueprints, charts and tables, and to write reports and maintain records. You must also be able to give and receive instructions clearly and effectively.
There is no automatic certification for internationally trained tradespeople in any trade in Ontario, but there is an assessment process that evaluates the training and experience of tradespeople trained in other countries.
The length of time that it will take you to become certified will depend on how closely your training and experience matches the training standards for your trade in Ontario. To become certified as an General Machinist it can take as little as two weeks, if you are immediately eligible to write the certification exam, or as long as four years if you complete a full apprenticeship.
Before You Emigrate to Canada
The Apprenticeship Training Standards – General Machinist is a useful reference for internationally trained Machinists who are unfamiliar with the terminology used and the skills required in Ontario. You can get a copy of this booklet from an Apprenticeship Office in Ontario. There is a list of these offices at the end of this fact sheet.
You will need proof of your training and experience. Collect documents that prove your skill level as a machinist. Include letters from employers or unions, diplomas, and other documents that describe your training and the work tasks you have performed. These documents must also show where and how long you have worked as a General Machinist. It is important to include as much information as possible about your years of experience and your duties at work because the evaluation of your skills will be based on your on-the-job experience.
When You Arrive in Ontario
The Labour Market and Training Division Apprenticeship offices process all applications for trade certification in Ontario. When you arrive in Ontario, contact the office in your area and make an appointment to see a training consultant. There is a list of addresses and telephone numbers at the end of this fact sheet. If you haven’t already requested a copy of the Apprenticeship Standards – General Machinist, you can get one from these offices.
Step 1. Meeting a Training Consultant
The training consultant will ask you for documents that describe your past work experience and training. Take as many of these documents as possible to this first meeting:
- Your Social Insurance Number (SIN)
- Letters from current and past employers, dated and written on company letterhead, showing the company name and address, the exact dates of your employment, the number of hours that you worked, your title, and a complete description of your job duties
- A letter from a union with the same information as above, if applicable
- Trade certificates, diplomas, or licences
- Official school transcripts, if available. Include a detailed list of the subjects covered in each course, and the length of each course
If these documents are in a language other than English or French, bring a translation that is signed by a registered translator, a notary public, or a lawyer.
The training consultant will use these documents to compare your work experience to the requirements for certification as a General Machinist in Ontario.
Step 2. Assessment of your Previous Training and Experience
The training consultant will assess your documents and compare your training and experience to that required in Ontario. If your documented experience is equivalent to that required of an apprentice in Ontario, you will be eligible to write the Certificate of Qualification exam. You will then complete an Application for the Certificate of Qualification.
If your documented experience is not equivalent to Ontario’s training requirements, you may have to get more training and work experience.
Training and Work Experience, if required
You can get training and experience in your trade through an apprenticeship. An apprentice earns wages while learning the skills necessary to become a journeyperson (certified tradesperson). To get a position as an apprentice you must apply directly to employers. You can find employers by looking in the Yellow Pages (the telephone directory for businesses), or local newspapers. Employers sometimes place job ads at government employment agencies. Employers want a well-written resume that tells them how you will benefit their business and the trade.
Once you find an employer who is willing to sponsor your apprenticeship, you and the employer enter into an apprenticeship agreement. You must register the apprenticeship agreement with a Labour Market and Training Division Apprenticeship office.
Because a Certificate of Qualification is not mandatory for General Machinists in Ontario, you are not required to complete and apprenticeship. The benefits of completing an apprenticeship are that you earn while you learn, you can receive financial assistance with your school training, if needed, and you will receive a Certificate of Apprenticeship, which some employers ask for. Also, well-trained and certified Machinists receive higher wages.
Attestation of Competencies
In addition to providing documentation above, you will be asked to complete and sign an Attestation of Competencies. This document is an oath that you make, stating that you have all the competencies required for the trade. This Attestation of Competencies will be considered as proof that you are able to do the work of a General Machinist. A false attestation is a serious criminal offence.
Step 3. Application for the Certificate of Qualification
When you have met the requirements for certification, you will complete an Application for the Certificate of Qualification.
Step 4. Exam Preparation
The Certificate of Qualification Exam includes both the in-school and on-the-job training, but focuses mainly on the skills that General Machinists need to succeed in the workplace. Because of this, many workers who don’t have work experience in Ontario find the exam difficult.
If you received your training in another country and it has been recognized as equivalent to Ontario’s standards, you can prepare for the exam by reviewing the Apprenticeship Training Standards–General Machinists. This booklet describes the skills that apprentices gain while working in Ontario. Make sure that you understand all of the competencies described in this document, but don’t forget that the exam will test your ability to perform each task as well as your understanding of the theory.
You can also study textbooks used in machining training courses. Two recommended textbooks are:
- Machining Fundamentals: From Basic to Advanced Techniques by J.R. Walker. Published by Goodheart-Willcox. ISBN 1566376629
- Technology of Machine Tools by Steve Krar and Albert Check. Published by Glencoe-McGraw Hill. ISBN 0028030710
These are two of the texts used in training courses for General Machinists. They are available at most community college bookstores and libraries, local libraries, and may also be available at other bookstores in your community. Your training consultant can give you more information about textbooks for your trade.
Community training centres (community colleges, union training centres, and private trade schools) offer pre-exam or exam preparation courses. These courses will help you review the theory for your trade and give you some practice in writing the exam. Courses can cost from $100.00 to $600.00 depending on the length and content of the course. Information on exam preparation courses is available at apprenticeship offices, in community college calendars (available at a public library, on community college Websites or get your own calendar by calling the college). Your training consultant can give you more information about courses for your trade.
Some community settlement agencies in Ontario may also offer special training courses for internationally trained General Machinists. Contact the Ontario Council for Agencies Serving Immigrants (OCASI) at the address shown at the end of this fact sheet. OCASI can provide information about settlement agencies in your community.
You can also visit www.settlement.org for information online.
Step 5. Certification of Qualification Exam
You may write the Certificate of Qualification examination for Machinist at a Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities’ Labour Market and Training Division Apprenticeship office, once you have either completed an apprenticeship or been approved based on your work experience for this trade. The exam is available year-round, usually by appointment. You can arrange a date to write the exam during your meeting with a training consultant, or you can call the Labour Market and Training Division Apprenticeship office to make an appointment to write the exam. You must show photo ID on the day of the exam.
Description of the Exam
The Certificate of Qualification Exam is a written exam with multiple-choice questions. The General Machinist exam contains about 135 multiple-choice questions based on workplace procedures and tasks.
You are allowed three hours to complete the exam. Dictionaries, pencils, erasers, calculators and paper are available in the exam room. If you bring your own dictionary you will be asked to submit it to the proctor for inspection. If you have any special needs (extra time, translator, etc.) you must make arrangements with the examining apprenticeship office before the day of the exam.
If you have difficulty with English you can get help from a reader (a translator). Readers can be anyone whose English skills are strong; they may be relatives, friends or interpreters from your community. The Apprenticeship Office must approve each reader, and readers must sign a statement that they don’t have any training or experience in the trade. Apprenticeship Offices have lists of approved readers in your community if you need help finding one.
Approved readers can translate the parts of the exam that you don’t understand, but they are not allowed to help you answer the questions. The exam is highly technical, so make sure that you choose someone who knows English well, but who does not have knowledge of machining. You may need more time to write the exam if you use the help of a reader, so make arrangements with the office before the day of your exam.
The pass mark for the Certificate of Qualification Exam is 70%.
Re-writing failed exams
Your exam results will be mailed to you. The results sheet will detail the score as a percentage for each section of the exam, so if you fail, you will know which areas you still need to improve. You can rewrite the exam after fifteen days.
If you fail the exam twice, you will be required either to take a refresher course to upgrade your training or to get more work experience before you can try the exam again. There is a $100.00 fee every time you write the exam.
Step 6. Certificate of Qualification
If you pass the exam, your Certificate of Qualification will be mailed to you. You can get copies of the certificate from the apprenticeship office. The fee for an official copy is $60.00. General Machinists receive a lifetime certificate and renewal is not required.
Some trades in Ontario are Red Seal trades. Red Seal trades have similar standards across Canada, so certification is transferable.
General Machinist is a Red Seal trade. You will receive a Red Seal on your certificate that will allow you to work in other Canadian provinces and territories that accept the Red Seal.
Fees and Costs(In Canadian Dollars)
|Application for the Certificate of Qualification||no fee|
|Registration of an apprenticeship,|
|Certificate of Qualification examination||$100|
|Rewriting failed exams (re-examination)||$100|
Training and Upgrading
General Machinists work in industries that are constantly changing, and where computer knowledge is increasingly required. The trend in machining today is toward numerically controlled (CNC) machines. General Machinists keep up to date in their trade by attending training and upgrading workshops, seminars and courses. Your chances of employment and promotion will improve if you have additional training and certificates.
In Ontario there are several training centres that offer training and upgrading courses, often as weekend or evening courses. The cost for these courses is between $100.00 and $600.00. You may want to contact an Ontario College of Applied Arts and Technology (community college), trade associations or unions for more information. See the contacts at the end of this fact sheet and ask your training consultant for suggestions about a contact in your area.
Labour Market Information
The major employers for General Machinists in Ontario are motor vehicle manufacturers, machinery and equipment manufacturers, motor vehicle parts manufacturers, primary steel producers, aircraft and parts manufacturers, hardware, tool and cutlery manufacturers, and machine shop firms. Most jobs for General Machinists are found in South Western Ontario.
General Machinists generally work full time. The average schedule is five days a week, for a total of 35-40 hours, although shift work and overtime is common. The salary for General Machinists varies according to the workplace and local labour market conditions. The average salary ranges between $20,000 annually for an apprentice and $46,000 annually for a journeyperson (certified tradesperson) excluding overtime and bonuses.
For more information on labour market conditions see Ontario Job Futures at www.ontariojobfutures.net or on the Human Resources Development Canada (HRDC) website. In Ontario, this information is available in the Ontario Job Futures binder at public libraries or HRDC Employment Resource Centres in your community.
Related Trades and Occupations
Occupations most closely related to that of machinist are other machining occupations. These include tool and die makers; machine setters/fitters, mould maker, tool/tooling makers, machine-tool builders, pattern makers.
Different job titles used in for General Machinist are machining inspector, machinist, machinist apprentice, and maintenance machinist, machine setter/fitter, precision lathe machinist, precision milling machinist, and precision grinder.
Machining is the foundation for other precision metal-cutting trades With further training General Machinists can work in other machinist and tooling trades such as mould maker, machine-tool builder, tool/tooling maker, pattern makers and tool and die maker. With experience and training General Machinists can become CNC programmers (top machinist) and CNC Specialist.
For information on these and other related occupations see Ontario Job Futures on the Human Resources Development Canada (HRDC) Website, www.hrsdc.gc.ca or at www.ontariojobfutures.net. In Ontario, the Ontario Job Futures binder is available at public libraries or HRDC Employment Resource Centres in your community.
MTCU apprenticeship Offices in Ontario
To order a copy of Apprenticeship Training Standards, to get more information about certification, or to make an appointment with a training consultant, contact the MTCU apprenticeship office in your community.
MTCU apprenticeship offices in Ontario
Last updated January 31, 2011
|Barrie||55 Cedar Point Dr.|
Barrie, ON L4N 5R7
|Belleville||135 North Front St.|
Belleville, ON K8P 3B5
|Brantford||505 Park Rd. N., Ste. 201|
Brantford, ON N3R 7K8
|Chatham||870 Richmond St. W.|
Chatham, ON N7M 5J5
|Cornwall||132 Second St. E., Ste. 202|
Cornwall, ON K6H 1Y4
|Hamilton Central||Ellen Fairclough Building|
119 King St. W., 5th Flr.
Hamilton, ON L8P 4Y7
|Kenora||227 1/2 Second St. S.|
Kenora, ON P9N 1G4
|Kingston||299 Concession St., Ste. 201|
Kingston, ON K7K 2B9
|Kitchener||4275 King St. E., Ste. 200|
Kitchener, ON N2P 2E9
|London||217 York St., Ste. 201|
London, ON N6A 5P9
|Mississauga||The Emerald Centre|
10 Kingsbridge Garden Cir., Ste. 404
|North Bay||447 McKeown Ave., Ste. 104|
North Bay, ON P1B 9S9
347 Preston St., 3rd Flr.
Ottawa, ON K1S 3H8
|Owen Sound||Service Ontario Building|
1450 1st Ave. W., Ste. 100
Owen Sound, ON
|Pembroke||400 Pembroke St. E.|
Pembroke, ON K8A 3K8
|Peterborough||901 Lansdowne St. W.|
|Pickering||1420 Bayly St., Unit 1|
Pickering, ON L1W 3R4
150 Christina St. N., Main Flr.
Sarnia, ON N7T 7W5
|Sault Ste. Marie||Roberta Bondar Place|
70 Foster Dr., Ste. 150
Sault Ste. Marie, ON
|St. Catharines||Garden City Tower|
301 St. Paul St., 10th Flr.
St. Catharines, ON
|Sudbury||159 Cedar St., Ste. 506|
Sudbury, ON P3E 6A5
|Thunder Bay||189 Red River Rd., 1st Flr., Suite. 103|
Thunder Bay, ON
5520 Hwy. 101
South Porcupine, ON
|Toronto Central||625 Church St., 1st Flr.|
Toronto, ON M7A 2B8
3155 Howard Ave., 2nd Flr., Ste. 200
Windsor, ON N8X 4Y8
For information on certification requirements and training in Ontario, contact:
- Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities - training hotline (no charge in Ontario ): 1-800-387-5656; website: www.ontario.ca/employmentontario
- the MTCU apprenticeship office in your community (see the addresses and fax and telephone numbers listed above)
For information about the machining trade in Ontario contact:
For information on the machining industry in Canada contact:
Machinery & Equipment Manufacturers' Association of Canada
Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters
5995 Avebury Road, Suite 900
Mississauga, Ontario L5R 3P9
Telephone: (905) 568 8300 ext. 257
Fax: (905) 568 2876
For information on a Machinists union in Ontario contact:
International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers
15 Gervais Drive, Suite 707
North York, Ontario M3C 1Y8
Telephone: (416) 386-1789
Fax: (416) 386-0210
For information on the metalworking manufacturing industry see the magazine:
Canadian Machinery & Metalworking
Rogers Media, Publishing
777 Bay Street , 6th Floor
Toronto, Ontario M5W 1A7
Fax: (416) 596-5881
For information on where to get help once you arrive in Ontario contact:
Ontario Council of Agencies Serving Immigrants (OCASI)
110 Eglinton Avenue West, Suite 200
Toronto, Ontario M4R 1A3
For information about accessing professions and trades in Ontario, contact:
Government of Ontario
Ministry of Citizenship and Immigration
Global Experience Ontario (GEO)
Tel: 416-327-9694 or 1-866-670-4094
TTY: 416-327-9710 or 1-866–388-2262