A tool and die maker is a type of machinist that specializes in making tools, jigs, molds, and dies. These craftsmen are normally trained more then standard CNC machinists as they have to get their parts exactness to sometimes a thousandth of an inch. In order to get these levels of error a tool and die maker may need to employ machining techniques such as Electrical Discharge Machining or Swiss machining, each requiring their own level of advanced training.
In order to become a tool and die maker machinist you will at minimum need to do a 4-5 year apprenticeship under a journeyman machinist. It is also recommend that you at least complete an associates of applied science program in CNC machining that is NTMA certified in order to get into the higher level shops. Government, research, and defense contractors normally require education combined with experience in order to work for them.
All this higher education and training does lead to a increase in salary in comparison to other machinists. If you are able to land a position at a government research institute you can make upwards of $75,000 a year though this salary level is rare. On average you will be looking to make $50,000 a year as a tool and die maker. Tool and die makers are looking at a 6% job growth per year so by the time you complete your training it should be fairly easy for you to get a position as an apprentice.
The job the self is usually standing in front of a computer or whiteboard writing out formula or programming CNC machines. It is a very safe field though some deaths occur due not following standard safety procedures. You can expect to work overtime during crunch periods in some shops but normally you will only be working during normal business hours.