a dark blue TraitLab logo
Sign up

Have an account? Sign in

Career profile Tool Grinder

Also known as Cutter Grinder, Finisher, Grinder, Grinder Operator, OD Grinder Operator (Outer Diameter Grinder Operator), Saw Filer, Tool and Cutter Grinder, Tool Grinder

Tool Grinder

Also known as Cutter Grinder, Finisher, Grinder

Interests Profile
  • Realistic
  • Conventional
  • Investigative
Pay Range
$26,880 - $63,600 (annual)
Required Skills
  • Operations Monitoring
  • Operation and Control
  • Quality Control Analysis
Knowledge Areas
  • Mechanical
  • Mathematics
  • Production and Processing
Core tasks
  • Monitor machine operations to determine whether adjustments are necessary, stopping machines when problems occur.
  • Inspect, feel, and measure workpieces to ensure that surfaces and dimensions meet specifications.
  • Select and mount grinding wheels on machines, according to specifications, using hand tools and applying knowledge of abrasives and grinding procedures.
Is Tool Grinder the right career path for you?

Would Tool Grinder be a good fit for you?

Explore how your personality fits with Tool Grinder and hundreds of other career paths.

Get started with TraitLab

What does a Tool Grinder do?

Tool Grinders perform precision smoothing, sharpening, polishing, or grinding of metal objects.

What kind of tasks does a Tool Grinder perform regularly?

Tool Grinders are often responsible for overseeing or executing some or all of the following tasks:

  • Monitor machine operations to determine whether adjustments are necessary, stopping machines when problems occur.
  • Inspect, feel, and measure workpieces to ensure that surfaces and dimensions meet specifications.
  • Select and mount grinding wheels on machines, according to specifications, using hand tools and applying knowledge of abrasives and grinding procedures.
  • Compute numbers, widths, and angles of cutting tools, micrometers, scales, and gauges, and adjust tools to produce specified cuts.
  • Study blueprints or layouts of metal workpieces to determine grinding procedures, and to plan machine setups and operational sequences.
  • Turn valves to direct flow of coolant against cutting wheels and workpieces during grinding.
  • Set up and operate grinding or polishing machines to grind metal workpieces, such as dies, parts, and tools.
  • Dress grinding wheels, according to specifications.
  • Perform basic maintenance, such as cleaning and lubricating machine parts.
  • File or finish surfaces of workpieces, using prescribed hand tools.
  • Remove finished workpieces from machines and place them in boxes or on racks, setting aside pieces that are defective.
  • Remove and replace worn or broken machine parts, using hand tools.

The above responsibilities are specific to Tool Grinders. More generally, Tool Grinders are involved in several broader types of activities:

Controlling Machines and Processes
Using either control mechanisms or direct physical activity to operate machines or processes (not including computers or vehicles).
Getting Information
Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
Inspecting Equipment, Structures, or Materials
Inspecting equipment, structures, or materials to identify the cause of errors or other problems or defects.
Handling and Moving Objects
Using hands and arms in handling, installing, positioning, and moving materials, and manipulating things.
Organizing, Planning, and Prioritizing Work
Developing specific goals and plans to prioritize, organize, and accomplish your work.

What is a Tool Grinder salary?

The median salary for a Tool Grinder is $41,060, and the average salary is $43,670. Both the median and average roughly describe the middle of the Tool Grinder salary range, but the average is more easily affected by extremely high or low salaries.

Many Tool Grinders earn significantly more or less than the average, due to several factors. About 10% of Tool Grinders earn less than $26,880 per year, 25% earn less than $33,430, 75% earn less than $52,530, and 90% earn less than $63,600.

Between the years of 2020 and 2030, the number of Tool Grinders is expected to change by -1.6%, and there should be roughly 600 open positions for Tool Grinders every year.

Median annual salary
Typical salary range
$26,880 - $63,600
Projected growth (2020 - 2030)

What personality traits are common among Tool Grinders?


Career interests describe a person's preferences for different types of working environments and activities. When a person's interest match the demands of an occupation, people are usually more engaged and satisfied in that role.

Compared to most occupations, those who work as a Tool Grinder are usually higher in their Realistic interests.

Tool Grinders typically have very strong Realistic interests. Realistic occupations frequently involve work activities that include practical, hands-on problems and solutions. They often deal with plants, animals, and real-world materials like wood, tools, and machinery. Many of the occupations require working outside, and do not involve a lot of paperwork or working closely with others.


People differ in their values, or what is most important to them for building job satisfaction and fulfillment.

Compared to most people, those working as a Tool Grinder tend to value Support, Independence, and Working Conditions.

Most importantly, Tool Grinders strongly value Support. Occupations that satisfy this work value offer supportive management that stands behind employees.

Second, Tool Grinders somewhat value Independence. Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to work on their own and make decisions.

Lastly, Tool Grinders somewhat value Working Conditions. Occupations that satisfy this work value offer job security and good working conditions.

Psychological Demands

Each occupation brings its own set of psychological demands, which describe the characteristics necessary to perform the job well.

In order to perform their job successfully, people who work as Tool Grinders must consistently demonstrate qualities such as attention to detail, dependability, and independence.

Below, you'll find a list of qualities typically required of Tool Grinders, ranked by importance:

Attention to Detail
Job requires being careful about detail and thorough in completing work tasks.
Job requires being reliable, responsible, and dependable, and fulfilling obligations.
Job requires developing one's own ways of doing things, guiding oneself with little or no supervision, and depending on oneself to get things done.
Job requires being pleasant with others on the job and displaying a good-natured, cooperative attitude.
Job requires being open to change (positive or negative) and to considerable variety in the workplace.

What education and training do Tool Grinders need?

Working as a Tool Grinder usually requires a high school diploma.

Tool Grinders need anywhere from a few months to one year of working with experienced employees. A recognized apprenticeship program may be associated with this occupation.

Educational degrees among Tool Grinders

  • 18.5% did not complete high school or secondary school
  • 48.2% completed high school or secondary school
  • 21.1% completed some college coursework
  • 6.6% earned a Associate's degree
  • 4.8% earned a Bachelor's degree
  • 0.7% earned a Master's degree
  • 0.1% earned a doctorate or professional degree

Knowledge and expertise required by Tool Grinders

Tool Grinders may benefit from understanding of specialized subject areas, such as mechanical, mathematics, or production and processing knowledge.

The list below shows several areas in which most Tool Grinders might want to build proficiency, ranked by importance.

Knowledge of machines and tools, including their designs, uses, repair, and maintenance.
Knowledge of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, statistics, and their applications.
Production and Processing
Knowledge of raw materials, production processes, quality control, costs, and other techniques for maximizing the effective manufacture and distribution of goods.
Education and Training
Knowledge of principles and methods for curriculum and training design, teaching and instruction for individuals and groups, and the measurement of training effects.
Customer and Personal Service
Knowledge of principles and processes for providing customer and personal services. This includes customer needs assessment, meeting quality standards for services, and evaluation of customer satisfaction.

Important Abilities needed by Tool Grinders

Tool Grinders must develop a particular set of abilities to perform their job well. Abilities are individual capacities that influence a person's information processing, sensory perception, motor coordination, and physical strength or endurance. Individuals may naturally have certain abilities without explicit training, but most abilities can be sharpened somewhat through practice.

For example, Tool Grinders need abilities such as arm-hand steadiness, manual dexterity, and finger dexterity in order to perform their job at a high level. The list below shows several important abilities for Tool Grinders, ranked by their relative importance.

Arm-Hand Steadiness
The ability to keep your hand and arm steady while moving your arm or while holding your arm and hand in one position.
Manual Dexterity
The ability to quickly move your hand, your hand together with your arm, or your two hands to grasp, manipulate, or assemble objects.
Finger Dexterity
The ability to make precisely coordinated movements of the fingers of one or both hands to grasp, manipulate, or assemble very small objects.
Control Precision
The ability to quickly and repeatedly adjust the controls of a machine or a vehicle to exact positions.
Near Vision
The ability to see details at close range (within a few feet of the observer).

Critical Skills needed by Tool Grinders

Skills are developed capacities that enable people to function effectively in real-world settings. Unlike abilities, skills are typically easier to build through practice and experience. Skills influence effectiveness in areas such as learning, working with others, design, troubleshooting, and more.

Tool Grinders frequently use skills like operations monitoring, operation and control, and quality control analysis to perform their job effectively. The list below shows several critical skills for Tool Grinders, ranked by their relative importance.

Operations Monitoring
Watching gauges, dials, or other indicators to make sure a machine is working properly.
Operation and Control
Controlling operations of equipment or systems.
Quality Control Analysis
Conducting tests and inspections of products, services, or processes to evaluate quality or performance.
Equipment Maintenance
Performing routine maintenance on equipment and determining when and what kind of maintenance is needed.
Repairing machines or systems using the needed tools.

What is the source of this information?

The information provided on this page is adapted from data and descriptions published by the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration under the CC BY 4.0 license. TraitLab has modified some information for ease of use and reading, and the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment, and Training Administration has not approved, endorsed, or tested these modifications.

If you have any questions or suggestions about this information, please send a message.