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Precision Assemblers

At a Glance

  • Are skilled workers
  • Put together objects, from watches to cars
  • Read and interpret drawings and blueprints
  • Often work alone
  • May work overtime
  • Most train on the job

Career summary

Precision assemblers build complex products from manufactured parts.

Job titles for precision assemblers often reflect the products they make. Some workers may be called electrical and electronic equipment assemblers, electromechanical equipment assemblers, watchmakers, clockmakers, and engine or machine assemblers.

Precision assemblers are skilled workers. They perform a series of complex tasks to produce products such as:

Precision assemblers may work on the parts that go into products, or on the final assembly of finished products. Precision machine builders put together engines, turbines, and many types of machinery. Assemblers of electrical and electronic equipment build missile control systems, radio or test equipment, and radar. Other assemblers produce and test unusual devices, such as ejection seat mechanisms.

Precision assemblers read drawings and blueprints to learn about the item they will work on. Some assemblers shape parts on metalworking machines or using hand and power tools. Most use parts made by other workers. Assemblers lay out the parts for assembly. They may drill or tap holes in parts to provide openings for wiring. In electrical equipment, they connect wiring according to diagrams.

Precision assemblers inspect and test parts for defects. Some assemblers repair or replace defective parts. Others adjust voltages or redo wiring. Assemblers use a variety of hand and power tools and precision instruments to repair and test parts.

Some assemblers write reports about production, time, and component waste. Others pack finished units for shipment. They may teach customers how to install and maintain their products. They may work with engineers to test products or solve problems, or in teams with other assemblers.

Related careers

This career is part of the Manufacturing cluster of careers.

Related careers include:

Job duties

Task list

The following list of tasks is specific to precision assemblers.

Common work activities

Precision assemblers perform the following tasks. These tasks are common to many careers.

Work requirements

Working conditions

In a typical work setting, precision assemblers:

Interpersonal relationships

Physical work conditions

Work performance


Physical demands

Precision assemblers frequently:

It is important for precision assemblers to be able to:

It is not as important, but still necessary, for precision assemblers to be able to:

Skills and abilities

Precision assemblers need to:


Reason and problem solve

Work with things

Perceive and visualize

Education and training

Educational programs

The programs of study listed below will help you prepare for the occupation or career cluster you are exploring.

Programs of study directly related to this occupation

Other programs of study to consider


To work as a precision assembler, you typically need to:

Education after high school

Some electrical and electronic precision assemblers complete formal training programs. Some professional-technical schools and two-year colleges offer electronic technology programs. In these programs you learn how to assemble electronic systems. You also learn about electrical circuitry and testing.

On-the-job training

Most precision assemblers learn their skills on the job. An experienced worker usually leads your training. Some employers provide classroom training. Training generally lasts up to a year, but may last longer depending on the item being assembled.

Helpful high school courses

You should take a general high school curriculum that meets the state's graduation requirements. You will be required to take both math and science classes to graduate.

Helpful electives to take in high school that prepare you for this career include:

The courses listed above are meant to help you create your high school plan. If you have not already done so, talk to a school counselor or parent about the courses you are considering taking.

You should also check with a teacher or counselor to see if work-based learning opportunities are available in your school and community. These might include field trips, job shadowing, internships, and actual work experience. The goal of these activities is to help you connect your school experiences with real-life work.

Join some groups, try some hobbies, or volunteer with an organization that interests you. By participating in activities you can have fun, make new friends, and learn about yourself. Maybe one of them will help direct you to a future career. Here are examples of activities and groups that may be available in your high school or community.

Things to know

Most employers prefer applicants with at least a high school diploma or equivalent. Employers of electrical or electronic assemblers may require technical school. Employers usually will accept military training in electronics. Many employers promote less-skilled workers in their companies to jobs as precision assemblers.

Good eyesight, with or without glasses, is required for assemblers who work with small parts. Good color vision is required for electrical and electronics assemblers. All types of precision assemblers need good eye-hand coordination. They also must be able to carry out complex tasks quickly and accurately.

Employers look for applicants who can work as part of a team and have good work habits. Firms with government contracts may require a certificate for soldering. Some employers require applicants to be able to speak, read, and write English. Employers may allow applicants to substitute basic mechanical skills for experience on another job. They might also ask applicants to demonstrate the skills needed to perform a specific task.


Taking courses such as basic electronics and electricity, component identification, and soldering in high school or at a community or technical college is helpful. Machine shop courses may be helpful. Try out the work as a temporary employee.

Costs to workers

Some precision assemblers may be required to join a union and pay an initiation fee and monthly dues.

Job listings

Listed below are links to job categories from the National Labor Exchange that relate to this career. Once you get a list of jobs, you can view information about individual jobs and find out how to apply. If your job search finds too many openings, or if you wish to search for jobs outside of Washington, you will need to refine your search.

To get a listing of current jobs from the WorkSource system, go to the WorkSource website (external link).


Currently, there is no statewide specific wage information available for timing device assemblers and adjusters.

Electrical, electronic, and electromechanical assemblers, except coil winders, tapers, and finishers (SOC 51-2028)

Pay Period
Washington Hourly $13.32 $15.70 $18.66 $24.64 $30.14
Monthly $2,308 $2,721 $3,234 $4,270 $5,223
Yearly $27,700 $32,650 $38,820 $51,250 $62,690
    Bellingham Hourly $12.72 $13.54 $14.89 $18.39 $25.45
Monthly $2,204 $2,346 $2,580 $3,187 $4,410
Yearly $26,469 $28,161 $30,981 $38,256 $52,925
    Bremerton-Silverdale Hourly $16.50 $18.46 $22.20 $27.38 $32.26
Monthly $2,859 $3,199 $3,847 $4,745 $5,591
Yearly $34,321 $38,398 $46,160 $56,951 $67,104
    Kennewick-Richland Hourly $13.44 $15.07 $17.66 $22.07 $28.68
Monthly $2,329 $2,612 $3,060 $3,825 $4,970
Yearly $27,955 $31,328 $36,751 $45,915 $59,659
    Mount Vernon-Anacortes Hourly $15.67 $16.64 $18.24 $22.42 $28.02
Monthly $2,716 $2,884 $3,161 $3,885 $4,856
Yearly $32,583 $34,623 $37,934 $46,642 $58,277
    Olympia-Tumwater Hourly $13.89 $15.97 $17.58 $19.10 $26.24
Monthly $2,407 $2,768 $3,047 $3,310 $4,547
Yearly $28,885 $33,210 $36,581 $39,718 $54,569
    Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue Hourly $13.93 $16.41 $19.77 $26.22 $31.13
Monthly $2,414 $2,844 $3,426 $4,544 $5,395
Yearly $28,982 $34,132 $41,116 $54,520 $64,760
    Spokane-Spokane Valley Hourly $12.35 $13.89 $17.51 $22.24 $27.47
Monthly $2,140 $2,407 $3,034 $3,854 $4,761
Yearly $25,688 $28,890 $36,415 $46,257 $57,152
    Vancouver Hourly $11.96 $13.93 $16.83 $19.80 $24.90
Monthly $2,073 $2,414 $2,917 $3,431 $4,315
Yearly $24,873 $28,985 $34,999 $41,180 $51,792
United States Hourly $11.00 $13.03 $16.18 $20.16 $24.97
Monthly $1,906 $2,258 $2,804 $3,494 $4,327
Yearly $22,880 $27,100 $33,660 $41,930 $51,930

Engine and other machine assemblers (SOC 51-2031)

Pay Period
Washington Hourly $15.41 $17.55 $21.13 $25.09 $32.59
Monthly $2,671 $3,041 $3,662 $4,348 $5,648
Yearly $32,050 $36,500 $43,940 $52,180 $67,800
    Vancouver Hourly $14.48 $16.98 $20.71 $23.94 $26.20
Monthly $2,509 $2,943 $3,589 $4,149 $4,540
Yearly $30,120 $35,306 $43,088 $49,802 $54,512
United States Hourly $13.74 $16.52 $21.34 $27.09 $30.37
Monthly $2,381 $2,863 $3,698 $4,695 $5,263
Yearly $28,590 $34,350 $44,380 $56,340 $63,170

Timing device assemblers and adjusters (SOC 51-2093)

Pay Period
Washington Wages for this occupation are not available.
United States Hourly $12.56 $13.84 $16.66 $21.13 $26.12
Monthly $2,177 $2,398 $2,887 $3,662 $4,527
Yearly $26,120 $28,790 $34,650 $43,950 $54,320

Wages vary by industry and area of the country. Wages also vary based on the worker's skill and level of education. The complexity of the machinery operated, and the products assembled also affects wages. In addition, wages may be higher for union members.

Benefits vary by employer. Most full-time precision assemblers receive benefits. Typical benefits include paid vacation, sick leave, and health insurance.

Employment and outlook

Washington outlook

The table below provides information about the number of workers in this career in various regions. It also provides information about the expected growth rate and future job openings.

Engine and Other Machine Assemblers (SOC 51-2031)

Location Current employment Growth over 10 years Annual openings
Washington 1,376 10.0% 16.1% 172
    Adams, Chelan, Douglas, Grant, and Okanogan Counties 51 19.6% 13.4% 7
    Clark, Cowlitz, and Wahkiakum Counties 30 16.7% 15.2% 4
    Grays Harbor, Lewis, Mason, Pacific, and Thurston Counties 23 8.7% 14.1% 3
    King County 448 17.6% 19.6% 65
    Kittitas, Klickitat, Skamania, and Yakima Counties 15 0.0% 13.8% 2
    Pierce County 293 -1.7% 15.2% 27
United States 48,700 -16.6% 5.2% 4,500

Timing Device Assemblers, Adjusters, and Calibrators (SOC 51-2093)

Location Current employment Growth over 10 years Annual openings
United States 800 -25.0% 5.2% 100

Electrical, Electronic, and Electromechanical Assemblers, Except Coil Winders, Tapers, and Finishers (SOC 51-2028)

Location Current employment Growth over 10 years Annual openings
United States 279,600 -3.0% 5.2% 30,500

National employment

Major employers:

National outlook

Demand for this occupation will decline. Two factors will contribute to this decline for precision assemblers. One will be increasing automation. As more manufacturers use machines and robots to perform tasks once done by workers, fewer assemblers will be needed. Another factor will be growing international production. Many companies will send work to countries where labor costs are lower. The most growth will occur in the aircraft parts and manufacturing.

Job openings will occur as current workers leave the field. Job prospects are best for those with vocational training and certifications.

Other resources

International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (external link)
900 Seventh Street NW
Washington, DC 20001
Washington Business Week (external link)
PO Box 1170
Renton, WA 98057


Career cluster

Career path

O*Net (external link) occupations

O*Net job zone (external link)

DOT occupations

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