Jigs and dies and gauges. Learn what they are, what they do and how to make a career out of using and making them.
Tool & Die Apprentice Image
Tool & Die Apprenticeship
Program Number: 504393
Your Degree:
Area of Study:
Construction, Manufacturing and Maintenance
Delivery Method:
100% In Person
Estimated Time to Complete:
1 Credits | Finish paid training and class time in 4 years
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Estimated Program Cost

  • Program Overview

    Work Description

    Tool and die makers analyze specifications, lay out metal stock, set up and operate machine tools, and fit and assemble parts to make and repair dies, cutting tools, jigs, fixtures (devices that hold metal while it is shaped, stamped or drilled), gauges and machinist’s hand tools. Die makers construct metal forms (dies) to shape metal in stamping and forging operations.

    Working Conditions

    Tool and die makers usually work in tool rooms. These areas are quieter than the production floor because there are fewer machines in use at one time. They wear protective equipment, such as safety glasses to shield against bits of flying metal and earplugs to protect against noise. They spend much of the day on their feet and may do moderately heavy lifting.


    • 5-year training program
    • 10,400 hours of on-the-job training
    • 512 hours of paid related instruction
    • Possible additional hours of unpaid related instruction

    Classwork training usually consists of mathematics, mechanical drawing, tool designing, tool programming and blueprint reading.

    Learn more from the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development.

    Program Details

    Tool & Die Apprenticeship classes may be offered at these Madison College campuses:

    • Madison - Truax
    • Portage 
  • Curriculum and Experience

    Prospective program students, the information below reflects the basic requirements for students admitted for the 2023-2024 academic year. To learn more about Madison College, visit us.

    Current and newly admitted program students, go directly to your Degree Progress Report to view:

    • Progress toward your specific requirements
    • Alternative (in lieu of) courses to meet specific requirements

    If you have questions after reviewing your degree progress report (advisement report), please see Advising Services.

    First Semester
    Second Semester
    Third Semester
    Fourth Semester
    Fifth Semester
    Sixth Semester
    Seventh Semester
    Eighth Semester
    Complete 1 of the following to complete the Eighth Semester
  • Admission

    How to Apply for a Tool and Die Apprenticeship

    Tool and die apprenticeship applicants must find an apprenticeship with a sponsoring employer on his or her own (similar to looking for a job). Once the applicant has found a position, the employer starts the apprenticeship registration process by contacting a Bureau of Apprenticeship Standards (BAS) Representative for their county.

    Application Requirements

    • Entry requirements vary by employers
    • High school diploma or equivalent
    • Physically able to perform trade
    • Applicants apply directly to participating employers

    All apprenticeships require an employer sponsor. After passing the application process, you will be responsible for finding an employer to sponsor you as an apprentice before you may begin the program.

  • Career Outcomes

    Madison College Tool and Die Apprenticeship graduates are prepared to:  

    • Read Blueprints – Understand and interpret the types of lines used on shop drawings and part prints, apply tolerances and symbols, identify threads, tapers, and machined surfaces, and develop good sketching techniques.
    • Perform Bench Work – Identify mechanical hardware and hand tools, precision measuring instruments, part layout, threading with taps and dies, files, and hand and power saws, and practice general shop safety.
    • Work Engine Lathes – Basic lathe construction, single-point tool geometry, high-speed and carbide tool applications, and lathe operations including, turning, facing, grooving, boring, drilling, reaming, threading, taper turning, knurling, cut-off and safety.
    • Work Tool-Room Milling Machines – Vertical mill construction and operation, end milling, side milling, key ways, boring and counter-boring, drilling and reaming, and follow safety procedures.
    • Operate Surface and Cylindrical Grinders – Basic construction and operation, wheel selection, work-holding methods and grinder safety.
    • Understand Metallurgy – Properties and applications of both ferrous and non-ferrous metals.
    • Understand Mathematics – Fractions, decimals, ratio and proportion, cutting speeds and feeds, basic algebra, geometry and trigonometry.
    • Understand Jig and Fixture Design – Describe the basic functions of jigs and fixtures, explain the difference between locators and supports and select appropriate clamping mechanisms.
    • Knowledge of Computer Assisted Manufacturing (CAM) – Utilize CAM programs such as Feature-Cam to produce tool-paths for Computer Numerically Controlled (CNC) lathes and milling machines.
    • Knowledge of Computer Numerical Control (CNC) – Set up and operate CNC lathes and milling machines using Computer Assisted Manufacturing tool-paths.
    • Knowledge of Electrical Discharge Machines (EDM) – Describe the principles of EDM operation, compare electrode materials, discuss electrode machining methods, determine flushing requirements, and relate spark frequency to surface finish and metal removal rates.
    • Understand Mold Making and Die-Cast Dies – Compare the properties of Thermoplastic and Thermoset plastics, explain the purpose of the various systems of plastic injection molding machines, explain the function of various mold components, select the appropriate metals for cavities, cores and mold bases, describe the different machining operations that may be used to produce mold cavities, cores and bases, calculate runner, gate and venting requirements, and demonstrate mold-polishing techniques.
    • Understand Basic Die Making (Metal Stamping Dies) – Identify basic die components, explain the differences between blanking and piercing dies, calculate cutting and stripping forces, determine burr-side location, calculate bend allowances, develop stock strip layouts, calculate scrap-web allowances, explain the use of pilots, compare fixed and traveling strippers, calculate die spring requirements, and select appropriate steels for punches and dies.
    • Graduate Summary

      Graduate Report Summary Overview

      Number of Program Graduates25
      Number of Surveys Sent
      Number of Surveys Returned
      Percent of Surveys Returned
      Available for Employment00
      Percent Available for Employment
      Not in Labor Market
      Percent Not in Labor Market
      Available for Employment

      Graduates Employed00
      Percent of Graduates Employed
      Employed in Related Occupation00
      Percent Employed in Related Occupation
      Employed in Unrelated Occupation00
      Percent Employed in Unrelated Occupation
      Employed - No Response00
      Percent Employed - No Response
      Seeking Employment00
      Percent Seeking Employment
      Reaction To Training at Madison College

      Student satisfaction Mean (Out of 4)00
      Number of Satisfaction Responses00
      Very Satisfied (4)00
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      Satisfied (3)00
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      Unsatisfied (2)00
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      Very Unsatisfed (1)00
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      Primary Reason for Attending Madison College

      Number of Primary Reason Responses00
      Preparation for Getting a Job00
      Percent Preparation for Getting a Job
      Career Change00
      Percent Career Change
      Improvement of Existing Skills00
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      Preparation for Further Education00
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      Personal Interest00
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      When Employment was Obtained

      Number of When Employment Obtained Responses00
      Before Enrollment00
      Percent Before Enrollment
      While Attending the College00
      Percent While Attending the College
      After Training at the College00
      Percent After Training at the College
      Location of Employment (related and unrelated)

      Number of Employment Location Responses00
      In College District00
      Percent In College District
      In Wisconsin, Not in District00
      Percent of In Wisconsin
      Outside of Wisconsin00
      Percent Outside Wisconsin
      Employer Location Unknown00
      Percent Location Unknown
      Salary Trend
      Salary Trend20202021
      Full Time Employment (Related Job)Full Time Salary Count
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      Part Time Employment (Related Job)Part Time Salary Count
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Contact the School of Technologies and Trades

Madison Truax Campus
Main Building, A2105

1701 Wright Street
Madison, Wisconsin 53704



Monday - Thursday: 8:00 am - 4:30 pm
Friday: 8:00 am - 4:30 pm (phone or email only)