Fact Checked

What does a Millwright do?

D. Jeffress
D. Jeffress

A millwright performs installations and repair work on large industrial machines, especially the equipment that is used in manufacturing facilities and machinist shops. He or she usually decides where big equipment will go in a facility, oversees the installation process, assembles parts, conducts test runs, and fine tunes finished jobs. When a machine stops working properly, the factory will call on this person to troubleshoot, make repairs, and replaced damaged parts. Professionals occasionally specialize with certain types of machinery, though most have a very broad understanding of many different kinds of equipment, from large electricity generators to wind turbines to assembly line robots.

When a facility needs a new piece of equipment, a millwright is consulted to make recommendations and supervise the entire process. A professional generally visits a facility to conduct a safety inspection and determine the placement of new machines. He or she then obtains the appropriate equipment and oversees its initial installation. This person helps to assemble smaller parts and checks blueprints to make sure all pieces are accounted for. Professionals in this field also perform routine preventative maintenance on older machines and make repairs when necessary.

Millwrights repair industrial machines.
Millwrights repair industrial machines.

Millwrights use their expert skills to install and service power generators, turbines, mining devices, assembly line machinery, machinist tools, and other pieces of heavy equipment. They supervise crane operators and other construction workers during the process of setting a machine in place. During the assembly of small or sensitive parts, they typically make careful measurements and use precision tools. Finished projects frequently require such professionals to make fine adjustments and ensure that equipment works properly.

Millwrights service wind turbines, among other large machines.
Millwrights service wind turbines, among other large machines.

To enter this field, a person must usually possess a high school diploma, though some employers only hire those who have completed two year training programs at vocational school or community college. Someone new to the job typically works as an apprentice for four to five years, assisting established workers and learning the trade firsthand. Once an apprentice gains enough experience and proves his or her abilities, he or she is allowed to take on large projects.

A millwright may need to have expert welding skills.
A millwright may need to have expert welding skills.

Most millwrights work for large manufacturing and construction companies. though some find work with private distributors of heavy machinery. An experienced one who has gained enough respect in the field may be able to open his or her own contracting business. Professionals in all job settings must take extreme care to ensure that all parts are installed correctly and kept in proper working order to preserve expensive machines and ensure the safety of workers.

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Discussion Comments


@BadJohnson: I am trying to find qualified millwrights. Where would you suggest I look for them? --Elizabeth L.


What safety equipment do you think every Millwright should use? I am putting together a presentation and I have an idea, but want some feedback.


I have heard that people who want these types of jobs and are beginning their careers now usually need more than just a high school education; especially for more complicated machinery, a college degree is preferred.


Millwrighting is a great job to have -- I should know, I've been doing it for forty years now! The pay is generally very high, and the work plentiful. Even in depressed economic times the millwrights job must be done, it’s a matter of safety, which is regulated by the government.

Millwright apprenticeships are hard to find, but if you can get into one, if machining is something you’re interested in, go for it.

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    • Millwrights repair industrial machines.
      By: michaeljung
      Millwrights repair industrial machines.
    • Millwrights service wind turbines, among other large machines.
      By: Gianluca Rasile
      Millwrights service wind turbines, among other large machines.
    • A millwright may need to have expert welding skills.
      By: roman023
      A millwright may need to have expert welding skills.