Lathe operators use machines called lathes to process raw materials into parts and other components. Their employers can service a variety of different industries, like the automotive, furniture, aerospace, and medical fields. This is an entry-level position that doesn’t require any education past high school. Employers may also require their lathe operators to have industry-specific certifications. Lathe operators usually work in a workshop environment around industrial machinery. They report directly to lead machinists or shop managers.