Is a Career in CNC Machining Right for You?

Industrial Engineering

CNC Machining

If you are detail-oriented, like numbers and enjoy working with technology, the area of Computer Numerically Controlled (CNC) machining may be a good career choice. This field is crucial to manufacturing, so the job outlook looks very good in the coming years.

Why Is CNC Machining Important?

CNC machines are involved in all types of manufacturing. They are used to make everything from automobile parts to medical equipment and are an integral part of 21st century industry. CNC machining can make precise cuts, grinds and holes for applications that require extreme precision.

What Do CNC Operators Do?

People who run CNC machines are usually responsible for making sure the equipment is in good order, setting it up, programming it and producing the finished part. In large companies, those tasks could be shared over several employees, but in a small shop, one person might do the whole thing.

What Education Do You Need?

CNC Operators usually go to a trade school. A high school diploma or GED is required by most employers, and many will hire people who attended a vocational-technical or career center for CNC machining in high school. Some institutions offer associate degrees in CNC machining, and there are three levels of certification available through the National Institute for Metalworking Skills (NIMS). These programs look at programming and using CNC equipment and skill in machining in general. After the initial training, many operators work as apprentices for a few years before becoming fully certified.

What Does a CNC Operator Make?

The Bureau of Labor Statistics lists the median salary for CNC operators at $45,000 a year. Salaries can depend upon where you live, so consider that figure an estimate. The good thing, though, is that there are jobs for CNC operators everywhere and the job outlook is good for the future.

The demand for CNC operators is high and expected to remain that way. This can be an interesting career for people who enjoy math, machines and technology.