Career Guide  
CNC Machine Operator
I. Job Outlook:

II. Job Requirements/Prerequisites:

III. Education/Training Resources:

IV. Getting A Job:

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Occupation Overview

Technological advances have allowed manufacturing industries to increase both their productivity and quality. These same advances have resulted in a need for more skilled workers, able to operate machines like computers, robotic equipment, and Computer Numerically Controlled (CNC) machines. While the overall number of machine operators is expected to decline, the employment of CNC operators is expected to increase.


Future Growth Opportunities

Opportunities for Advancement:

CNC Machine Operators can advance to roles in supervision of other workers, or to inspecting the completed work of others. They can also advance to CNC Programmer, or oversee multiple machines.

Skills Transferable to:

Machinist, Tool and Die makers, woodworking machine operators, and metal pattern makers.


Job Descriptions

No Experience: $7-12/hr

Experienced: $10-21/hr

CNC Machine Operators are responsible for the development of precision-machined metal parts used in manufactured goods. CNC machines are made of cutting and shaping tools such as a milling machine, a lathe, or a punch press, and are controlled by a computer. The machine operator loads programs, positions work pieces, and attaches the tools required for the particular piece. Some operators are also responsible for debugging new computer programs, ensuring the manufactured piece meets specifications, maintaining the equipment and assembling the pieces. CNC Machine Operators work from written instructions.

CNC Tool Programmers work from blueprints and determine the size and position of cuts, select appropriate cutting tools, and calculate the feed and cutting speed rates. More and more, CAD is being used to create the programs.

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