CNC Machinist Career, CNC Operator Salary

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CNC Machinist Career, CNC Operator Salary

What Is a CNC Machinist

Are you a student Graduated from Mechanics, or dropout from high school now considering to find a job as a CNC (computer numerical control) machinist? Do you love machined tools or parts, enjoy problem solving with good patient and Attention to detail.

Being a CNC Machinist is a hands-on career using manufacturing and computer software technology that produces custom parts for a variety of industries. Keep reading to discover more information for a cnc machinist career.

What is a CNC Machinist

The CNC Machinist makes custom parts and tools for a variety of industries and machines. The process of CNC Machining is very technical, and requires a lot of precision and attention to detail.

The CNC Machinist create custom parts and tools by cutting metal or plastic materials with a computer-guided machine (CNC, computer numerical control system), such as a CNC lathe or CNC milling machine. For example, the CNC Machinist may make automobile engine parts like pistons or spark plugs. The machining process typically involves programming the machine to cut aluminum metal using specific parameters such as feed rate, depth of cut, and tool path direction.

Depending on the requirements of custom parts and tools, CNC machinists may be responsible for different day-to-day tasks. They typically ensure the parts are being producing correctly and precisely to meet CAD drawing specifications by using right raw material, programming properly, set up machinery correctly and maintain it works functionally. 

What does a CNC Machinist do

A CNC Machinist operates computerized machine tools to produce precision metal parts, he is usually responsible for the accuracy of the manufactured part, and while some machinists operate manual lathes or mills, most of them work on computer-controlled manufacturing equipment. These machines require the operator to input specific data for each machining operation, such as cutting speed and feed rate.

—The CNC machinist uses a CAD/CAM system to design the shape of a component or model, and then cut it with a computer-controlled machine tool.

  1. A CNC machinist is responsible for reading and interpreting engineering plans. They use different tools to create parts with perfect precision.
  2. A CNC machinist can also be called a programmer or a CAM operator. They are trained in the use of computer-aided manufacturing equipment.
  3. They are specialists in computer-aided design, drafting, engineering, and programming software. They are also skilled at various milling machines and lathes, tools for making precise cuts on metal or other materials.
  4. CNC machinists are highly valued individuals because they can be employed in almost any industry which uses metal cutting tools to make things

CNC Machinist Job duties may include:

  • -examining designs and drawings to determine the number of parts, placement of parts, and work sequence;
  • -aligning and assembling parts according to design specifications;
  • -loading tooling into machine tool for cutting/machining operation;
  • -operating controls that monitor progress of machining or that operate cutting tools manually.

How Much does a CNC Machinist Make

How Much does a CNC Machinist Make

A CNC machinist starts with an average annual salary between $25,000 and $60,000. If you are a skilled machinist who has completed many years of training then your salary will be much higher – usually around $100,000.

A CNC machinist does a variety of tasks. They work with computer numeric control machines, cutting metal parts from a programmed design by means of a milling or turning process. The typical duties that a CNC machinist would be involved in are cutting metal parts from a programmed design by means of a milling or turning process, setting up and adjusting the machine’s controls according to the specifications given by the engineer, inspecting the finished product for errors and flaws, and using precision measuring instruments such as verniers to assure accuracy.

The median annual wage for CNC machinists is $43,880.

CNC Operator Salary


A CNC machinist is a machine operator who operates a computer-controlled machine for manufacturing parts.

The median annual wage of a CNC machinist in 2018 is $50,990.

The average hourly wage of a CNC machinist in 2018 is $26.11 per hour.

CNC Machinists are employed in the manufacturing sector and may work with another metalworkers or other trades workers to manufacture parts from metal or plastic.

CNC operators play an important role in the manufacturing and production process. They use sophisticated and computerized machinery to produce a wide range of parts and components.

The median annual wage for CNC machine operators is $25,500, with the top 10% making $42,350.

CNC operators are responsible for feeding the CNC machine with raw materials such as rubber or plastic and then pressing buttons or turning keys to operate them. If you want to know how much do cnc operators make an hour, the answer is not fixed because it varies from one company to another.

CNC Operator Salaries by years of experience in the United States
Years of experiencePer hour
1 to 2 years$16.56
3 to 5 years
6 to 9 years$19.91
More than 10 years$21.54

A CNC Operator is a person who operates computer numerical control (CNC) machine tools. CNC machine tools are automated machines that use various machine tools to create parts. Some of these machines include lathes, milling machinery, and grinding machinery.

A CNC operator controls the movement of the cutting tool on the workpiece on these machines to create parts with high accuracy. The CNC operator also adjusts the speed and feeds on these machines so as to produce accurate parts within desired time frame.

To become a CNC Operator, you need usually 2-3 years of post secondary education or vocational training in machining or engineering technology fields like engineering design technology or engineering mechanics. It is also advisable to possess experience working with UNIX operating systems, CAD/CAM software like Pro-E.

Is CNC operator a good job?

CNC operator is a career that has many benefits. For example, it’s a profession that is in demand across the world. With the global population growth, there will be more people who need homes, restaurants, furniture and more. And with some of these items being made from hard materials like steel or granite, they’ll need to be cut using CNC machines.

The other positive aspect of this career is that it offers steady work with excellent job security. There are always going to be new buildings being built and construction sites around the world where CNC operators are needed to do their job.

Finally,  cnc operator is good job as a good career.

How to become a CNC Machinist

How to become a CNC Machinist

The first and foremost important thing is to choose your trade school or college which you would like to attend for CNC Machinist Training to become a cnc machinist. You must make sure that the school has a good training program for this trade and that you like it as well because you will be spending the next few years of your life there.

The training program for CNC machinists can last from 14 months up to two years depending on which trade school or college you go to and what type of job they offer as well. It is important that you like what it is that this particular school offers because if not then it could be very difficult for you to stay motivated and continue with this process.

Requirements for becoming a CNC machinist can vary depending on the employer. In most cases, a high school diploma or GED is required to become a CNC machinist.

In addition to this, machinists will need to complete some form of training, whether it’s on the job or through a training program like NASCAR Tech’s CNC Machining Technology program. The benefit of completing a program like this is the ability to gain foundational skills in a short amount of time before entering the workforce — which can catch the eye of employers and give you an advantage when applying for jobs.


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Author: Mose Li

Director of Project Engineering at 3Q Machining

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