How to Become a CNC Machinist: The Definitive Guide

How to Become a CNC Machinist: The Definitive Guide
Last updated at November 1, 2021

CNC stands for machines that are Computer Numerically Controlled. The operator of these machines is known as a machinist or, a CNC machinist.

CNC machines help in developing a range of parts and devices. From computer and engine parts vacuum cleaners and motorcycle parts.

CNC works with the help of codes incorporated into a computer module. It generally produces big quantities of a particular part.

CNC operators are typically in metalworking industries because computers happen to be accurate compared to a human hand and it also helps in minimizing the cost of production. They sometimes even double as motorcycle mechanics in their hobby time.

What Does a CNC Machinist Do?

The operators feed to their machine, the necessary computer program as per the production requirement. They then configure or set up the machine and initiate the job to be completed.

Once the machine starts, the operator closely examines it and detects if it is working properly or not, so that flaws can be rectified. Since operators do not have a lot to do with the machines, they look after many machines at the same time.

The CNC machinist’s utmost responsibility is to check tools for their sharpness and utility. They must wear an appropriate uniform like safety glasses to avoid injuries while performing the job. They also detect malfunction using instruments for precision measuring like dial calipers.

Certification & Education

  • For CNC machinists, having diploma from high school or comparable GED is adequate.
  •  They also require training on the job for few months to achieve expertise.
  • To set a uniform competency standard and for expanding their levels in skill, many colleges and training facilities offer certification.

Skills Required

  • They need to possess an ability to comply with and express written and oral communications.
  • He must be physically fit.
  • He must have proper knowledge of the machines.

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CNC Machinist Salary

The job prospects for a CNC operator are excellent. Experienced CNC operators can get promoted to CNC programmer or machinery mechanic. Skillful operators can advance to tool and die-making while others can open their own shop.

According to, the average CNC Machinist Programmer salary in the United States is $53,632 as of June 28, 2021, but the salary range typically falls between $47,526 and $60,764. Salary ranges can vary widely depending on many important factors, including education, certifications, additional skills, the number of years you have spent in your profession.

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