CNC Machines

What is a CNC Machine Operator?

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Jacky C

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A CNC machine operator is a professional who uses computer-controlled machinery to create or modify metal and other materials. This process is known as machining. CNC machine operators typically work in manufacturing plants and use their skills to produce parts and products according to specifications.

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Job Description

As a CNC machine operator, you will be responsible for running computer-controlled machines that cut, shape, and drill metal and other materials. You will need to be able to load the material into the machine, program the machine, and operate it. you will also need to be able to inspect the finished product to ensure that it meets quality standards.


A CNC machine operator is responsible for the set up and operation of a computer numerical control (CNC) machine. They are responsible for reading and understanding blueprints or engineering plans to determine the best way to set up the machine to produce the desired outcome.

CNC machine operators use machines that automatically control tooling and routines using a computer program. The CNC machine operator is responsible for starting up the machine, inputting the code that tells the machine what to do, and then monitoring the progress of the job. If there are any issues, they will need to make necessary adjustments to ensure that the job is completed correctly.

CNC machine operators typically work in manufacturing or production settings, though they can be found in other industries as well. They may work in a team environment or independently.


In order to be a CNC Machine Operator, you will need to have strong technical skills. You will be required to know how to operate the machine, as well as program it. You will also need to have strong mathematical skills, as you will be required to calculate dimensions and tolerances. Furthermore, you must be able to work independently and follow directions. Finally, it is important that you are able to work well under pressure and meet deadlines.

Work Environment

Although CNC machine operators typically work in manufacturing plants, machine shops or other industrial environments, those who work for companies that make parts or products that must meet stringent aesthetic standards may work in clean rooms. The work can be noisy and dirty, and the hours can be long and hard, but most CNC machine operators find the work interesting and challenging.


CNC machine operators typically work regular full-time hours. In some cases, overtime may be required in order to meet production deadlines. Night and weekend shifts may also be available in some facilities.


Depending on their specialty, CNC machine operators may work in either a factory setting or a metalworking shop.

Factory settings are usually large industrial plants that produce a variety of products. Metalworking shops are much smaller businesses that often create parts for other companies. The work environment for a CNC machine operator can be loud and dusty, so it is important to wear appropriate ear and respiratory protection.

Education and Training

A CNC machine operator is someone who uses a computer to control a machine that cuts or engraves metal, wood, or other materials. CNC machine operators must have a high school diploma or equivalent and complete on-the-job training. Some CNC machine operators learn their trade through an apprenticeship.

High school diploma or equivalent

A high school diploma or equivalent is typically required to become a CNC machine operator. However, some employers may prefer or require candidates to have some postsecondary education, such as a certificate or associate’s degree in computer numerical control (CNC) or machining. Some machine operators receive on-the-job training that can last up to a year. Many CNC machine operators must complete periodic continuing education courses to stay up to date on the latest technology and machinery.

Certificate or diploma from a trade school

A certificate or diploma from a trade school that offers machine operator training is the most common education requirement for becoming a CNC machine operator. Operator training programs typically last one year or less and cover topics such as safety, blueprints, metallurgy, and mathematics.


The average salary for a CNC Machine Operator is $17.50 per hour. The salary range for a CNC Machine Operator is between $14.00 and $21.00 per hour.

Median annual salary (2019)


Job Outlook

CNC machine operators are in high demand due to the growing popularity of automated machines in many industries. Many businesses are looking for ways to increase efficiency and reduce costs, and CNC machine operators can help them do that. The job outlook for CNC machine operators is very positive, and the salary is also very competitive.

Employment growth (2018-2028)

In 2018, the estimated number of CNC machine operators was 573,700. Employment is expected to grow 9 percent from 2018 to 2028, much faster than the average for all occupations. The demand for CNC machine operators is expected to increase as manufacturing increasingly relies on computer numerical control (CNC) machines. These machines are used in a variety of industries, such as aerospace, transportation, and medical device manufacturing.

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