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A CNC operator is a skilled tradesperson who works with computerized CNC equipment to set up production runs. CNC operator jobs require you to write code and upload programs using computer numeric controlled equipment. This is done to create parts in exact shapes and sizes based on the specifications of blueprints. The equipment that a CNC operator uses can create parts including bolts, tools, pistons, or cylinders for other machines. To be a CNC operator, you must be mechanically inclined and have a good grasp for math, computers and numbers.
As a CNC operator working in an industrial setting, you are responsible for setting up and operating many different CNC machines including drills, grinders, boring mills and lathes. CNC operators generally work full time 35-40 weeks, however the times of these shifts can vary depending on where you work. You may occasionally work weekends to ensure productive use of equipment. As a CNC operator, you will probably report to a supervisor or plant manager.
A qualified CNC operator will earn a wage that ranges from approximately $17.00 per hour to $33.00 per hour. Depending on your level of experience, skill set and location, your salary as a CNC operator will vary. A junior CNC operator or apprentice will start at the lower end of the pay scale. As you gain experience and knowledge, your wages will generally increase. Your pay will also depend on the industry that you work in as a CNC operator. Those who work in the aerospace and automotive industries tend to earn higher wages.
In CNC operator jobs, your tasks will include a variety of different tasks such as setting up, operating and maintaining CNC machines. Here are some of the more detailed tasks that your job will consist of:
A trained CNC operator can work anyplace that does manufacturing. Some industries that require qualified CNC operators include vehicle manufacturing, auto parts manufacturing, machine manufacturing, equipment manufacturing, aircraft manufacturing, and steel production. Due to CNC operators requiring skill with computer code, the demand for them has gone up in the past few years.
CNC machine operator jobs require highly skilled workers who have the ability to produce precise work. A CNC operator must stand for long period of time so much by physically fit. In addition to this, CNC operator jobs require the following skills:
If you are interested in become a CNC machinist, the minimum requirement is a high school diploma. In addition to obtaining a diploma, you should also take courses in blueprint reading, metalworking and drafting to get ahead in the field. Many CNC operators will also complete a pre-apprenticeship program at a technical college.
To become fully certified as a CNC operator, you must complete a full apprenticeship program. This program usually takes around 4 years. Your apprenticeship will involve a combination of course-work and on-the-job work experience. Once you have completed your exams successfully and completed your hours of work experience, you will become a fully qualified CNC machinist journeyperson.
For qualified CNC operators, job opportunities increase if you know how to operate multiple types of machines, or if you know a variety of programming languages. It is always a good idea to learn how to operate the latest machines. For example: cutters that use lasers or water jets. The newer the technology, the fewer CNC operators will be familiar with it, making your knowledge stand out.
To further improve your career prospects, consider learning how to use new CAD software and adding to your programming skills. You might have the opportunity to learn these on the job or in your free time. Once you gain experience and knowledge in a CNC operator job, you have the opportunity to enter into positions such as quality control inspector or shop supervisor.