Computer Numerically Controlled (CNC) Operator Salary
Job Description for Computer Numerically Controlled (CNC) Operator
CNC (Computer Numerically Controlled) operators work in machinist positions in production facilities. CNC operators work with various shop machines to fabricate parts for assembly, usually from various metal compounds. They also set up their assigned machines for parts assembly runs, and then test the machines to ensure proper execution of the run. CNC operators also make adjustments as necessary to ensure the piece being fabricated or cut conforms to listed specifications. As each production run concludes, they physically inspect and measure each part created as well. It is vitally important at this point in the manufacturing process that parts are one hundred percent compliant with even the most minute details of an assembly specification. Part of CNC operators' jobs also involves monitoring machinery to verify it is operating properly and at peak efficiency.Read More...
Setting the programs and parameters in modern production machinery for an assembly run is an involved process, and CNC operators must be familiar with the proper programming functions required. They must continually work to educate themselves on new machinery and program inputs to ensure the most efficient production of assembly parts.
While the formal education requirements of these types of positions are not steep (normally a high school education is all that is required), most companies look to hire for this position from individuals with some secondary tech school training. Most CNC operator job openings require a great deal of prior assembly line and fabrication experience, and many organizations will choose to hire from within their existing production teams for these types of jobs.
Lastly, CNC operators' work hours depend on the company: Some organizations run around-the-clock assembly hours where operators are scheduled by shift. In most cases, they work an eight-hour shift with a break. CNC operators are almost always on their feet, and will normally have to lift loads of 25-50 pounds while performing their duties.
Computer Numerically Controlled (CNC) Operator Tasks
- Operate a jib crane to manipulate parts.
- Perform basic quality checks at the point of production using scales, micrometers, calipers and gages.
- Notify and involve the supervisor of any problems or issues that arise during production.
- Interpret sketches in order to provide a quality finished product.
- Operate and set up CNC machine.
Common Career Paths for Computer Numerically Controlled (CNC) Operator
There are some Computer Numerically Controlled Operators — though it's uncommon — that transition into Computer Numerically Controlled Programmers, where earnings are an average $51K annually. It is quite typical for Computer Numerically Controlled Operators to transition into roles as Computer Numerically Controlled Operator and Programmers or Machinist Set Up Operators, where reported median earnings are $10K and $7K higher per year.
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Popular Skills for Computer Numerically Controlled (CNC) Operator
Computer Numerically Controlled Operators report using a diverse set of skills on the job. Most notably, skills in Machine Programming, Manufacturing, Quality Assurance / Quality Control, Blueprints, and Equipment Maintenance are correlated to pay that is above average, with boosts between 4 percent and 11 percent. Skills that seem to negatively impact pay include Precision Measurement. Those educated in CNC/NC tend to be well versed in Blueprints.
Pay by Experience Level for Computer Numerically Controlled (CNC) Operator
Median of all compensation (including tips, bonus, and overtime) by years of experience.
Computer Numerically Controlled Operators with more experience do not necessarily bring home bigger paychecks. In fact, experience in this field tends to impact compensation minimally. Relatively untried employees who have fewer than five years of experience earn around $31K on average. People who have worked for five to 10 years can expect a higher median salary of $35K. The average pay reported by folks with 10 to 20 years of experience is around $39K. Computer Numerically Controlled Operators with more than 20 years of experience report incomes that are only modestly higher; the median for these old hands hovers around $41K.
Pay Difference by Location
For those looking to make money, Computer Numerically Controlled Operators in Cincinnati enjoy an exceptional pay rate, 36 percent above the national average. Computer Numerically Controlled Operators will also find cushy salaries in New York (+17 percent) and Phoenix (+9 percent). The lowest-paying market is Fort Worth, which sits 16 percent below the national average. Rochester and Dallas are a couple other places where companies are known to pay below the median — salaries are 14 percent lower and 13 percent lower, respectively.
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