Table Of Contents
- CNC Technician Job Duties
- CNC Technician Job Requirements
- CNC Technician Skills
- CNC Technician Work Environment
- CNC Technician Trends
- How to Become a CNC Technician
- Advancement Prospects
- Job Description Example
CNC technicians are responsible for operating computer numerically controlled (CNC) machines. These machines are used to create a wide range of products, from car parts to furniture and even medical devices. CNC technicians work closely with engineers and other designers to ensure that the CNC machine is creating the desired product as efficiently as possible.
CNC Technician Job Duties
CNC technicians have a wide range of responsibilities, which can include:
- Communicating with supervisors regarding work progress, problems, or other issues that arise during the workday
- Reading blueprints or other instructions to determine how to operate machinery or equipment
- Monitoring machine performance to ensure that it is working properly and that no damage has been done to it
- Performing maintenance on equipment to ensure that it continues to run smoothly
- Using computers to design or modify products based on customers’ requests or company policies
- Operating and monitoring computerized controls to ensure that machines are performing tasks correctly
- Monitoring production rates and adjusting equipment settings to ensure that output goals are met
- Inspecting materials to ensure that they meet specifications for size, shape, and consistency
- Repairing equipment when necessary, including replacing worn parts, lubricating bearings, and repairing electrical components
CNC Technician Salary & Outlook
CNC technician salaries vary depending on their level of education and experience, the company size and geographic location. They may also earn additional compensation in the form of overtime.
- Median Annual Salary: $55,000 ($26.44/hour)
- Top 10% Annual Salary: $85,000 ($40.87/hour)
The employment of CNC technicians is expected to decline over the next decade.
Employment of CNC technicians is projected to decline because automation will allow fewer technicians to operate more machines. As CNC equipment becomes more sophisticated, it can do more tasks than in the past. In addition, some CNC equipment can be programmed to adjust for changes in a part’s dimensions, allowing fewer technicians to maintain a greater number of machines.
Related: 17 CNC Technician Interview Questions and Answers
CNC Technician Job Requirements
There are a number of qualifications required to obtain a position as a CNC technician. They include:
Education: Entry-level CNC technicians are typically required to have a high school diploma or GED certificate. Some employers may prefer an associate or bachelor’s degree in a related field, such as computer-aided design (CAD).
Many CNC technicians choose to pursue a two-year associate degree in computer-integrated manufacturing (CIM). This program covers topics such as computer-aided design, computer-aided manufacturing, computer-aided engineering and computer-integrated manufacturing.
Training & Experience: Most CNC technicians receive on-the-job training from their new employers. This training can last from a few weeks to a few months, depending on the complexity of the job and the company’s policies. Training often includes shadowing a current CNC technician and performing duties under supervision until they are comfortable enough to complete tasks on their own.
Certifications & Licenses: Certifications can prove an individual’s qualifications to current and prospective employers. CNC technicians can earn certifications to gain more practical knowledge of their responsibilities, test their professional skills and further advance their career.
CNC Technician Skills
CNC technicians need the following skills in order to be successful:
Machining: Machining is the process of using a CNC machine to create a finished product. This process requires knowledge of the machine’s functions, how to operate it and how to program it to complete a task. CNC technicians use their machining skills to create parts for various projects.
Computer-aided design (CAD): CNC technicians use computer-aided design software to create and modify the programs that direct CNC machines. They use CAD to create and modify tool paths, which are the paths that the CNC machine follows to create a finished product. They also use CAD to create and modify the designs of the parts that the CNC machine produces.
Mathematics: Mathematics is the ability to perform basic calculations and understand numerical data. CNC technicians use mathematics to read and interpret blueprints, calculate the correct measurements for cutting materials and troubleshoot issues with machinery.
Mechanical engineering: As a CNC technician, you may be required to have a basic understanding of mechanical engineering principles. This can help you troubleshoot issues with machinery and make adjustments to ensure the machinery is operating correctly.
Attention to detail: CNC technicians must have excellent attention to detail to ensure they enter the correct information into the computer system and correctly program the CNC machine. Attention to detail is also important when inspecting the finished product to ensure it meets the customer’s specifications.
CNC Technician Work Environment
CNC technicians work in machine shops, manufacturing plants, and other industrial settings. They may be exposed to noise, dust, and fumes, and they may have to work in uncomfortable positions. CNC technicians typically work a regular 40-hour week, but they may have to work overtime to meet deadlines. Some CNC technicians may be required to work weekends and holidays.
CNC Technician Trends
Here are three trends influencing how CNC technicians work. CNC technicians will need to stay up-to-date on these developments to keep their skills relevant and maintain a competitive advantage in the workplace.
The Need for More Technical Training
As technology advances, the need for more technical training becomes increasingly important. This is especially true in the manufacturing industry, where CNC technicians are needed to operate and maintain complex machinery.
To stay ahead of the curve, CNC technicians will need to be well-versed in the latest technologies and how to use them safely and efficiently. They will also need to be able to troubleshoot problems and understand the underlying mechanics of the machines they work with.
More Collaboration Between Engineering and Manufacturing
The trend of collaboration between engineering and manufacturing is becoming more common as businesses strive to create a more efficient and streamlined production process.
CNC technicians can take advantage of this trend by developing skills that allow them to work effectively with both engineering and manufacturing teams. This includes understanding the needs of each team and being able to communicate effectively with both parties. In addition, CNC technicians should be familiar with the latest manufacturing techniques and tools so that they can help to optimize the production process.
Automation Is Becoming More Commonplace
As automation becomes more commonplace in the workplace, CNC technicians will need to adapt their skills to remain competitive.
In order to succeed in the future, CNC technicians will need to be able to work with automated systems and learn how to program and operate these machines. This will require a strong understanding of computer programming and electronics.
How to Become a CNC Technician
A career as a CNC technician can be both rewarding and lucrative. It’s important to start off on the right foot by getting the right training. There are many different schools that offer programs in CNC technology, so it’s important to do your research and find one that best suits your needs.
Once you have completed your training, it’s important to stay up-to-date on the latest technologies and techniques. This can be done through online courses or by attending industry conferences. Additionally, it’s important to build relationships with other professionals in the field. You can do this by joining online forums or networking groups.
CNC technicians can advance their careers by taking on more responsibility at their current job, or by moving into a management position. As they gain more experience, CNC technicians can also move into more specialized roles, such as programming or quality control. In some cases, CNC technicians may also start their own business.
CNC Technician Job Description Example
We are looking for an experienced CNC Technician to operate our computer numerical control machines. The CNC Technician will be responsible for reading and understanding blueprints or technical drawings, as well as setting up and operating the machines to fabricate parts. The ideal candidate will have experience with CNC machines and programming, as well as a strong understanding of mathematics and mechanical principles. They will be detail-oriented and able to work independently with minimal supervision. The CNC Technician will be a key member of our production team, responsible for ensuring the accuracy and quality of our products.
Duties & Responsibilities
- Read and interpret engineering drawings, blueprints, sketches, or manuals to determine machining operations, setups, or sequences
- Select, align, and secure holding fixtures, cutting tools, attachments, accessories, and materials on machines such as mills, lathes, jig borers, or grinders
- Calculate dimensions or tolerances, using instruments such as micrometers or calipers
- Start and observe machine operation to detect malfunctions or out-of-tolerance machining, and adjust machine controls or control media as required
- Set up and operate computer-controlled machines or robots to perform one or more machine functions on metal or plastic workpieces
- Verify the accuracy of program instructions or specifications, entering commands or controlling robotic movements to correct errors
- Study sample parts, blueprints, drawings, or engineering information to determine methods or sequences of operations needed to fabricate products
- Confer with engineers, production personnel, programmers, or others to resolve machining problems
- Inspect completed workpieces to verify conformance to specifications, using measuring instruments such as calipers, gauges, micrometers, or optical comparators
- Modify programs to improve efficiency or adapt to new requirements
- Load, install, align, and secure tooling, attachments, and workpiece on holding devices, according to specifications
- Operate previously set up CNC machines to perform repetitive or programmed tasks, such as drilling, reaming, tapping, or counterboring holes
Required Skills and Qualifications
- High school diploma or equivalent
- Proven experience as a CNC technician
- Working knowledge of CNC machines, tools, and software
- Ability to read and interpret technical drawings
- Excellent attention to detail and accuracy
- Good problem-solving skills
- Strong mechanical aptitude
Preferred Skills and Qualifications
- Associate’s degree in engineering, mechatronics, or related field
- Experience with quality control and testing
- Familiarity with safety standards
- Leadership skills