CNC Machinist Job Description

cnc machinist

CNC Machinist is a skilled professional who uses computer numerical control (CNC) machines to produce precision parts and products. These machines use computer-aided design (CAD) software to create the part’s specifications and computer-aided manufacturing (CAM) software to control the machine’s cutting tools and operations. Aspiring people fascinated by the precision and intricacy involved in manufacturing parts and products are suitable for this career. Recent statistics state, the demand for CNC Machinists is on the rise. In this article, we will discuss everything about the CNC Machinist profession, including the latest trends and developments in the industry.

Post Highlights:

  • Position Levels
  • Educational Qualifications
  • Course Types
  • Certification/License
  • Work Experience
  • Duties/Responsibilities
  • Abilities/Skills
  • Work Environment
  • Physical Requirements
  • Top Industries
  • Job Types
  • Salary Information
  • Benefits/Perks

CNC Machinist Levels

Three levels include-

CNC Machinist (Level 1) – Who just started the career and has limited experience. Individuals may operate one or two machines and are responsible for basic tasks. such as loading and unloading materials, setting up tools and fixtures, and monitoring the machine’s operation.

CNC Machinist (Level 2) – Who has gained more experience and may be responsible for more complex tasks. Individuals may also operate multiple machines simultaneously and have a broader understanding of different types of machines and tools.

CNC Machinist (Level 3) – Possessing the most experienced and skilled professional in this field. Individuals have a deep understanding of CNC machines and programming. Able to troubleshoot and solve complex problems. Be responsible for supervising and training other machinists, as well as overseeing the production process.

Educational Qualifications

Typical education levels include-

  • High School Diploma or Equivalent
  • Degree Program in CNC Machining

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Course Types

Some common courses include-

  • Certificate Programs (typically last between six months to one year and provide basic training in CNC machining)
  • Diploma Programs (similar to certificate programs but provide more in-depth training in CNC machining)
  • Associate Degree Programs (typically last two years and provide a comprehensive education in the field)
  • Apprenticeships (provide on-the-job training in CNC machining, typically last between two to four years)
  • Continuing Education (help experienced individuals stay up-to-date with the latest technologies)


Some certifications include-

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Work Experience

Typical work experiences include-

  • 2-5 years of experience in CNC machining
  • CAM software experience
  • CNC Set-up Experience


Some typical job functions may include-

  • Collaborate with engineers, designers, and other production team members
  • Document production processes, machine settings, and quality control measures
  • Follow safety procedures and protocols
  • Inspect finished parts using measurement tools
  • Maintain equipment and perform routine maintenance tasks
  • Monitor machine operations and adjust settings as needed
  • Operate CNC machines to perform cutting, drilling, milling, and grinding operations
  • Read and interpret blueprints, schematics, and technical drawings
  • Set up machines and tooling according to specified instructions and procedures
  • Troubleshoot and resolve issues that arise during the machining process
  • Use computer-aided design (CAD) tools to program CNC machines
  • Continuously learn and develop new skills and knowledge


Key abilities include-

  • Ability to use a variety of measurement tools and instruments
  • Ability to work independently
  • Attention to detail and strong problem-solving skills
  • Continuous learning and development
  • Familiarity with computer-aided design (CAD) software
  • Familiarity with safety protocols
  • Physical dexterity and coordination
  • Proficiency in reading and interpreting
  • Strong communication skills
  • Strong knowledge of machining principles

Work Environment

Typical work environments include-

  • May expose to dust, noise, and fumes (personal protective equipment-PPE) may be required)
  • May work independently or as part of a team
  • May work standing up for long periods of time or may need to lift heavy materials and equipment
  • Performed indoors in a production or manufacturing setting
  • Work with machines that produce chips and debris

Physical Requirements

Some common physical requirements include-

  • Good hearing to communicate with team members
  • Good vision for reading technical drawings and schematics
  • May be required to lift and move heavy raw materials and finished parts
  • May need to reach, bend, and twist to perform certain tasks
  • Require manual dexterity and hand-eye coordination
  • Stand or sit for long periods of time

Top Industries

Some common areas of employment include-

  • Aerospace and Defense Industry
  • Automotive Industry
  • Medical Devices Industry
  • Electronics Industry
  • Industrial Manufacturing Settings
  • Job Shops
  • Oil and Gas Industry
  • Construction Equipment
  • Agricultural Equipment
  • Renewable Energy
  • Shipbuilding and Marine
  • Rail and Transportation
  • Heavy Equipment Manufacturing
  • Food and Beverage Production

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Job Types

Some common job types include-

  • CNC Machinist
  • CNC Operator
  • CNC Programmer
  • CNC Setup Technician
  • CNC Supervisor
  • Maintenance Technician
  • Manufacturing Engineer
  • Production Manager
  • Quality Control Inspector

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Salary Information

The salary trends vary from place to place in the United States. The factors such as education level, certification, experience, and industry type decide and affect salary trends. The average hourly base salary of CNC Machinist is $24.58. The highest hourly paying cities are Minneapolis ($29.44), Charlotte ($25.66), Milwaukee ($24.83), and Houston ($24.69).

The following are some general salary ranges for CNC machinists.

1. Hourly Wage

  • Entry-level CNC Machinist: $15-$20
  • Experienced CNC Machinist: $20-$30
  • Master CNC Machinist: $30+

2. Monthly Salary

  • Entry-level CNC Machinist: $2,600-$3,500
  • Experienced CNC Machinist: $3,500-$5,000
  • Master CNC Machinist: $5,000+

3. Yearly Salary

  • Entry-level CNC Machinist: $31,200-$42,000
  • Experienced CNC Machinist: $42,000-$60,000
  • Master CNC Machinist: $60,000+

These salary ranges denote only general ideas and actual salaries may vary. Additionally, salaries may be higher in certain industries such as medical devices and aerospace.


The most common benefits include-

401(k) Life Insurance
401(k) Matching Opportunities for Advancement
AD&D Insurance Paid Time Off
Dental Insurance Parental Leave
Disability Insurance Professional Development Assistance
Employee Assistance Program Profit Sharing
Employee Discount Referral Program
Flexible Schedule Relocation Assistance
Flexible Spending Account Retirement Plan
Health Insurance Tuition Reimbursement
Health Savings Account Vision Insurance


CNC Machinists are skilled professionals and play a crucial role in the manufacturing industry. They operate, program, and set up CNC machines to produce parts with high precision and accuracy. The profession requires certain education, certification, and work experience. They work in a variety of industries. Despite various challenges, CNC Machinists can find rewarding career opportunities for advancement. Overall, the above-given information on CNC machinists can be helpful for aspiring students, job seekers, and working professionals.

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