CNC Programmer Job Description

cnc programmer

CNC Programmer is a skilled professional who writes, edits, and optimizes programs that control CNC machines to manufacture precision components, and parts. CNC stands for Computer Numerical Control. CNC programmers play a pivotal role in the manufacturing industry and ensure that machines produce parts as per specifications. The profession requires a strong understanding of tooling, machining processes, and materials. To succeed in this role, individuals need certain qualifications and experience. So, let us dive into the details of the CNC programmer job description.

Post Highlights:

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

Position Levels

Some common job levels include-

Entry-Level CNC Programmer-

  • CNC Programmer Trainee
  • Junior CNC Programmer

CNC Programmer I-

  • CNC Programmer I
  • CNC Programmer Level I

CNC Programmer II-

  • CNC Programmer II
  • CNC Programmer Level II

Senior CNC Programmer-

  • Senior CNC Programmer
  • CNC Programmer Senior Level

Lead CNC Programmer-

  • Lead CNC Programmer
  • CNC Programming Team Leader

CNC Programming Supervisor/Manager-

  • CNC Programming Supervisor
  • CNC Programming Manager

CNC Programming Specialist/Engineer

  • CNC Programming Specialist
  • CNC Programming Engineer

Education Level

Typical education levels include-

  • High School Diploma or Equivalent
  • Bachelor’s Degree (mechanical engineering/manufacturing engineering)
  • Associate’s Degree in Manufacturing Technology
  • Post-Secondary Education (CNC machining/programming)
  • Technical/Community College Programs
  • CNC Programming Training Programs

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Course Types

Some common course types include-

  • Advanced CNC Programming Course
  • Basic CNC Programming Course
  • Blueprint Reading for CNC Programmers
  • CAD/CAM Software Training Course
  • Certification Preparation Courses
  • CNC Machine Operation/Maintenance Course
  • CNC Machining for Specific Industries
  • Custom CNC Programming Projects
  • Online CNC Programming Courses
  • Quality Control/Inspection in CNC Machining
  • Tooling/Workholding in CNC Machining
  • Apprenticeship Programs

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Some common certifications include-

  • NIMS CNC Credentials-
    CNC Operator Certification
    CNC Setup Programmer Certification
    CNC Programming Certification
  • HAAS CNC Certification
  • Amatrol CNC Machine Operator/CNC Programming Certifications
  • CAMWorks Certification (CAD/CAM software)
  • Certified Manufacturing Technologist by SME
  • Fanuc CNC Certification
  • Machining Level I and II Certifications by MSSC
  • Mastercam Certification (CAD/CAM software)
  • Siemens CNC Certification
  • SolidWorks CAM Certification (CAD software)

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Work Experience

Some common experience types include-

  • 3D Printing/Additive Manufacturing Programming Experience
  • CAM Software Expertise Experience
  • CNC Router Programming Experience
  • General CNC Programming Experience
  • Industry-Specific Experience
  • Milling/Machining Experience
  • Multi-Axis CNC Programming Experience
  • Plasma/Waterjet Cutting Programming Experience
  • Process Optimization Experience
  • Quality Control/Inspection Experience
  • Supervisory/Leadership Experience
  • Swiss Machining Experience
  • Tool/Fixture Design Experience
  • Turning/Lathe Experience
  • Wire EDM Programming Experience


Some common duties include-

  • Adhere to safety protocols
  • Analyze machining costs
  • Assist in project bidding
  • Conduct routine maintenance on CNC machines
  • Create, edit, and optimize CNC programs
  • Document any program changes/modifications
  • Generate/modify CNC codes
  • Implement best practices to enhance production
  • Improve CNC programs Continuously
  • Interpret engineering drawings/blueprints
  • Maintain accurate records of CNC programs
  • Make adjustments to CNC programs/machine settings
  • Operate/monitor CNC machines
  • Perform in-process/final inspections of machined parts
  • Plan/manage CNC programming projects
  • Promote a culture of safety
  • Provide technical support/guidance
  • Select appropriate cutting tools
  • Set up CNC machines
  • Share best practices with team members
  • Stay updated with CNC technology developments
  • Train junior CNC Programmers
  • Troubleshoot/resolve technical problems
  • Verify/adjust machine tool offsets
  • Work closely with team members
  • Write/understand G-code and M-code programming languages

Equipment Types

Some common equipment types include-

  • Computer Workstation
  • Computer-Aided Design (CAD) Software
  • Computer-Aided Manufacturing (CAM) Software
  • Cutting Fluids/Lubricants
  • Documentation Tools
  • Maintenance Tools
  • Material Handling Equipment
  • Measuring/Inspection Tools
  • CNC Machines
    CNC 3D Printers
    CNC Lathes
    CNC Milling Machines
    CNC Plasma/Waterjet Cutters
    CNC Routers
    CNC Swiss Machines
    CNC Wire EDM Machines
  • Safety Equipment
  • Simulation Software
  • Storage/Tool Cabinets
  • Tool Holders
  • Tooling/Cutting Tools
  • Workholding Fixtures


Some essential skills include-

  • Adaptability/flexibility
  • Attention to detail
  • Blueprint reading skills
  • CAD/CAM software proficiency
  • Communication skills
  • CNC programming skills
  • Continuous improving mindset
  • Basic computer skills
  • Continuous learning temperament
  • Documentation skills
  • Knowledge of measurement/inspection tools
  • Leadership/training skills (for senior programmers)
  • Machine setup/operation proficiency
  • Machining process optimization skills
  • Machining processes understanding
  • Materials knowledge
  • Mathematical skills
  • Problem-solving skills
  • Safety equipment awareness
  • Strong quality control/inspection skills
  • Time management skills
  • Tooling selection/management ability

Work Environment

Some common working conditions include-

  • Adhere to safety protocols
  • Generally, work standard full-time hours
  • May be required to work multiple shifts
  • May face potential machining hazards
  • May work in a noisy, dusty, or oily environment
  • May work on multiple projects simultaneously
  • Must adapt to different machining processes/materials
  • Often work as part of a team
  • Overtime work may be required to meet deadlines
  • Significantly work at a computer workstation
  • Typically work in manufacturing settings
  • Wear personal protective equipment (PPE)
  • Work in climate-controlled facilities

Physical Requirements

Some common physical demands include-

  • May climb/work at heights
  • May need to bend/stoop to access machine controls
  • May operate heavy machinery
  • May require lifting/carrying materials
  • May spend a significant time standing/walking
  • May spend a long time sitting at a computer workstation
  • Must have excellent fine motor skills
  • Repetitive motions may strain muscles
  • Require good manual dexterity
  • Require good visual acuity
  • Tool changes involve repetitive tasks

Resume Format

A suggested resume format includes-

Contact Information

  • Full Name
  • Phone Number
  • Email Address
  • Location (City/State)

Objective or Summary (Optional)

  • Highlight your career goals briefly
  • emphasize your career objectives

Professional Summary

  • Concisely provide an overview of your skills, experience, and qualifications
  • Highlight your years of experience, expertise in CNC programming


  • List both technical and soft CNC programming skills
  • Also, include skills such as CNC programming languages (G-code, M-code), CAD/CAM software proficiency, tool selection, machine setup, and quality control.
  • Mention any certifications or training related to CNC programming

Work Experience

  • Add your work experience history (most recent first)
  • Also, include the following information for each job-
    Job Title
    Company Name
    Employment Dates


  • Use bullet points to highlight specific accomplishments
  • Tailor to emphasize your CNC programming experience


  • List your educational background (most recent first)
  • Also, include the following details for each degree or certification-
    Degree Earned
    School Name
    Graduation Date
  • Relevant Course
  • Certifications (if applicable)

Professional Affiliations (Optional)

  • Mention any organizational memberships (e.g., SME, NIMS)

Additional Sections (Optional)

  • Awards/Honors
  • Projects
  • Publications


  • Generally, not required (can produce upon request)

Resume Formatting Tips-

  • Use a professional resume template
  • Keep your resume concise (one or two pages)
  • Use bullet points for more readability
  • Ensure no grammatical errors/spelling mistakes

Top Industries

Some common employment areas include-

  • Aerospace Industry
  • Automotive Industry
  • Consulting/Freelancing Companies
  • Custom Machining Shops
  • Defense/Military Sector
  • Educational Institutes
  • Job Shops
  • Machine Tool Manufacturers
  • Manufacturing Companies
  • Medical Device Manufacturing Companies
  • Metal fabrication companies
  • Oil and Gas Industry
  • Plastics Industry (Mold Making)
  • Prototyping/Rapid Manufacturing Companies
  • Research/Development Settings
  • Tool and Die Making Industries
  • Woodworking/Furniture Manufacturing Industry

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Job Types

Some common job types include-

  • CNC Operator
  • CAM Engineer
  • CAM Software Developer
  • CNC Applications Engineer
  • CNC Machinist
  • CNC Maintenance Technician
  • CNC Programmer
  • CNC Setup Technician
  • CNC Team Leader/Supervisor
  • Consultant/Freelancer
  • Manufacturing Engineer
  • Quality Control Inspector
  • Research/Development Engineer
  • Senior CNC Programmer
  • Tool and Die Maker
  • Tooling Engineer

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Salary Information

On average, a CNC Programmer earns $28 per hour in the United States. But the factors like experience, industry size, location, skills, and specific employer affect salary trends. The highest hourly paying cities for CNC Programmers are Orlando ($30.79), Chicago ($30.34), Anaheim ($30.22), and Memphis ($28.97).

However, the approximate salary ranges for CNC Programmers include.

Hourly Wage

  • Entry-Level CNC Programmer – $18 to $25
  • Mid-Level CNC Programmer – $25 to $35
  • Senior-Level CNC Programmer – $35 to $50 or more

Monthly Salary

  • Entry-Level CNC Programmer – $3,000 to $4,500
  • Mid-Level CNC Programmer – $4,500 to $6,000
  • Senior-Level CNC Programmer – $6,000 to $8,000 or more

Yearly Salary

  • Entry-Level CNC Programmer – $36,000 to $54,000
  • Mid-Level CNC Programmer – $54,000 to $72,000
  • Senior-Level CNC Programmer – $72,000 to $96,000 or more

These salary ranges are just estimates, actual figures can vary depending on various local factors and market trends. Additionally, aerospace or medical manufacturing industries may offer higher compensation for CNC Programmers with specialized skills.


The most common benefits include-

  • Career Advancement Programs
  • Company Events/Social Activities
  • Competitive Salary
  • Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs)
  • Employee Discounts
  • Employee Recognition Programs
  • Flexible Work Schedules
  • Health/Dental Insurance
  • Health/Wellness Programs
  • On-Site Facilities
  • Overtime Pay
  • Paid Time Off (PTO)
  • Performance Bonuses
  • Professional Development Opportunities
  • Relocation Assistance
  • Retirement Plans (401k)
  • Safety Gear/Equipment Provision
  • Shift Differentials
  • Tuition Reimbursement
  • Uniforms/Workwear


CNC Programmers play a crucial role in modern manufacturing settings. They utilize their technical expertise to create, optimize, and troubleshoot CNC programs for precision machining. They ensure the efficient production of components and products. The profession requires a combination of problem-solving abilities, technical skills, attention to detail, etc. It provides various job opportunities in different fields. The salary ranges and benefits can vary based on local factors and market trends. Overall, CNC programming offers a rewarding career with widespread opportunities for growth and advancement.

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