CNC Programmer

Last Updated:
July 18, 2023

Job Description Overview

A CNC Programmer job description involves the use of computer programs to control manufacturing processes. In the Manufacturing industry, CNC Programmers are responsible for creating and modifying parts using specialized software. They work with engineers to design and plan the production process and use their programming knowledge to create code that controls the tools and machines used to create the end product. As a CNC Programmer, your job will require proficiency in computer-aided design (CAD) and computer-aided manufacturing (CAM), as well as knowledge of materials, machine operations, and production processes. It's also important to have a keen eye for detail, good communication skills, and the ability to work in a team. The CNC Programmer job description may vary depending on the company and industry, but in general, it involves working with complex machinery to create precise, high-quality parts for a variety of products.

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Job Duties and Responsibilities

  • Creates code that directs CNC machines to produce precise parts
  • Analyzes blueprints and specifications to determine necessary tool paths and cutting speeds
  • Tests programs and troubleshoots any issues
  • Collaborates with other departments, such as design and engineering, to ensure accuracy and feasibility of parts
  • Maintains and updates software and hardware as needed
  • Monitors production runs and adjusts programming as necessary to ensure quality and efficiency
  • Documents programming and maintains records for future reference
  • Provides training to operators on proper use of CNC machines and related software
  • Follows safety and quality standards, as well as company policies and procedures.

Experience and Education Requirements

To become a CNC Programmer in the Manufacturing industry, you usually need education and experience in the field. A high school diploma is needed, and some employers require a certificate or an associate's degree in a related field like mechanical engineering or computer programming. Some vocational schools also offer courses in CNC programming.

Experience is also important, and some employers may require at least two years of experience working with CNC machines. A good understanding of math and computer skills are essential. CNC Programming requires the ability to interpret technical drawings and blueprints, and attention to detail is critical.

Hands-on experience with CNC machines and the ability to troubleshoot problems with them is also necessary. Training in specific programming languages is also vital. Good communication and collaboration skills are also necessary as CNC programmers usually work in a team environment.

Salary Range

CNC Programmer salary range in the manufacturing industry varies based on experience, education, and location. Nationally, CNC Programmer earns an average salary of $51,680 per year in the United States. The lower 10% of this workforce earns around $31,000 per year while the top 10% earns close to $74,000 annually. In countries like Canada and Germany, these professionals earn an average salary of CAD54,557 and €43,824 per year, respectively. Salary expectations for professionals in this field will continue to grow with experience and advancements in the industry.


  1. Bureau of Labor Statistics
  2. PayScale
  3. Glassdoor

Career Outlook

Are you considering a career as a CNC Programmer in the manufacturing industry? Good news! The career outlook is growing over the next five years according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. CNC Programmers play a crucial role in the manufacturing of goods by developing programs that control the machines needed to make products. As technology advances, there is an increased demand for skilled workers to operate and program these machines. The expected growth rate for this occupation is 7% from 2019 to 2029, which is faster than the average for all occupations. This means there will be plenty of opportunities for CNC programmers in the near future. So, start developing your programming skills as the future's looking bright for this booming industry!

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Q: What is a CNC programmer and what do they do?

A: A CNC programmer is responsible for using specialized software to create programs that control the movements of automated machines, such as lathes and mills, to produce precision parts and components.

Q: What qualifications do you need to become a CNC programmer?

A: Typically, a CNC programmer will need a high school diploma or equivalent and some technical training or coursework in computer programming and manufacturing. Additionally, experience with CAD software and CNC machines is often required.

Q: What skills are necessary to succeed in a career as a CNC programmer?

A: To be successful as a CNC programmer, you will need strong analytical skills, attention to detail, and the ability to read technical drawings and blueprints. Problem-solving skills and proficiency in computer programming languages and software is also essential.

Q: How does a CNC programmer work collaboratively with other members of the manufacturing team?

A: CNC programmers often work closely with machinists, design engineers, and other members of the manufacturing team to ensure that parts are produced correctly and efficiently. They may assist with troubleshooting problems and making adjustments to programs as needed.

Q: What is the job outlook for CNC programmers in the manufacturing industry?

A: The job outlook for CNC programmers is positive, with a projected growth rate of 8% from 2018-2028 in the United States. As manufacturing continues to modernize and automate, the need for skilled CNC programmers will only increase.

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