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Become A Numerical Control Operator

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Working As A Numerical Control Operator

  • Controlling Machines and Processes
  • Getting Information
  • Making Decisions and Solving Problems
  • Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates
  • Inspecting Equipment, Structures, or Material
  • Repetitive

  • Stressful

  • $43,360

    Average Salary

What Does A Numerical Control Operator Do

A Numerical Control Operator sets up and operates a numerical control router machine. They also observe and listen to machine operation to detect malfunctions.

How To Become A Numerical Control Operator

A few months of on-the-job training is enough for most workers to learn basic machine operations, but 1 year or more is required to become proficient. Computer-controlled machine workers may need more training.


Employers prefer metal and plastic machine workers who have a high school diploma. Prospective workers can improve their employment opportunities by completing high school courses in computer programming and vocational technology, and by gaining a working knowledge of the properties of metals and plastics. Having a sturdy math background, including taking courses in algebra, geometry, trigonometry, and basic statistics, is also useful.

Some community colleges and other schools offer courses and certificate programs in operating metal and plastics machines.


Machine operator trainees usually begin by watching and helping experienced workers on the job. Under supervision, they may start by supplying materials, starting and stopping the machines, or by removing finished products. Then they advance to more difficult tasks that operators perform, such as adjusting feed speeds, changing cutting tools, and inspecting a finished product for defects. Eventually, some develop the skills and experience to set up machines and help newer operators.

The complexity of the equipment usually determines the time required to become an operator. Some operators and tenders learn basic machine operations and functions in a few months, but other workers, such as computer-controlled machine tool operators, may need a year or more to become proficient.

Some employers prefer to hire workers who either have completed or are enrolled in a training program.

As the manufacturing process continues to utilize more computerized machinery, knowledge of computer-aided design (CAD), computer-aided manufacturing (CAM), and computer numerically controlled (CNC) machines can be helpful.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations

Certification can show competence and professionalism and can be helpful for advancement. The National Institute for Metalworking Skills (NIMS) offers certification in numerous metalworking specializations.


Advancement usually includes higher pay and more responsibilities. With experience and expertise, workers can become trainees for more advanced positions. It is common for machine operators to move into setup or machinery maintenance positions. Setup workers may become industrial machinery mechanics and maintenance workers, or machinists or tool and die makers.

Experienced workers with good communication and analytical skills may move into supervisory positions.

Important Qualities

Computer skills. Metal and plastic machine workers must often be able to use programmable devices, computers, and robots on the factory floor.

Dexterity. Metal and plastic machine workers who work in metal and plastic machined goods manufacturing use precise hand movements to make the necessary shapes, cuts, and edges that designs require.

Mechanical skills. Metal and plastic machine workers set up and operate machinery. They must be comfortable working with machines and have a good understanding of how the machines and all their parts work.

Physical stamina. Metal and plastic machine workers must be able to stand for long periods and perform repetitive work.

Physical strength. Metal and plastic machine workers must be strong enough to guide and load heavy and bulky parts and materials into machines.

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Numerical Control Operator jobs

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Numerical Control Operator Demographics


  • Male

  • Female

  • Unknown



  • White

  • Hispanic or Latino

  • Asian

  • Unknown

  • Black or African American

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Languages Spoken

  • Spanish

  • Polish

  • Vietnamese

  • Hmong

  • French

  • German

  • Portuguese

  • Turkish

  • Russian

  • Arabic

  • Carrier

  • Chinese

  • Mandarin

  • Khmer

  • Bosnian

  • Thai

  • Cantonese

  • Japanese

  • Croatian

  • Tagalog

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Numerical Control Operator

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Numerical Control Operator Education

Numerical Control Operator

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Real Numerical Control Operator Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Sawyer/Cnc Operator Granite Source, Inc. Chantilly, VA Mar 11, 2015 $73,590
CNC Machine Operator Excel MacHining Inc. Chicago, IL Sep 30, 2016 $51,210
CNC Machine Operator Top Flight MacHine Tool LLC Plainville, CT Apr 01, 2016 $45,032
Numerical Control Machine Operator E&J MacHine and Tool LLC Rockaway, NJ Oct 23, 2008 $44,912
CNC Lathe Operator Top Flight MacHine Tool LLC Plainville, CT May 06, 2009 $39,653
CNC Operator IMW Industrial Maintenance Welding & MacHinery Co. Chicago, IL Feb 22, 2008 $39,048
CNC Set Up and Operator JBW MacHining Inc. Franklin Park, IL Dec 14, 2007 $39,048
CNC Mill Operator David Barnes Company CA Jul 19, 2012 $37,670
CNC Mill Operator 3D Access Industries Fremont, CA Aug 18, 2015 $35,402

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Top Skills for A Numerical Control Operator


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Top Numerical Control Operator Skills

  1. Inspect Parts
  2. Lathe Machines
  3. Set-Up
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Inspect Parts and Pieces for Accuracy within Tolerances 4.
  • Learned how to use the Lathe Machines.
  • Do set-ups, edit programs when needed.
  • Calculate dimensions, tolerances using mathematics and instruments as micrometers and calipers.
  • Maintained quality, accuracy and safety standards.

Top Numerical Control Operator Employers

Numerical Control Operator Videos

Job Shop Life! Example of a CNC Machine Shop Job!

CENTROID CNC Control User Training Video: CNC Millling Machine Training.

Numerical Control & Computer Numerical Control