How to become a CNC Machinist


CNC (Computer Numerical Control) machining is a critical component of modern manufacturing processes. CNC machinists create complex parts and components for various industries, from aerospace to automotive. If you’re considering a career as a CNC machinist, this blog post will provide you with essential information about wages, job growth, benefits, and drawbacks of pursuing this career path.

Wages and Job Growth

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), as of May 2020, the median annual wage for CNC machinists was $44,420. The lowest 10% earned less than $29,560, while the highest 10% earned over $66,150. The BLS projects a 4% growth in employment for machinists, including CNC machinists, from 2020 to 2030. This growth rate is close to the average growth rate for all occupations.

How to Become a CNC Machinist

Education and Training

While a high school diploma or equivalent is typically the minimum requirement to enter the field, employers often prefer candidates with postsecondary training in CNC machining. Vocational schools, technical colleges, and community colleges offer certificate and associate degree programs in CNC machining or related fields. These programs usually cover topics such as blueprint reading, CNC programming, and machine operation.


Apprenticeships are another route to becoming a CNC machinist. These programs, which typically last 3 to 4 years, combine on-the-job training with classroom instruction. Apprentices learn essential skills, including CNC programming, machine operation, and troubleshooting.


Although not required, obtaining a certification can demonstrate your expertise and commitment to the field. The National Institute for Metalworking Skills (NIMS) offers several certifications, such as the CNC Machinist certification, which can increase your marketability to potential employers.

Benefits of Becoming a CNC Machinist

Job Stability

With the ongoing demand for skilled CNC machinists, job stability is a significant benefit. Skilled machinists are needed across various industries, ensuring consistent employment opportunities.

Skill Development

CNC machinists develop a wide range of skills, including critical thinking, problem-solving, and technical expertise. These skills can be applied in various areas, making you a valuable asset to employers.

Opportunities for Advancement

As a CNC machinist, you can advance your career by becoming a CNC programmer, supervisor, or even starting your own machining business.

Drawbacks of Becoming a CNC Machinist

Physical Demands:

Machining can be physically demanding, requiring long periods of standing, lifting heavy objects, and working with loud machinery.

Repetitive Tasks :

Some machinists may find the repetitive nature of their work monotonous, as they often produce similar parts and components.

Workplace Hazards:

Machinists must adhere to strict safety protocols, as they work with potentially dangerous machinery and tools. Injuries can occur if proper precautions are not taken.


Becoming a machinist can be a rewarding career choice, offering job stability, skill development, and opportunities for advancement. However, it’s essential to consider the physical demands, repetitive tasks, and workplace hazards associated with this career path. By acquiring the necessary education, training, and certifications, you can position yourself as a skilled professional in the CNC machining industry.

If you want to learn more about how to get into CNC Machining I would suggest reading this article by Jonathan Maes an accomplished CNC Machinist.

Or read this article by MSC

Learn how to become a Industrial Machinery Mechanic

How do CNC Machines Work:

One thought on “How to become a CNC Machinist

Add yours

Leave a Reply

Up ↑

Verified by MonsterInsights