How to Become a CNC Programmer

How to Become a CNC Programmer

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cnc programmer technician

So you want to be a great cnc programmer? Not sure where to get the best cnc programmer training? Well below is CNC Establishment‘s ultimate guide to becoming a great cnc programmer – what you need and what you need to do to get there. Read on to find out how to become a cnc programmer.

CNC programmer training

So where do you get great cnc training? Below I will outline some of the best courses you should definitely look into on the way to becoming a great cnc technician.

What to look for – key performance indicators: 

1.)  At least basic cnc programming skills offered

2.)  Both cnc lathe AND cnc mill programming included

3.)  A touch on good CAD/CAM/ G-Code software like MasterCAM.

USA cnc programs

University of Texas Arlington – Basic cnc programming certificate that adds up to about 200 hours of learning time from basic blueprint reading to cnc mill and cnc lathe programming.

Cuyahoga Community College – Advanced Manufacturing and Engineering department. This looks like a well-rounded program that gives the basics, as well as both mill and lathe cnc programming skills. There is also an overview of MasterCAM

CNC programmer salary in the US is $48,000 according to Indeed. That works out to roughly $24.00 an hour.

Canada cnc programs

Conestoga – These guys have a cnc programmer certificate (apprenticeship) which is a 240 hour program which provides an apprentice with a mix of theory and practical training.

Mohawk College – 232 hour course that will get you a cnc programming certificate. There is a focus on one of our favorite and top rated cnc programs MasterCAM – both 2d and 3d – on top of basic and intermediate cnc programming skills.

NAIT – This is a solid course that I’ve recommended before. They claim a 100% grad employment rate. The good thing about this course is that there is a final 8 week work experience component that allows you to gain further skills and knowledge in a cnc focused machine shop or the floor of a manufacturing plant that will have cnc mills/ lathes.

Stanford International College – CNC/ MasterCAM Diploma program. This is one of the few programs I have seen that actually offer a diploma instead of just a certificate. There is a lot of depth here including cnc setup time. cycle time redction which will save you a ton of time in future. This course is located in Toronto.

Getting a certificate in cnc programming in Canada can be a good bet. The standard cnc programmer salary in Canada to start is $40,000 a year and goes up depending on technical ability and experience. The average cnc programmer wages are between $44,000 to $48,000 Canadian dollars.

UK cnc programs

The CNC Training Academy – courses in Fanuc, Siemens and cnc operator training. They even have specialized cnc programmer certification courses for advanced cnc programmers for subject areas like FeatureCam and PC Tapt. This seems to be the premiere cnc programmer course available in the U.K.

CNC programmer resume

resume for cnc programmer

The resume should ideally have educational experience – prefferably with one of the courses mentioned above – so some sort of cnc programming certificate/ diploma.

You should also have practical experience as hours for a cnc setter programmer/ technician/ operator. You can convey these as apprenticeship hours or actual hours you have used a cnc machine for. This also goes with programming experience and experience using CAD/CAM software.

Depending on the type of cnc machine used (laser / plasma / router etc) you are going to have to tailor your cnc machine programmer resume so it showcases the skills that you have for the type of machine that is most used for the firm you want to work for.

I suggest starting out with the usual cnc router and lathe experience, but you may also want to look into laser CO2 machines, plasma cutters or water jet cnc cutting machines. Each cnc machine has its own quirks – too many to go into right now, but if you read around on this site – there should be plenty of information here for you to learn. Remember that with the ever-changing technology of the cnc realm your cnc programmer job description is going to be constantly evolving.

Where are cnc jobs in demand?

Well there are many different hubs out there, but I would say cnc programmer jobs in Singapore, Dubai, India, UK, US, China, Canada and the US are high right now. There are plenty of vacancies to be found for the qualified cnc programmer with good experience, so be sure to check out some of the courses and tips above to start your career now.

What do you think the best way is to get a good cnc programmer operator education? Please leave your comments below.

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