CNC machinist

Alternative titles for this job include CNC operator, toolmaker

Computer numerically controlled (CNC) machinists make precision parts for the engineering and manufacturing industries.

Average salary (a year)

£15,000 Starter

to

£30,000 Experienced

Typical hours (a week)

42 to 44 a week

You could work

evenings / weekends on shifts

How to become a CNC machinist

You can get into this job through:

  • a college course
  • an apprenticeship

College

You could do a college course to learn some of the practical engineering skills that employers want. Relevant courses include:

  • Level 1 Certificate in Performing Engineering Operations
  • Level 1 Certificate in Engineering and Manufacturing
  • Level 2 Certificate in Mechanical Engineering

Entry requirements

You'll usually need:

  • 2 or fewer GCSEs at grades 3 to 1 (D to G) for a level 1 course
  • 2 or more GCSEs at grades 9 to 3 (A* to D) for a level 2 course

More information

Apprenticeship

A common way to get into this career is through an intermediate apprenticeship as an engineering operative or advanced apprenticeship in engineering manufacturing.

Entry requirements

You'll usually need:

  • some GCSEs, usually including English and maths, for an intermediate apprenticeship
  • 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), usually including English and maths, for an advanced apprenticeship

More information

More information

Further information

You can find out more about engineering careers from Tomorrow's Engineers.

What it takes

Skills and knowledge

You'll need:

  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail
  • knowledge of computer operating systems, hardware and software
  • the ability to use, repair and maintain machines and tools
  • maths knowledge
  • the ability to work on your own
  • the ability to write computer programs
  • analytical thinking skills
  • design skills and knowledge
  • you will be expected to use a computer confidently as part of this job.

What you'll do

Day-to-day tasks

Your day-to-day tasks could include:

  • programming the CNC machine tool with data taken from technical drawings
  • working out the most efficient order to carry out machining tasks
  • choosing the right tools for each stage
  • setting the cutting speeds and tolerance levels
  • operating the machine
  • checking the work meets quality and technical standards
  • maintaining equipment

Working environment

You could work in a factory.

Your working environment may be noisy.

You may need to wear protective clothing.

Career path and progression

With experience and further training, you could move into a supervisory role.

You could also move into quality inspection or become an engineering technician.

Training opportunities

Apprenticeships In England

CNC Engineering Machinist Apprenticeship

  • Wage : £150.00 - £250.00 Weekly
  • Location: King's Lynn PE30 4NG

Apprentice Engineer (Electrical)

  • Wage : £13,540.80 Annually
  • Location: BB5 5YE

Courses In England

BSc (Hons) Top-Up Degree in Mechanical Engineering (Oxford Brookes)

  • Provider: Solihull College & University Centre
  • Start date: 01 September 2019
  • Location: Smith's Wood

Mechanical Engineering HND Year 1

  • Provider: East Surrey College
  • Start date: 30 September 2019
  • Location: Redhill

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