What does a CNC Machinist do?

A machinist operates computer numerically controlled (CNC) machine tools, such as lathes and milling machines, to cut and produce precision parts for machines, instruments, and tools. Machinist repair or produce parts using both manual and automated equipment with precise measurements. Essentially, a machinists' goal is to ensure effective production operations and optimize procedures. A machinist typically works in manufacturing plants.

Most machinist have at least a high school diploma, however, a completed apprenticeship or vocational training is preferred. Successful machinists possess excellent mathematical and analytical skills and have great manual dexterity.

  • Review samples, drawings or instructions to understand specifications of output
  • Take measurements and mark material for cutting or shaping
  • Plan the sequence of necessary actions for the completion of a job
  • Select appropriate machines (e.g. lathes) and position or load material for a job
  • Monitor machine while working to adjust the feed, maintain temperature and identify issues
  • Determine and program size of batches and speed of machine
  • Monitor output to ensure consistency with specifications and discard defects
  • Perform routine machine maintenance and repair minor damages
  • Vocational school or apprenticeship preferred
  • Excellent manual dexterity, accuracy and attention to detail
  • Great verbal and written communication skills
  • Experience in using and/or programming manual, semi-automated or automated tools and machines (lathes, grinders etc.)
  • Ability to use precision tools (e.g. calipers) to take accurate measurements
  • Ability to read blueprints, schematics and manuals
  • Knowledge of metal properties and other material
  • Outstanding mathematical skills and analytical abilities
  • Physical stamina and strength to lift heavy items
EducationAssociate's Degree
Work/Life Balance
3.0 ★
Salary Range--
Career Opportunity
2.9 ★
Avg. Experience8+ years

CNC Machinist Salaries

Average Base Pay

€36,093 /yr
Same as national average
Not including cash compensation
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Not enough salaries reported to show distribution
€30K
Median: €36K
€52K
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Glassdoor Estimated Salary

CNC Machinist Career Path

Learn how to become a CNC Machinist, what skills and education you need to succeed, and what level of pay to expect at each step on your career path.

L2
Machinist
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L3
Senior Machinist
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L4
Lead Machinist
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CNC Machinist Insights

Read what CNC Machinist professionals have to say about their job experiences and view top companies for this career.
DonsonDonson
CNC Machinist
10 Feb 2021

“Donson provided me with excellent training and still do this day I am learning great skills!”

Morgan StephensMorgan Stephens
CNC Machinist
29 Jul 2019

“Steve Kerrigan was a great help in finding me the job I wanted and best fit my needs.”

Kansas City National Security CampusKansas City National Security Campus
General Machinist
14 Jun 2021

“It's miserable and the only reason so many people work here is because the pay is almost TOO good.”

Libra Industries
CNC Machinist
9 Jul 2021

“I took a very low initial wage because I’m not afraid to work my way up.”

SiemensSiemens
Machinist
29 Nov 2020

“Supervisors know nothing about what goes into making a part let alone how to run a shop.”

Consolidated Precision ProductsConsolidated Precision Products
Tool Maker/Machinist
17 Mar 2021

“good work opportunities and stable”

Southern California Precision Machining
CNC Machinist
20 Apr 2021

“bonus was good and so was pay”

Quality Quartz Engineering
CNC Operator
27 Jan 2021

“Staff is nice and fun to work with.”

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CNC Machinist Interviews

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CNC Machinist jobs