Operate computer-controlled tools, machines, or robots to machine or process parts, tools, or other work pieces made of metal, plastic, wood, stone, or other materials. Consumer Numerically Controlled (CNC) Operators set up CNC machines and equipment. Unload raw materials, prepare test runs to ensure proper maintenance and calibration of equipment. Inspect and measure finished products to ensure they meet requirements.

Make a Difference

A Typical Day

Measure dimensions of finished work pieces to ensure conformance to specifications using precision measuring instruments.

Mount, install, align, and secure tools, attachments, fixtures, and workpieces on machines.

Stop machines to remove finished work pieces or to change tooling, setup, or work piece placement.

Transfer commands from servers to computer numerical control (CNC) modules.

Check to ensure that work pieces are properly lubricated and cooled during machine operation.


Recommended Credentials

Completion of machining coursework or training 

Education & Training

Regional employers often hire graduates of these programs.


Northwest Lower Michigan


North Central Michigan College - CNC Machinist Technology, Certificate of Development 

Northwestern Michigan College: Machining I (MFG 113) Machining II (MFG 114) CNC Lathe (MFG 217)

Skilled Manufacturing, Inc.:  Mechatronics Apprenticeship (Partnership with Baker College)

Full training within companies: Century, Inc. Tentcraft, Skilled Manufacturing, Inc.

Elsewhere in Michigan


Lots of great, affordable local options!!

Explore This Career

Try it before you buy it!

The Local Advantage Learning Pathway

Pathway 1

Northwest Education Services (formerly TBAISD) Career Tech Center - Precision Machine Technology 

Dual enroll at NMC - Machining I (MFG 113)

Dual enroll at NMC - Machining II (MFG 114)

Pathway 2

NMC - Manufacturing Technology courses

NMC - Drafting & Design courses

NMC - AAS in Manufacturing

NMC Apprenticeship Pathway

Pathway 3

In company training or apprenticeship 


Sample Employers in Our Region

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Contact one of these companies and ask for an informational interview, to see if you can job shadow, or to find out if they hire interns.


Sample Job Titles...

  • CNC Machine Operator
  • Machine Operator
  • CNC Set-Up and Operator 
  • CNC Lathe Operator

Hear It From The Pros

10-Year Job Growth Projections

10-County Region

Employed Regionally

In 2021 (10-County Region)

Wage Range & Median 10-County Region


Annual Hires Regionally

In 2021

Other Regional Career Resources

CNC Machining

Learn more about Computer Numerically Controlled Tool Operators at O*NET Online.

Sample Career Pathways

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Diagram of Paths To and From Other Careers for CNC Operator

Related Careers

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