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Taking a trade path after high school can be a profitable and rewarding venture.  Learning CNC Machining is one trade that is continually growing and is needed more and more in a world the depends on metal.  For CNC Machine Training you have different paths that you can take and we hope that we can help narrow down yours, but first lets take a look at what you can expect from the current market as a CNC Machinist.

CNC Machinist Salary

As always this is based on location.  A shop in Alabama will pay less then a shop in New York.  Also it depends on if you decide to specialize in a in demand skillset within CNC Machining.  Data is based on Bureau of Labor Statistics from May 2015.

Low: $12.13                    Med:$20.48                   High:$29.96

**These statistics do not include overtime pay which is common in CNC Machining.  During crunch time you can expect 10-20 hours of overtime which will inflate your salary.

machinist employement chart

Job Growth is expected to be 10% which is above average nationally by 2024.

Overall the market looks bright for future machinists.  It is a trade that is predicted to grow and will allow you to make an above average salary.

CNC Machine Training

You have several options when it comes to training.  The most common method is either to get a certificate from a local university or get a full associate degree in applied science.  In the past learning machining was done in the apprenticeship program and you can still find shops that are willing to train apprentices but this will take a bit of footwork.  Last but not least is online training and online CNC certification programs.  This requires a lot of self study and will not give you the hands on with a mill time that you would receive by other training methods.  Normally online certifications are for those that already have a CNC job and access to equipment.

CNC Machine Training – University/Community College

We have an ever changing list under our CNC Training by State page.  This path gets you several advantages over those that will be competing for jobs with you.  You can expect to pay anywhere from $3000-$10000 in tuition to a local community college (Depends on location).  On top of the tuition you need to add in the missed revenue from not working during this time.  The opportunity cost of this path will take a few years to pay off. So if you planned to make 20,000 by working the opportunity cost for the two years of  school is $40,000 + tuition.

  1. Degree:  Getting a degree helps open paths to management in the machine shop.  The degree proves to employers that you have taken college level English and math along side your CNC training.  These skills are critical for those that will manage other machinists.  These credits will also transfer to a 4 year university if you decide you want to pursue a higher education later in life.  Mechanical Engineers greatly benefit from having machining training.
  2. Hands on Shop time:  You will get lots of shop time with trained professional that will go over multiple machining tools and programs.  You will normally get a wider range of machines to work on by training at the university.
  3. .Professional Network: You will go through the program gaining a network of contacts that you can use to leverage to find the best possible job for you.  Even growing with your peers will net you benefits in the future job market.  Make sure to take the time to build your network alongside your studies.

CNC Machine Training – Apprenticeship

Apprenticeships do in fact still exist in the trade world.  This path has the benefit of getting you a small income while learning how to machine.  The experience that you will gain from being an apprentice will help you pass future certifications and interviews.  The disadvantage to this path is you do not get a piece of paper saying you actually know how to use the CNC machines and understand basic shop safety.  This can be detrimental to successfully landing some jobs that pay higher (government/education/research) as they tend to prefer those that have both experience and formal education.

  1. Income:  You will be paid during your apprenticeship though the salary will normally be small.  Instead of spending cash on getting a degree you will earn a small income alongside learning the CNC Machining trade.
  2. Hands on shop time:  You will be able to learn how to use machines from experienced machinist.
  3.  Work Experience:  Work experience and understanding of how actual shops work will increase your value to future employers.