Computer Numerically Controlled Machine Tool Programmers, Metal and Plastic
SOC: 51-4012.00


Develop programs to control machining or processing of metal or plastic parts by automatic machine tools, equipment, or systems.

National Salary Information:

Hourly Statistics:

Annual Statistics:

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics 2015 wage data.

Employment Projections:

Employment (2014):
25,100 employed

Projected (2024):
29,900 employed

Projected growth (2014-2024)

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics 2015 2014-2024 employment projections external site. "Projected growth" represents the estimated change in total employment over the projections period (2014-2024). "Projected job openings" represent openings due to growth and replacement.

Alternate Titles:

  • CAD CAM Programmer (Computer-Aided Design Computer-Aided Manufacturing Programmer)
  • CNC Process Control Programmer
  • Computer Numerical Control Programmer (CNC Programmer)
  • Machinist
  • Manufacturing Engineer
  • Metal Numerical Control Programmer
  • Metal Numerical Tool Programmer
  • Mold Maker
  • Numerical Control Nesting Operator
  • Numerical Control Programmer (NC Programmer)
  • Numerical Control Tool Programmer
  • Numerical Tool Programmer
  • Plastic Numerical Tool and Process Control Programmer
  • Process Control Programmer
  • Process Engineer
  • Programer
  • Programmer
  • Project Engineer
  • Sheet Metal Computer Numerically Controlled Programmer
  • Software Engineer
  • Tool and Die Maker
  • Tool Maker
  • Welding Engineer

  • Job Zone Three: Medium Preparation Needed


    Previous work-related skill, knowledge, or experience is required for these occupations. For example, an electrician must have completed three or four years of apprenticeship or several years of vocational training, and often must have passed a licensing exam, in order to perform the job.


    Most occupations in this zone require training in vocational schools, related on-the-job experience, or an associate's degree.

    Job Training:

    Employees in these occupations usually need one or two years of training involving both on-the-job experience and informal training with experienced workers. A recognized apprenticeship program may be associated with these occupations.

    Required Skills:

  • Reading Comprehension
  • Active Listening
  • Writing
  • Speaking
  • Mathematics
  • Science
  • Critical Thinking
  • Active Learning
  • Learning Strategies
  • Monitoring
  • Social Perceptiveness
  • Coordination
  • Persuasion
  • Negotiation
  • Instructing
  • Service Orientation
  • Complex Problem Solving
  • Operations Analysis
  • Technology Design
  • Equipment Selection
  • Installation
  • Programming
  • Operation Monitoring
  • Operation and Control
  • Equipment Maintenance
  • Troubleshooting
  • Repairing
  • Quality Control Analysis
  • Judgment and Decision Making
  • Systems Analysis
  • Systems Evaluation
  • Time Management
  • Management of Financial Resources
  • Management of Material Resources
  • Management of Personnel Resources

  • Knowledge Used:

  • Administration and Management
  • Clerical
  • Sales and Marketing
  • Customer and Personal Service
  • Personnel and Human Resources
  • Production and Processing
  • Computers and Electronics
  • Engineering and Technology
  • Design
  • Building and Construction
  • Mechanical
  • Mathematics
  • Physics
  • Chemistry
  • Psychology
  • Sociology and Anthropology
  • Therapy and Counseling
  • Education and Training
  • English Language
  • Public Safety and Security
  • Law and Government
  • Telecommunications
  • Communications and Media
  • Transportation

  • Tasks:

  • Determine the sequence of machine operations, and select the proper cutting tools needed to machine workpieces into the desired shapes.
  • Revise programs or tapes to eliminate errors, and retest programs to check that problems have been solved.
  • Analyze job orders, drawings, blueprints, specifications, printed circuit board pattern films, and design data to calculate dimensions, tool selection, machine speeds, and feed rates.
  • Determine reference points, machine cutting paths, or hole locations, and compute angular and linear dimensions, radii, and curvatures.
  • Observe machines on trial runs or conduct computer simulations to ensure that programs and machinery will function properly and produce items that meet specifications.
  • Compare encoded tapes or computer printouts with original part specifications and blueprints to verify accuracy of instructions.
  • Enter coordinates of hole locations into program memories by depressing pedals or buttons of programmers.
  • Write programs in the language of a machine's controller and store programs on media such as punch tapes, magnetic tapes, or disks.
  • Modify existing programs to enhance efficiency.
  • Enter computer commands to store or retrieve parts patterns, graphic displays, or programs that transfer data to other media.
  • Prepare geometric layouts from graphic displays, using computer-assisted drafting software or drafting instruments and graph paper.
  • Write instruction sheets and cutter lists for a machine's controller to guide setup and encode numerical control tapes.
  • Sort shop orders into groups to maximize materials utilization and minimize machine setup time.
  • Draw machine tool paths on pattern film, using colored markers and following guidelines for tool speed and efficiency.
  • Align and secure pattern film on reference tables of optical programmers, and observe enlarger scope views of printed circuit boards.

  • Tools & Technology:

  • Adjustable squares
  • Bore gauges
  • Computer numerically controlled CNC lathes
  • Coodinate meauring machines CMM
  • Dial indicators
  • Digital angle gauges
  • Digital calipers
  • Digital height gauges
  • Digital micrometers
  • Drill presses
  • Fillet gauges
  • Optical comparators
  • Pin gauge sets
  • Precision surface plates
  • Screw pitch gauges
  • Sine bars
  • Thickness gauges
  • Toolmaker's microscope
  • Transfer gages
  • Vernier bevel protractors
  • Vernier calipers
  • Vertical boring mills
  • Vertical computer numerically controlled CNC milling machines
  • Vertical turret lathes VTL
  • Wire gauges
  • 1CadCam Unigraphics
  • Autodesk AutoCAD software
  • BobCAD-CAM software
  • Celeritive Technologies VoluMill
  • Cimatron Group CimatronE
  • Computer aided design CAD software
  • Computer aided manufacturing CAM software
  • Dassault Systemes CATIA
  • Dassault Systemes CATIA software
  • Dassault Systemes SolidWorks software
  • Delcam FeatureCAM
  • Delcam for SolidWorks
  • Delcam Partmaker
  • Delcam PowerMill
  • Delcam PowerShape
  • Dolphin CAD/CAM USA software
  • DP Technology ESPRIT
  • Enterprise resource planning ERP software
  • EXAPT software
  • Extensible markup language XML
  • FastCAM software
  • G code
  • Geometric Technologies CAMWorks
  • Gerber Technology CutWorks
  • Gibbs and Associates GibbsCAM
  • GO2cam International GO2cam software
  • Hypertherm ProNest
  • Intelitek spectraCAM Milling
  • Intelitek spectraCAM Turning
  • Kubotek KeyCreator Machinist
  • M code
  • MachineWorks Ltd. MachineWorks
  • Manusoft Technologies IMOLD
  • Mastercam software
  • MecSoft Corporation RhinoCAM
  • MecSoft Corporation VisualMILL
  • MecSoft Corporation VisualTURN
  • Metalcam fikus visualcam
  • Metalix CAD/CAM System cncKad
  • Metamation MetaCAM
  • Microsoft Excel
  • Microsoft Office software
  • Microsoft PowerPoint
  • Microsoft Word
  • Missler Software TopSolid
  • Open Mind Software hyperMILL
  • Post-processor software
  • PTC Creo Parametric
  • Sescoi WorkNC software
  • SharpCam Ltd. SharpCam
  • Siemens NX CAM
  • SmartCAMcnc SmartCAM
  • SolidCAM iMachining
  • SolidCAM software
  • SolutionWare Corporation GeoPath software
  • Sprut Technology SprutCAM
  • Tebis software
  • Technos Astra R-Nesting
  • Technos Astra S-Nesting
  • Top Systems T-FLEX CAM
  • Ucamo Ucam
  • Vero Software Alphacam Milling
  • Vero Software Alphacam Turning
  • Vero Software Edgecam software
  • Vero Software machining STRATEGIST
  • Vero Software PEPS software
  • Vero Software RADAN software
  • Vero Software SMIRTsoftware
  • Vero Software SURFCAM software
  • Vero Software VISI software

  • production

    industry stats

    SOC: 51-0000

    Total Employed: 9,073,290

    Average Annual Salary: $36,220