What Do Computer-Controlled Machine Tool Operators, Metal And Plastic Do

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Salary, Job Description, How To Become One, and Quiz

Computer-Controlled Machine Tool Operators, Metal And Plastic

Computer-Controlled Machine Tool Operators, Metal And Plastic operate computer-controlled machines or robots to perform one or more machine functions on metal or plastic work pieces.

Salary
$44300
Becoming One
Medium
Education
No degree required
Job Satisfaction
Low
Job Growth

Personality





Find a job you love and you will never work a day in your life.Confucius

What they do

Computer-Controlled Machine Tool Operators, Metal And Plastic operate computer-controlled machines or robots to perform one or more machine functions on metal or plastic work pieces.

  • Measure dimensions of finished workpieces to ensure conformance to specifications, using precision measuring instruments, templates, and fixtures.
  • Mount, install, align, and secure tools, attachments, fixtures, and workpieces on machines, using hand tools and precision measuring instruments.
  • Stop machines to remove finished workpieces or to change tooling, setup, or workpiece placement, according to required machining sequences.
  • Transfer commands from servers to computer numerical control (CNC) modules, using computer network links.

Typical day

On a daily basis, CNC Machine Operators stop machines to remove finished workpieces or to change tooling, setup, or workpiece placement, according to required machining sequences. They measure dimensions of finished workpieces to ensure conformance to specifications, using precision measuring instruments, templates, and fixtures.

A typical day for a Computer-Controlled Machine Tool Operator, Metal and Plastic will also include:

  • Maintain machines and remove and replace broken or worn machine tools, using hand tools.
  • Control coolant systems.
  • Clean machines, tooling, or parts, using solvents or solutions and rags.
  • Lift workpieces to machines manually or with hoists or cranes.
  • Listen to machines during operation to detect sounds such as those made by dull cutting tools or excessive vibration, and adjust machines to compensate for problems.

Other responsibilities

Besides their typical day, CNC Machine Operators also set up future jobs while machines are operating. They may also confer with supervisors or programmers to resolve machine malfunctions or production errors or to obtain approval to continue production.

On a weekly to monthly basis, CNC Machine Operators examine electronic components for defects or completeness of laser-beam trimming, using microscopes. They might also layout and mark areas of parts to be shot-peened and fill hoppers with a shot.

In addition, they write simple programs for computer-controlled machine tools.

Although specific duties may vary, many of them implement changes to machine programs, and enter new specifications, using computers.

To some CNC Machine Operators, it is also their responsibility to review program specifications or blueprints to determine and set machine operations and sequencing finished workpiece dimensions or numerical control sequences.

Freedom to make decisions

How much decision making freedom does this job offer?

No freedom
2%

Very little freedom
14%

Limited freedom
30%

Some freedom
20%

A lot of freedom
35%

Structured vs unstructured work

To what extent is this job structured for you versus allowing you to determine your own tasks, priorities, and goals?

No freedom
2%

Very little freedom
21%

Limited freedom
14%

Some freedom
13%

A lot of freedom
49%


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What is the job like

Job satisfaction

Low

Is this job meaningful

Low

50% said they were satisfied with their job and 44% said they found their job meaningful.


Daniel Mitchell
ARCH Production & Design NYC

Running the CNC is a vital part of our business and is one of the most valuable tools we have in our shop. It allows us to produce parts and pieces at a fraction of the time it would take to do by hand and cuts them to exact precision.

Dan's work #1

Dan’s work #1

My job generally includes taking a client’s idea of a piece they want made for a project – furniture, display piece, logo, signs, etc – utilizing the technical drawings from our designers and setting up the cut procedures and operations for the CNC to execute. It’s always interesting because you’re never making the same item twice and it is rewarding to see you take a client’s idea and bring it to life.

On an average day, my responsibilities around the shop vary but most often I’m involved in running the digital fabrication and project management. This involves running the CNC & laser machine along with graphic preparation and layout.

Dan's work #2

Dan’s work #2

Pros

The pros are the people I work with and that each day and project is unique and different so work never feels repetitive.

Cons

The cons are strenuous deadlines that happen with projects but ultimately leave you with a rewarding feeling when you finish a project and the client is happy.

Daniel Mitchell
Arch NYC


Pros

Suitable for people who like practical and hands-on work.

Suitable for people who want to work in a supportive work environment.

This career is perfect for people who love to work indoors.

It is not too difficult to get into this career. Previous work-related skill, knowledge, or experience is required for this career.

Cons

Not suitable for people who like to help and teach others.

Salary is below average.

Long working hours (More than 40 hours per week).

How much do they make

Average salary

$44300 per year

Average hourly wage

$21 per hour

Entry-level Computer-Controlled Machine Tool Operators, Metal And Plastic with little to no experience can expect to make anywhere between $28,750 to $34,500 per year or $14 to $17 per hour.

Salary by experience Annual Hourly
Highest (Top 10%) $63,460 $31
Senior (Top 25%) $52,090 $25
Median $42,260 $20
Junior (Bottom 25%) $34,500 $17
No experience (Bottom 10%) $28,750 $14

This table shows the top 10 highest paying industries for Computer-Controlled Machine Tool Operators, Metal And Plastic based on their average annual salary.

Salary by industry Annual Hourly
Scientific Research and Development Services $58750 $28.24
Advertising, Public Relations, and Related Services $55110 $26.50
Motor Vehicle Manufacturing $53890 $25.91
Aerospace Product and Parts Manufacturing $50100 $24.09
Specialized Design Services $49960 $24.02
Chemical Manufacturing $49500 $23.80
Petroleum and Coal Products Manufacturing $49190 $23.65
Commercial and Industrial Machinery and Equipment Repair and Maintenance $48680 $23.40
Architectural, Engineering, and Related Services $47990 $23.07
Pulp, Paper, and Paperboard Mills $47530 $22.85

View more salary by industries here.

Where can they work

Where can Computer-Controlled Machine Tool Operators, Metal And Plastic work? Here is a table showing the top 10 largest employers of Computer-Controlled Machine Tool Operators, Metal And Plastic including the average salary in that industry.

Employers Total Employed Annual Salary Hourly Wages
Machine Shops; Turned Product; and Screw, Nut, and Bolt Manufacturing 35820 $43350 $20.84
Fabricated Metal Product Manufacturing 15330 $43470 $20.90
Machinery Manufacturing 14400 $46600 $22.41
Aerospace Product and Parts Manufacturing 12290 $50100 $24.09
Metalworking Machinery Manufacturing 12200 $47090 $22.64
Motor Vehicle Parts Manufacturing 7550 $42770 $20.56
Fabricated Metal Product Manufacturing 6090 $43660 $20.99
Plastics Product Manufacturing 5410 $43030 $20.69
Employment Services 4060 $34620 $16.64
Medical Equipment and Supplies Manufacturing 3280 $42420 $20.40

What is the work day like

Working hours

Less than 40 hours
4%

40 hours
39%

More than 40 hours
57%

Working schedule

78%

22%

0%

Work with group or team

How important is it to work with others in a group or team in this job?

Not important at all
1%

Fairly important
11%

Important
46%

Very important
9%

Extremely important
33%

Deal with external customers

How important is it to work with customers in this job?

Not important at all
62%

Fairly important
7%

Important
5%

Very important
10%

Extremely important
16%

Manage or lead others

How important is it to coordinate or lead others in completing work activities in this job?

Not important at all
24%

Fairly important
24%

Important
24%

Very important
1%

Extremely important
27%

Email

How often do you use email in this job?

Once a week
9%

Every day
11%

Telephone

How often do you have telephone conversations in this job?

Once a week
14%

Every day
17%

Group discussions

How often do you have group discussions in this job?

Once a week
12%

Every day
77%

Public speaking

How often does this job require you to do public speaking?

Never
69%

Once a year
26%

Once a month
2%

Once a week
3%

Every day
0%

Frequency of conflict situations

How often are there conflict situations in this job?

Never
20%

Once a year
38%

Once a month
19%

Once a week
18%

Every day
6%

Dealing with angry people

How often do you have to deal with angry, unpleasant, or discourteous individuals in this job?

Never
17%

Once a year
42%

Once a month
16%

Once a week
14%

Every day
12%

Dealing with physically aggressive people

How often do you have to deal with physically aggressive people in this job?

Never
64%

Once a year
16%

Once a month
9%

Once a week
10%

Every day
0%

Level of competition

How much competitive pressure is in this job?

Not competitive at all
18%

Slightly competitive
14%

Moderately competitive
32%

Highly competitive
27%

Extremely competitive
9%

Repetition in this job

How important is repeating the same type of task over and over in this job?

Not important at all
8%

Fairly important
17%

Important
2%

Very Important
28%

Extremely Important
44%

Impact of decisions on co-workers or company results

What results do your decisions usually have on other people or the reputation or financial resources of your employer?

No impact
19%

Minor impact
12%

Moderate impact
17%

Important impact
27%

Very important impact
25%

Frequency of decision making

How frequently do you have to make decisions that affect other people, the financial resources, and/or the reputation of the company?

Never
21%

Once a year
21%

Once a month
11%

Once a week
14%

Every day
32%

Responsibility for others’ health and safety

How much responsibility is there for the health and safety of others in this job?

No responsibility
5%

Limited responsibility
43%

Moderate responsibility
8%

High responsibility
21%

Very high responsibility
23%

Responsibility for outcomes and results

How much responsibility is there for the work outcomes and results of other workers?

No responsibility
28%

Limited responsibility
17%

Moderate responsibility
18%

High responsibility
13%

Very high responsibility
24%

What is the work environment like

Office-style environment

Indoors in an environmentally controlled condition

Never
38%

Once a year or more
0%

Once a month or more
0%

Once a week or more
0%

Every day
62%

Warehouse-style environment

Indoors in a non-controlled environmental condition such as a warehouse

Never
55%

Once a year or more
6%

Once a month or more
0%

Once a week or more
2%

Every day
38%

Outdoors

Outdoors exposed to all weather conditions

Never
91%

Once a year or more
4%

Once a month or more
0%

Once a week or more
5%

Every day
0%

Outdoors – Under Cover

Outdoors but under cover (e.g. structure with roof but no walls)

Never
99%

Once a year or more
1%

Once a month or more
0%

Once a week or more
0%

Every day
0%

How to become one

Difficulty to become one

Medium
You will need previous work-related skill, knowledge, or experience. Most careers in this difficulty category require training in vocational schools, related on-the-job experience, or an Associate’s degree, and one or two years of on-the-job training. Similar careers include Travel Agents, Agricultural Technicians, Court Reports, and Medical Assistants.

Required level of education

What level of education do you need to perform the job?

Less than a High School Diploma
2%

High School Diploma or equivalent
39%

Post-Secondary Certificate
19%

Some College Courses
15%

Associate’s Degree or similar
12%

Bachelor’s Degree
12%

Post-Baccalaureate Certificate
0%

Master’s Degree
0%

Post-Master’s Certificate
0%

First Professional Degree
0%

Doctoral Degree
0%

Post-Doctoral Training
0%

Relevant work experience

How much related work experience do you need to get hired for the job?

None
9%

1 month
4%

1 to 3 months
1%

3 to 6 months
6%

6 months to 1 year
22%

1 to 2 years
34%

2 to 4 years
16%

4 to 6 years
6%

6 to 8 years
0%

8 to 10 years
1%

Over 10 years
0%

On The Job Training

How much on the job training do you need to perform the job?

None or short demonstration
0%

1 month
20%

1 to 3 months
12%

3 to 6 months
43%

6 months to 1 year
14%

1 to 2 years
10%

2 to 4 years
1%

4 to 10 years
0%

Over 10 years
0%

Should you become one

Best personality type for this career

The Builder

People with this personality type likes practical and hands-on work. They prefer working with plants, animals, and real-world materials like wood, tools, and machinery.

The Builder
100%

People with The Builder personality type likes practical and hands-on work. They prefer working with plants, animals, and real-world materials like wood, tools, and machinery.


The Thinker
24%

People with The Thinker personality likes to work with ideas that require an extensive amount of thinking. They prefer work that requires them to solve problems mentally.


The Artist
14%

People with The Artist personality likes to work with designs and patterns. They prefer activities that require self-expression and prefer work that can be done without following a clear set of rules.


The Helper
14%

People with The Helper personality type likes to work with people and in teams. They prefer work that allows them to build relationships with others.


The Leader
24%

People with The Leader personality likes to start and work on projects. They also like leading people and making many decisions.


The Organizer
38%

People with The Organizer personality type likes to follow set procedures and routines. They prefer working with data and details more than with ideas.


You can read more about these career personality types here.

People who are suitable for this job tend to like work activities that include practical, hands-on problems and solutions. They like working with plants, animals, and real-world materials like wood, tools, and machinery.

They also like following set procedures and routines. They like working with data and details more than with ideas.

Take this quiz to see if this is the right career for you.

Work Values

Which values are the most important to a person’s satisfaction for this job?

Achievement
33%

You are someone who is results oriented. You prefer work that allows you to utilize your skills and abilities while at the same time giving you a sense of accomplishment.

Working Conditions
43%

You are someone who values job security, steady employment, and good working conditions. You also prefer work that keeps you busy all the time with something different to do every day.

Recognition
33%

You are someone who values job advancement and leadership roles. You prefer work that receives recognition for the work you do and jobs that are looked up to by others in the company and your community.

Relationships
43%

You are someone who likes to provide a service to others. You prefer a work environment where you can work with your co-workers in a friendly non-competitive environment.

Support
71%

You are someone who values a company that stands behind their employees. You prefer a work environment where everyone is treated fairly and is being supported by the company.

Independence
48%

You are someone who likes to work on your own and make your own decisions. You prefer work that requires little supervision and are allowed to try out your own ideas.

FAQ


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