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CNC Operator

PMI Graphic

The technical curriculum of this program will take place at Precision Manufacturing Institute in Meadville, PA. The technical curriculum will account for 28 to a maximum of 30 credits. In addition to the technical curriculum, students will complete 32 credits of core curriculum courses to complete the requirements of the Associate of Applied Science degree from Clarion University.

This program will enable the beginning student to gain theory, application and practice of setup and operation of 2-axis CNC lathes and 3-axis CNC mills and be able to read and edit relating CNC program. The student will gain fundamental theories of manual applications in drilling operations, turning and milling and build upon these principles to become proficient in setup and operation of CNC lathes and mills. This course will prepare the student for a position as an intermediate level CNC operator.

What is a CNC Operator?

A CNC operator readies equipment to perform the necessary work. They download programs, place the required tools and metal or plastic that is to be shaped into the machine, and perform a test run. Once any problems are detected and modified, the operator will run the needed amount of product. The CNC operators, some who also have programming experience, continue to look for any problems. These can be detected by hearing too much vibration in the cutting tools, which cause errors and diminish product quality. The CNC operators also check to see that the metal or plastic, called the workpiece, is adequately lubricated and cooled. One operator may watch several machines at a time, depending on the complexity of the work that needs to be performed.

Employment Opportunities

Opportunities include but are not limited to CNC operators, CNC programmer, machinist apprentice or entry-level manufacturing engineers.

Job Outlook

The following job prospect information is provided by the Bureau of Labor & Statistics. This information reflects national projections made for 2006-2016.

Computer control programmers and operators held about 158,000 jobs in 2006. About 89 percent were computer-controlled machine tool operators, metal and plastic, and about 11 percent were numerical tool and process control programmers. Manufacturing employs almost all of these workers. Employment was concentrated in fabricated metal products manufacturing, machinery manufacturing, plastics products manufacturing, and transportation equipment manufacturing making mostly aerospace and automobile parts. Although computer control programmers and operators work in all parts of the country, jobs are most plentiful in the areas where manufacturing is concentrated. Job opportunities should be excellent, as employers are expected to continue to have difficulty finding qualified workers.

Curriculum Highlights

  • Blueprint reading
  • Inspection principles
  • Technical math
  • Machining fundamentals
  • CNC setups & operations