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CNC Operator Job Description: Top Duties and Requirements

A CNC Operator, or a Machining Tool Operator, sets up and operates metal-cutting machinery to build tools and parts of various machinery. Their duties include studying blueprints and creating the design, cutting metal and manipulating it to build the project, and performing regular maintenance on their machinery.

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CNC Operator duties and responsibilities

A CNC Operator has many duties and responsibilities in any field of production. Some things expected of a CNC Operator daily include:

  • Read and understand blueprint designs
  • Set up machinery for production
  • Rework metal to create the blueprint design
  • Measure and verify all calculations prior to setting up the machinery
  • Maintain a clean and organized working environment
  • Complete routine maintenance of their machinery
  • Enter all relevant codes to specify the feed, speed, and cut of any toolpath for a CNC
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What does a CNC Operator do?

A CNC Operator performs a repetitive task by building and developing the same pieces or parts with the same machinery. They may drill, melt, bolt, or hone metal in order to complete the design in the blueprint they are following. A CNC Operator normally works on items like engine parts or other metal machinery through the use of a Computer Numerically Controlled (CNC). They must use several machines and tools to plan the design. They are also responsible for verifying very precise measurements prior to production. Additionally, a CNC Operator prepares etching solutions to repair damaged metal and maintains their machinery at all times to ensure optimal workflow.

CNC Operator skills and qualifications

A CNC Operator performs repetitive, painstakingly meticulous work. Some of the skills and qualifications that make for an excellent CNC Operator candidate include:

  • In-depth knowledge of computer and information systems
  • Strong eye for detail
  • Excellent organizational skills
  • In-depth knowledge of metal machinery
  • Excellent reporting and analytical skills
  • Excellent understanding of mechanics, mathematics, and basic chemistry
  • Ability to interpret 3D drawings and orthographic projection

CNC Operator experience requirements

A good CNC Operator candidate needs several years of experience as a Machine Operator prior to taking on a CNC Operator position. They also require three or more years of experience using a CNC machine in their previous positions. They can also gain experience through apprenticeship programs, internships, or other professional development courses outside the workplace instead of direct work experience.

CNC Operator education and training requirements

A CNC Operator candidate often needs a high school diploma or GED, but some may have college certifications in machinery operations. Some provinces require individuals to have specific certifications. For example, in Ontario, candidates must have the Roll Grinder or Tool and Cutter Grinder certification from the Ontario College of Trades. Ensure promising candidates meet the provincial or territorial requirements before hiring, and look for those with additional technical training.

CNC Operator salary expectations

According to Indeed Salaries, the average CNC Operator in Canada earns $20.16 per hour. Wages vary based on location, size and type of industry, level of experience, and technical certifications.

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CNC Operator job description FAQs

What is the difference between a CNC Operator and a Machine Operator?

A CNC Operator is a specialized Machine Operator with many years of experience. They also have certain accreditations and technical knowledge that a general Machine Operator does not. For example, CNC Operators can interpret 3D drawings and orthographic projection. By comparison, a Machine Operator is an entry-level position and candidates have little to no experience. They learn everything they need to know through on-the-job training. They are not responsible for machine setup and blueprint analysis like CNC Operators.

What qualities make for a good CNC Operator?

An excellent candidate for a CNC Operator position has a strong work ethic and an understanding of machinery, mathematics, and basic chemistry. A suitable candidate can work within a team and take the lead with ease. Candidates also need to be very attentive to precise details and take their time to ensure they carry their work out properly and thoroughly.

How can you make a CNC Operator job description stand out?

A good CNC Operator job description includes a detailed list of daily responsibilities and the specific educational and experience requirements for the position. Include how many years of previous experience as a Machine Operator you’re looking for, and the provincial or territorial training requirements they need (if any). Detail the computer software they need to be familiar with for blueprint design and reporting. Advertise a competitive salary and any benefits like RRSP-matching programs or healthcare insurance.

Job Description Examples

Need help writing a job description for a specific role? Use these job description examples to create your next great job posting. Or if you’re ready to hire, post your job on Indeed.

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