CNC Machining: Manufacturing’s Hottest Specialty


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CNC Machining: Manufacturing’s Hottest Specialty - Monday, February 1, 2016

CNC machining has become the rock star of the manufacturing field. With explosive demand and qualified-technician job growth that can't keep up with it—it truly is one of the most sought-after manufacturing specialties. To put that in perspective, employers are projected to create at least 40,000 jobs for skilled CNC machining technicians over the next few years.

cnc machining milling head closeup

Forbes recently published an article showing that despite an 8%+ unemployment rate, CNC machinists are still hot in demand and can get a job offer in almost any manufacturing plant across the country. They aptly describe machinists as forming the "the foundation of [modern] manufacturing."

So ... What is CNC machining, and why is it experiencing such growth?

What is CNC Machining?

CNC machining stands for computer numerically controlled machining. Even if you aren't aware what CNC machining is—you use CNC machined parts every day. CNC machining is responsible, at some point in the manufacturing line, for almost every product manufactured the United States.

The reason it is so prolific is this: It is a modernized, computer-aided version of old-school machining, that requires more skill (like coding) but less manual labor. CNC machining is all about programming computers and machines to sculpt the end result you need, through programmed software. This programmable software requires workers who know how to program. It's not (just) a physical job any more.

The CNC Job Market

The CNC job market has been growing, with thousands of jobs going unfulfilled each year. More students are taking CNC machining training each year. For example, Erie Community College in Amherst had just six students enroll in its CNC program in 2003—but 100 in 2014.

Potential CNC machinists are beginning to take notice thanks to the ample amount of jobs out there—but also for the wages. CNC machinists can expect to earn double the minimum wage rates, but have salary growth trajectories that can go up to $80K per year. The median starting salary is around $40K. And all of this is without an expensive or timely degree.

A student taking a CNC machinist certificate course can expect to complete it in about a year. Some programs and employers will expect a 1-year apprenticeship—however this isn't always a requirement. The courses can be difficult though, so don't expect an easy ride. Out of the 100 students who enrolled in Erie College's CNC course, they expect about 85 to complete the program. That's a 15% attrition rate, which is pretty good for a course this reasonably advanced.

On top of the good salary and (relatively) quick post-secondary course, the job placement rates are exceptional. Erie College has a 100% placement rate. NAIT and other certificate programs also have 100% placement rates.

CNC—the Future of Manufacturing

Here at Digital Machining Systems we know that CNC machining is the way of the future—and we're ecstatic to bring this cutting-edge technology to Lafayette.


 

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