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Computer-Controlled Machine Tool Operators

What they do:

Operate computer-controlled machines or robots to perform one or more machine functions on metal or plastic work pieces.

On the job, you would:

  • 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.
Engineering and Technology
  • mechanical
  • design
Math and Science
  • arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, or statistics
  • physics
Manufactured or Agricultural Goods
  • manufacture and distribution of products
Arts and Humanities
  • English language
 Basic Skills
  • keeping track of how well people and/or groups are doing in order to make improvements
  • thinking about the pros and cons of different ways to solve a problem
Problem Solving
  • noticing a problem and figuring out the best way to solve it
Technical
  • watching gauges, dials, or display screens to make sure a machine is working
  • testing how well a product or service works
Hand and Finger Use
  • keep your arm or hand steady
  • hold or move items with your hands
Controlled Movement
  • change when and how fast you move based on how something else is moving
  • quickly change the controls of a machine, car, truck or boat
Hearing and Speech
  • tell the difference between sounds
  • pay attention to one sound while there are other distracting sounds.

Want to Enter a Growing Part of the Mining Field?

24% Growth


Estimates show an annual job opening of over 520, with opportunities available in several industries tied to Construction and mining.
growth 95 retire 121 transfers 308


Top 5 Industries


Get a Head Start Right out of High School!

Education Required

Although most metal and plastic machine workers typically have a high school diploma, many computer numerically controlled machine tool programmers usually need to complete coursework beyond high school. Some community colleges and other schools offer courses and certificate programs in operating metal and plastics machines including CNC programming.

Training Required

Machine operator trainees usually begin by watching and helping experienced workers on the job. Under supervision, they may start by supplying materials, starting and stopping the machines, or by removing finished products. Then they advance to more difficult tasks that operators perform, such as adjusting feed speeds, changing cutting tools, and inspecting a finished product for defects. Eventually, some develop the skills and experience to set up machines.


Computer-Controlled Machine Tool Operator Programs

Community Colleges

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Major Employers in the Gulf Coast Region

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*Includes the following counties: Austin, Brazoria, Chambers, Colorado, Fort Bend, Galveston, Harris, Liberty, Matagorda, Montgomery, Walker, Waller, and Wharton.