The many facets of the gear manufacturing process have long been the business of skilled machinists. But as time moves forward and the gear manufacturing process incorporates new technologies, the skills that set a machinist apart from his or her peers has changed. Today, while machinists with hands-on experience in gear manufacturing are still of high value, the machinist with Computer Numerical Control (CNC) capabilities is considered a more versatile job candidate.
The longstanding fear that skilled machinists will be replaced with computers and robots isn’t entirely unfounded. But what many companies have found is that by utilizing CNC-capable employees, they’re able to streamline production and take on additional work, thus requiring additional employees and/or overtime.
Despite a slight dip in early 2013, Google Trend shows steady growth in the interest around CNC machinists going back nearly ten years. The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates the median salary for CNC-trained machinists at just over $19 an hour, which works out to just under a $40,000 annual salary. Higher end stats show salaries closer to $46,000. Plotting future growth based on past numbers, CNC machinist positions should rise approximately 7% annually, resulting in around 30,000 additional jobs by 2020.
According to the website SalarybyState.org, the following locations offer above average salaries for CNC Machinists:
CNC has slowly become an integral component of machining across a number of manufacturing disciplines. Fairly standard CNC machines now include mills, lathes, plasma cutters, water jet cutters, various types of electric discharge machining, drills, embroidery machines, glass cutting, laser cutting, and on. Whether your business deals with worm gears, spur gears, bevel gears or pinion gears, chances are it came off a line that uses CNC Machines.
If you already have a machining job, additional training on using CNC machines may or may not be something your employer would pay for, but it’s becoming enough of an industry standard that it might be worth the out of pocket costs.
Great references here.