CNC Setup Operator

Double check machinery codes for minor programming errors.
picture of CNC Setup Operator

Quick Stats


Salary Range
$23,000 – $55,000

Data from U.S. Department of Labor


What do CNC Setup Operators do?

A Proofreader working in a newsroom looks over copy written by Writers and adjusts any small mistakes in grammar and punctuation. The Proofreader does no writing, only tweaking, although ample complaining is allowed. Similarly, a CNC Setup Operator checks computer code written by CNC Programmers. The CNC Setup Operator can catch and fix minor problems, saving the company money, but they don’t write extensive amounts of computer programs unassisted.

As a CNC Setup Operator, you download the code written by the CNC Programmer at the beginning of the project, and you install it in the machine. Looking closely at the program, you determine what sorts of bits your tool needs to run the program. You may need a specific shape of spindle, for example, or a particular type of blade. Installing all of these parts properly is part of your job.

When the program is loaded and the machine is ready to go, you start the program and allow the tool to make a few sample products. While the machine is running, you listen closely for whining or screeching, and you adjust the alignment of the equipment as needed.

As the finished products emerge, you turn off the machine and perform a detailed inspection to ensure that the pieces conform to the shapes outlined in the computer program. If you spot a minor error, you tweak the computer program a bit and run the test again. If you spot a major error, however, you notify the CNC Programmer and politely ask for a revision.

When your work is complete, you turn the tool over to a CNC Operator to complete the production run.


Should I be a CNC Setup Operator?

You should have a certificate degree or higher and share these traits:
  • High Achiever: You love the challenge of tackling difficult work.
  • Detail Oriented: You pay close attention to all the little details.
  • Team Player: You're able to listen, communicate, and work with tons of different people.

  • How to become a CNC Setup Operator

    Most CNC Setup Operators have a Certificate. Chart?chd=s:79aaaa&chl=no+college+%2849%25%29|certificate+%2851%25%29||||&cht=p3&chs=466x180&chxr=0,49,51
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