CNC programmers, or computer numerical control programmers, create and develop programs that control the processing of parts by automatic machines. They program machines to cut and shape materials such as plastic, metal and glass. The result of the manufacturing process is a finished part or piece. These workers produce products such as automobile parts or computer keyboards. CNC programmers are also known as numerical tool and process control programmers, according to O*Net Online, a website sponsored by the Department of Labor Statistics.
The mean hourly wage for numerical tool and process control programmers was $23.19 and the mean annual wage, or average salary, was $48,230, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics in May 2009.
PayScale lists the median hourly wage of computer numerically controlled programmers based on years of experience. In October 2010, employees with one to four years of experience earned between $13.14 to $19.26; five to nine years, $15.78 to $22.03; 10 to 19 years, $18.31 to $25; and 20 years or more, $21.15 to $28.02.
The machine shops; turned product; and screw, nut and bolt manufacturing industry employed the largest number of numerical tool and process control programmers with an average salary of $49,380, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics in May 2009. Other industries that employed large numbers were: metalworking machinery manufacturing, $45,180; aerospace product and parts manufacturing, $62,430; architectural and structural metals manufacturing, $46,460; and machinery manufacturing, $46,160.
The aerospace product and parts manufacturing industry not only employed high numbers of numerical tool and process control programmers, it also paid the highest average salary above all other industries with $62,430, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics in May 2009. Other industries that offered high pay were: miscellaneous manufacturing, $54,810; wholesale electronic markets and agents and brokers, $52,480; professional and commercial equipment and supplies merchant wholesalers, $51,790; and coating, engraving, heat, treating and allied activities, $51,210.
Washington paid the highest average salary above all other states to numerical tool and process control programmers with $67,160, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics in May 2009. Other states that offered high pay were: California, $57,960; Kansas, $56,200; Arizona, $54,790; and Oregon, $53,210.