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Top 4 Reasons to Choose a CNC Machining Career
  1. Earn an OSHA10 Card & work toward NIMS Certifications
  2. Have a digital resume & portfolio of your work by graduation

  3. Oklahoma average wage for CNC Machinist: $13.11 - $29.66 /hr

  4. Graduate Career Ready, Debt Free!

Local Employers Willing to Pay to Fill National Skills Gap in Machining

March 18, 2019 -- The U.S. faces a real possibility of not having enough trained and qualified machinists for thousands of machining jobs becoming vacant every month as the Baby Boomer generation continues to retire. Many times, Moore Norman Technology Center CNC Machining students are pulled out for full-time work even before graduation and with higher-than-average wages, it can be a great way to begin a career.

The Precision Machined Products Association website states that machinists who hold certificates or associate degrees from accredited schools have the best opportunities for career advancement in the machining industry. According to the typical median salary for machinists in Oklahoma is $43,250.

MNTC CNC Machining Instructor Tracy Jones said work for machinists is good and they can expect a great wage and benefits for their unique knowledge and skill set. He makes sure his students are continually aware of the job prospects they have by posting current jobs on a board in his classroom to keep them focused on finishing the program in order to have the most employment options and leverage after graduation.

“The truth is that CareerTech can’t graduate machinists fast enough to meet industry demands. I’m always at risk of my students being taken out from under me once they know how to run all the machines and read blueprints. These skills are that high in-demand,” Jones said.

Oklahomans may not know of the best education options in which to take classes to become a CNC machinist. Oklahoma's CareerTech system provides the most accredited options with 15 technical schools across the state offering both the classroom setting and the full machine shop floors with traditional mills and lathes and now various advanced CNC machines.

Forbes reported in January 2019: 

Difficult-to-fill production jobs now command a wage premium, partially in an attempt to lure job seekers who might prefer other fields. Industrial engineers and other tech-savvy factory jobs offer four or five times the salary of a floor assembly role.

CNC Machining graduates Thomas Watson and Jake Anderson, along with 2017 Moore High School graduate Nathan Leal, say they each knew machining is right career path for them. Watson was able to complete the program in one year as a full-time adult student and recently took a position with Omada International in Oklahoma City where he will fabricate airplane parts to specification.

“My Dad took MNTC’s machining program in ’94, so I knew what machining was about and also how much machinists are needed and how well the industry pays. I feel good about getting out in the industry,” Watson said.

Anderson’s uncle is a machinist and so he was also familiar with the industry. He opted for class during mornings-only and completed the program in four semesters. He started the program as a senior in high school and was able to use the MNTC Tuition Waiver to finish. Leal also utilized the Tuition Waiver to complete the program and took a job as a machinist at Tinker Air Force Base soon after graduation. 

They’ve each learned computer numeric controlled machining techniques, also known as CNC machining, and mastered the use of lathes, mills and a new CNC machine during their time in the program. Leal said the machines seemed intimidating at first, but that he quickly learned that he is in control of each machine, what it does and the end result.

Students are also taught how to work independently and how to make practical use of trigonometry, geography and are now familiar with more measuring tools than the average person will see in their lifetimes.

“In school we learn math, but we aren’t told or shown how it applies to anything. In machining, we experience how math is important and applies exactly to what we make,” Leal said.

Watson added that class projects could sometimes take them five decimal places over; the work must be that precise. Anderson said he didn’t believe himself to be good in math until he got into the machining class.

“Where numbers and letters didn’t mean very much to me in a regular classroom, now I can see dimension, truly understand math and can make final products,” Anderson said.

Watson said the aerospace and oil and gas industries as being some of the largest employers of machinists in Oklahoma, with good job opportunities. Anderson would like to explore his interest in weapons fabrication; however, they both mentioned machining support is needed nationwide and internationally in virtually every industry. 

Watson said, “Machining supports all other trades. Without machinists, you wouldn’t have casings for computers or parts for cars being fixed or tools and screws for carpentry; we make everything. Imagine what will happen when we don’t train enough machinists to fill the jobs that will be open in the coming years.”

“I definitely see the world in a different way now,” said Anderson. “I look at everything around me in terms of how I could use machining to fabricate it.”

For more information about MNTC visit the CNC Machining webpage or call (405) 801-5000.