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CNC and Robotic Operators

350 new positions on the Virginia Peninsula from 2012 to 2016

Start: $ 13.98/hr. $ 29,100/yr.
Ave: $ 19.05/hr. $ 39,600/yr.


Employer website, Peninsula Worklink, Virginia Employment Commission

Newport News Shipbuilding Apprentice School, Thomas Nelson Community College (certificate)

Virginia Wizard


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

Education Needed: High School Diploma or equivalent, vocational training, and OJT.

Career Pathway: Computer control programmers and operators train in various ways—in apprenticeship programs, informally on the job, and in secondary, vocational, or postsecondary schools. The more skills needed for the job, the more education and training are needed to qualify. Many entrants have previously worked as machinists or machine setters, operators and tenders. Entry-level CNC machine operators may need at least a few months of on-the-job training to reach proficiency. Computer control programmers or operators need high school or vocational school courses in trigonometry and algebra, blueprint reading, computer programming, metalworking and drafting. As new technology is introduced, computer control programmers and operators receive additional training, often provided by a representative of the equipment manufacturer or a local technical school. Many entrants to these occupations have experience working as machine setters, operators, and tenders or machinists. Persons interested in becoming computer control programmers or operators should be mechanically inclined and able to work independently and do highly accurate work. Experienced CNC operators may become CNC programmers or machinery mechanics, and some are promoted to supervisory or administrative positions in their firms. Some highly skilled workers move into tool and die making, and a few open their own shops.

WorkKeys Scores Needed:: Applied Math (5), Reading for Information (4), Locating Information (5), Observation (4) and Applied Technology (5)

October 31, 2020


1) Review Essential Skills Below.  Take our skills check up to see how you qualify against employer standards.

2) Visit Employer website, Peninsula Worklink, Virginia Employment Commission to learn about education and training programs.

3) Current employers of record for CNC and Robotic Operators:
Alcoa-Howmet Hampton, Canon Virginia, Inc., Continental AG Newport News (Siemens VDO)

Essential Skills for CNC and Robotic Operators

Technical Skills
Judgment and Decision Making: consider the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.
Operation and Control: control operations of equipment or systems.
Operation Monitoring: watch gauges, dials, or other indicators to make sure a machine is working properly.
Repairing: repair machines or systems using the needed tools.
Troubleshooting: determine causes of operating errors and decide what to do about it.

Easily translates a word problem in to a computational one.
Adds and subtracts whole numbers, including negative numbers.
Changes numbers from one form to another using whole numbers, fractions, decimals or percentages.
Converts simple calculations with money, volume, length, and weight.
Adds, subtracts, multiplies, and divides all units of measurement.
Combines ratio, rate, and percentage.
Draws and interprets bar graphs.
Performs mathematical calculations using decimals and fractions.

Follows directions correctly.
Communicates effectively with customers and fellow employees.
Listens well and applies what is learned.
Reads and applies safety warnings and simpler equipment instructions.
Writes sentences with minor grammar and punctuation errors.

Workplace Skills
Creativity, innovation, adaptation: contributes new ideas and adapts to changes in the workplace.
Diversity awareness and application: communicates and works well with customers and coworkers of different ages, genders, races, socioeconomics, ethnicities and cultural backgrounds. Professional ethics: Abides by workplace policies and laws and demonstrates personal integrity.
Personal hygiene and safety: Follows safety guidelines and manages personal health.

Professional Skills
Personal appearance: appears neat and clean and presents well as a job applicant or employee or candidate seeking promotion.
Time and resource management: punctual, timely with work deadlines, manages time and other resources well.
Lifelong learning: demonstrates desire for continuous learning and interest in new procedures and technology and in improving skills.
Team player: demonstrates commitment to the success of the team, assists others, requests help when needed and resolves conflicts effectively.
Positive work ethic: arrives ready to work, is supportive of accomplishing tasks at hand, completes work assignments in effective and efficient way and is willing to take on additional tasks.
Reasoning, problem solving: identifies, breaks down, prioritizes and resolves problems that arise in completing assigned tasks.
Locating information: knows how to research, locate, and ethically apply reliable information to solve problems.
Systems thinking: understands his or her role in fulfilling the mission of this workplace. Knowledge of business and management principles involved in strategic planning, resource allocation,
human resources modeling, leadership techniques, production methods and coordination of people and resources.