How to Become a CNC Machinist in Arizona

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How to Become a CNC Machinist in Arizona

When computers were created, everything changed, much like the Industrial Revolution did for production and not only.

One area that was greatly impacted is the one where precision cutting machines are used.

Most machines are noisy, but the ones a CNC machinist operates are not.

Through this article, I hope you’ll learn more about CNC machinists and wish you became one.

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This industry is in high demand for such specialists, so let’s jump right in!

CNC Machinist Job Description

“Computer Numerical Control” is what CNC stands for.

With the help of a CNC machine, its operator can cut a variety of materials with great precision.

The purpose of cutting those materials is to obtain specific types of pieces, including prototypes, one-of-a-kind, and more.

Only such a machine can be set to predetermined and specific dimensions and precise angles and then obtain a perfect piece.

More types of machines use the CNC technology.

Here are 3 of the most common types:

  • Lathes
  • Mills
  • Grinders

Let’s see what a CNC machinist is expected to do during working hours:

  • Set up the machines
  • Write and test programs
  • Make adjustments as needed to those programs
  • Interpret blueprints and designs to understand the specs of the needed piece
  • Check to see if the completed parts meet the specifications

There are certain additional tasks this professional must do on a daily, that I haven’t mentioned.

CNC Machinist Job Requirements

Many employers will have some expectations their future employees will have to meet.

Here are the most important of them:

  • Graduating high school or obtaining a GED
  • Having a GPA of 2.5 at minimum
  • Obtaining a degree or a certification in the field
    • You can still get hired without these
  • Accumulate experience
    • You can train on the job too if you don’t have experience
  • Having the necessary skills for a machinist

I will list the skills in the FAQ section below the article.

Becoming a CNC Machinist in Arizona

Future CNC Machinists must complete a series of steps before applying for a job.

The steps are laid out below.

Step 1 – Education

Some employers will hire people who only finished high school or have a GED.

Some CNC machinists choose to enroll in universities and trading schools to earn some credentials.

They do this for a variety of reasons.

Step 2 – Experience

All machinists will explain that experience is the most important aspect of this position.

A full-fledged CNC machinist has a minimum of 5 years of experience.

One way of gaining it is through an apprenticeship.

Step 3 – Earn The NIMS Certification

Almost all CNC machinists earned this certification, which is recognized nationwide.

This credential is offered by the National Institute of Metalworking Skills.

According to the websites of some of the schools, you can earn the certificate through them.

If you visit the official website of NIMS, you’ll find out that there’s no expiry date for this credential.

Step 4 – Apply for a Job

Finding a job in this field is relatively easy because these professionals are in high demand.

However, with no training or experience is more difficult to get hired.

For instance, an apprenticeship usually turns into a full-paying job and the place you trained at can connect you with employers willing to hire.

CNC Machinist Training in Arizona

Here are your options to train as a CNC machinist in Arizona!

AZ Job Connection

This training center offers in-person classes offered in the morning, in the evening, and during the weekends.

The program offers 4 credits in 5 weeks.

The tuition for this course is $736 and $776 for those coming from other states.

Books and other fees are to be paid separately.

Maricopa Community Colleges

This institution offers a training program that awards a Certificate of Completion (CCL) in CNC Machining I.

The course can be accessed at the GateWay and Mesa campuses.

Through this program, students will accumulate 25 credits and will attend 3 terms if they study full-time.

Those studying part-time will attend 5 terms.

Skill Up AZ

This institution offers an apprenticeship program either during the daytime or in the evening.

The tuition is not very high at $2,325 which includes the price for testing, books, and supplies.

School Name Address
AZ Job Connection 340 N Commerce Park Loop #250, Tucson, AZ 85745,
Maricopa Community Colleges 108 N 40th St, Phoenix, AZ 85034,
Maricopa Community Colleges 1833 W Southern Ave, Mesa, AZ 85202,
Skill Up AZ 361 S 52nd Street, Tempe, Arizona 85281
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Training as a CNC machinist can’t be done online.

Feel free to search for training programs in other states if the ones presented here don’t call your name.

CNC Machinist Salary in Arizona

It’s important to know how much you’ll earn as a machinist in this state.

One thing to remember is that your experience and location can affect your salary.

The median salary in this state is around $49,620 per annum.

The table below shows the cities with higher earnings for this occupation.

Annual Salary Range:
Annual Salary by Location:
Location Avg. Annual Salary
Yuma $51,470
Tempe $50,060
Scottsdale $50,060
Tolleson $49,980
Avondale $49,910
Youngtown $49,850
Waddell $49,610
Surprise $49,610
Aguila $49,540
Arlington $49,540

Regional Salary in Arizona

Region Employed Avg. Annual Salary Avg. Hourly Pay Top 10% Annual Salary Bottom 10% Annual Salary
Flagstaff, AZ40$61,070$29.36$82,490$35,180
Lake Havasu City-Kingman, AZ120$43,830$21.07$63,460$32,760
Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale, AZ3,910$53,840$25.88$73,820$35,210
Prescott, AZ150$57,360$27.58$81,450$34,610
Tucson, AZ840$50,470$24.27$66,080$33,620
Yuma, AZ40$52,070$25.03$66,070$35,410
* Salary information based on the May 2022 Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) Survey for Machinists, OCC Code 51-4041, BLS.
* Employment conditions in your area may vary.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the most important skills for a CNC machinist working in Arizona?

These are the skills taught through a training program or an apprenticeship:

  • CNC programming and machining skills
  • Geometric dimensioning and tolerance
  • Modeling and simulation
  • Technical writing and comprehension
  • Able to read and follow written technical instructions
  • CAD and computer-aided manufacturing
  • Additive manufacturing
  • Strong attention to details
  • Strong working ethics

Do I have to continue my education as a CNC machinist in Arizona?

As a matter of fact, yes you do.

This is because the industry you work in evolves all the time and you must know the latest practices.

Can I advance in my career as a CNC machinist in Arizona?

The short answer is yes.

This is because I presented the path to becoming a CNC machinist I, which is the entry-level position for this occupation.

USA CNC Machinist by State

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