How to Become a CNC Machinist in Iowa

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How to Become a CNC Machinist in Iowa

If you’re an Iowa resident contemplating your career path, consider venturing into the promising field of CNC machining.

This article delves into the fundamentals of CNC, the requisite training, and potential salary prospects.

So, what are you waiting for?

Begin exploring and uncover the opportunities that await you in the field of CNC machining!

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CNC Machinist Job Description

Now everyone will know that CNC stands for Computer Numerical Control.

Indeed, a CNC machinist operates computer-controlled machines by executing a sequence of operations to achieve precise outcomes.

These sophisticated machines are engineered to cut a diverse range of materials, including metals and plastics, with exceptional accuracy.

The machines utilizing this technology include:

  • Lathes
    •  Are machines that rotate the material around an axis of rotation, and can perform more functions
  • Mills
    • These machines use rotary cutters to carve into the material, much like sculpting
    • The cutters can be set up at different angles
  • Grinders
    • These machines sharpen, smooth, or polish the material

You don’t have to wonder what are the tasks of a machinist because they’re briefed below:

  • Preparing the machines for operation
  • Developing and validating programs
  • Adjusting settings as needed for optimal performance
  • Analyzing complex blueprints and designs to understand component specifications
  • Ensuring the final parts meet precise specifications through a thorough inspection

CNC Machinist Job Requirements

There’s no job posting without some minimum requirements.

Below you can read the minimum prerequisites for a machinist upon getting hired:

  • Finishing high school
  • Having a 2.5 GPA
  • Obtaining a degree or a certification in the field
  • Accumulate experience
  • Having the necessary skills

Becoming a CNC Machinist in Iowa

Many occupations come with steps to follow when preparing for the job.

CNC machinists are part of this group.

With no further ado, let’s learn more about these steps!

First step – Education

The minimum requirement for experience is a high school diploma.

Alternatively, obtaining a GED is also acceptable.

However, attending a university, training center, or college is necessary to gain expertise in operating CNC machines.

These educational institutions provide comprehensive training on CNC machines and their proper operation.

Step 2 – Experience

Most jobs require some experience from the candidates.

Of course, you can’t have enough experience when you’re a graduate.

The solution for machinists is to seek and apply for an apprenticeship.

Apprenticeships offer not only experience but also monthly pay.

Step 3 – Earn Some Certifications

The premier certification to attain is undoubtedly the one conferred by the National Institute of Metalworking Skills (NIMS).

According to the NIMS FAQ page, this certificate boasts a unique advantage – it does not expire, setting it apart from certifications in other fields.

Furthermore, there exist several other certifications you can pursue, all of which serve to distinguish you from other candidates in the industry.

Step 4 – Apply for a Job

If you’re fortunate, completing an apprenticeship might lead to a full-time job offer.

Alternatively, numerous job listing websites offer opportunities worth exploring.

Additionally, your school may assist in job placement, providing valuable resources to kick-start your career.

CNC Machinist Training in Iowa

It’s time to check out what training options you have in Iowa.

Northwest Iowa Community College

The program offered by this college is a non-credit type.

Upon completion of the training, you’ll receive an NCC completion certification recognized only locally.

It is offered to anyone who is at least 17 years old.

The tuition is $3,150 but you have access to financial aid.

The program is designed to meet the needs of both short and long-term training sessions.

Hawkeye Community College

Through the program offered by this college, you can obtain one of the following credentials:

  • An associate’s degree
  • A diploma
  • A certificate

All the programs start in autumn and last for a minimum of 4 months and up to 2 years.

To be accepted, you must have a GPA of 2.0 for math and 2.0 for literacy.

Other requirements must also be met.

Those who don’t fully qualify will have to attend a pre-program that will ensure their readiness to enroll.

School Name Address
Northwest Iowa Community College 603 West Park Street Sheldon, Iowa 51201
Hawkeye Community College 1501 East Orange Road P.O. Box 8015 Waterloo, IA 50704-8015
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CNC Machinist Salary in Iowa

If you’ve reached this point, you’re likely curious about the potential earnings as a machinist.

In Iowa, machinists typically earn around $48,490 annually.

However, exploring opportunities in specific cities within Iowa could potentially yield higher salaries than the state average.

Annual Salary Range:
Annual Salary by Location:
Location Avg. Annual Salary
Toeterville $50,340
Altoona $48,930
Ankeny $48,930
Berwick $48,930
Waukee $48,840
Ackworth $48,720
Van Meter $48,690
Sheldahl $48,649
Yale $48,470
Thayer $48,470

Regional Salary in Iowa

Region Employed Avg. Annual Salary Avg. Hourly Pay Top 10% Annual Salary Bottom 10% Annual Salary
Ames, IA70$49,700$23.89$61,050$36,790
Cedar Rapids, IA230$51,090$24.56$65,400$39,220
Davenport-Moline-Rock Island, IA-IL880$52,900$25.43$71,760$35,700
Des Moines-West Des Moines, IA190$51,810$24.91$66,410$32,960
Dubuque, IA90$48,290$23.22$59,710$36,660
Sioux City, IA-NE-SD90$48,270$23.21$63,890$37,070
Waterloo-Cedar Falls, IA200$51,100$24.57$64,750$38,210
* 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

Can I attend an online training program for CNC machinists in Iowa?

You can enroll in such a program only if the school offers it along with hands-on practice in a workshop.

Do I have to train as a CNC machinist in Iowa?

To be short, the answer is “yes,” because without training, getting hired is challenging.

Are salaries good for CNC machinists in Iowa?

The salaries for entry-level positions in this state are reasonable.

To enhance your earnings, it’s recommended to gain more experience and contemplate pursuing promotions within the field.

USA CNC Machinist by State

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