How to Train for CNC Machines
Enroll in CNC machining courses at your local community college or trade school. Courses are often held in the evenings or weekends and are for varying levels of learning. Entry level courses will cover machining basics as well as rudimentary hands-on CNC experience. Professors for these courses are usually area machinists and other mechanical engineers who have years of real-world experience.
Take online courses in CNC machining. These courses are perfect for people who are interested in learning the basics of CNC machining but do not have flexible schedules. Learn at your own pace through text and videos as well as audio lectures that cover the basics all the way through tougher concepts such as 5-axis machining and live tooling for CNC lathes. The videos can be re-watched and instructors are usually available through email or live chat.
Look for an apprenticeship program in your local area. Many machine shops will train you as an apprentice where you will learn about CNC from the machinists in the shop. Apprenticeship programs are entry-level and may pay a small hourly wage, but you will gain the experience and education necessary to become a CNC machinist. Apprenticeships often last a set period of time and the shop will usually offer you a job after you have successfully completed the program.
Enroll in an internship at a machine shop while enrolled in a mechanical engineering program. Internships give you college credits, but often do not pay a salary of any kind. Larger companies often cooperate with local colleges and universities to offer college credits that allows the student to get hands-on experience on the CNC machines under the tutelage of a trained machinist.
Get an entry level job at a CNC shop. Entry level jobs will allow you to work with the machinists and you will pick up information about the machines and how they work. As an entry level warehouse worker, you will help the machinist clean the machines as well as help with the de-burring of parts and the cutting of raw material. Over time, you can train and move your way up to an apprentice.