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Ranking the Highest Paying Median Annual CNC Machinist Salaries

Feb 3, 2021 ·

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Ever wonder if there were a way to program a computer to make just about any part or product you wanted? With computer numerical control (CNC) machines, this is possible.

CNC machinists work with CNC machinery to produce parts and tools from metal, plastic and other materials. They adjust the machines to control speed, material and path of the cut, while ensuring the machines are set up correctly, running smoothly and creating parts that meet the required specifications.

Today’s machinists support a variety of industries, including transportation, aerospace, electronics and medical, just to name a few. They create everything from medical device implants for human bodies to tiny, intricately designed parts that power machines.

How Much Do CNC Machinists Make?

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports the median annual salary for computer numerically controlled tool operators in the United States was $46,760 in May 2022.34 This means half of CNC machinists earned more and half earned less. Keep in mind that salary depends on several factors, including experience, employer, demand and cost of living in the area.

If you’re wondering how much CNC machinists earn, you’ve come to the right place. Here's a look at average CNC machinist salary ranking rankings reported in May 2021 according to the BLS, which has data for all but Alaska, Hawaii and the District of Columbia.

Top 10 Annual Median Salaries for CNC Machinists

1. Washington: $56,180

Aerospace, agriculture, food manufacturing, defense, maritime, life science, global health, information and communications technology, and forestry are all industries in the state of Washington that need CNC machinists. One of Washington leadership’s top priorities is to drive clean technology innovation. For CNC machinists interested in making a positive environmental impact with their work, Washington state is a great option to consider.

2. Vermont: $49,200

While Vermont may be the sixth-smallest state in the U.S., it offers great opportunities for CNC machinists. Some of the top industries in Vermont include agriculture, manufacturing and mining, which all rely on the skills of machinists. Vermont has a long history as a precision manufacturing hub, dating to the Industrial Revolution. In fact, the town of Springfield was once part of an area known as “Precision Valley.” Today, Vermont uses some of the most modern techniques and equipment to create parts for precision machining, medical device segments and more.

3. Massachusetts: $48,850

According to U.S. News & World Report, prominent industries in Massachusetts are education, health services, manufacturing and technology. Massachusetts has become a significant manufacturer of electronic and computer products, which CNC machinists may create. There is also a great concentration of technology businesses, which rely on machinists to create core components for products and machinery.

A CNC machine is used to make a precision cut.

4. Connecticut: $48,530

Connecticut offers a wide variety of opportunities for trained CNC machinists. Among the state’s top industries is large-scale manufacturing, as those companies benefit from the state’s central location in the Northeast. This allows manufacturers to easily reach suppliers and customers throughout the U.S. and east coast of Canada. CNC machinists here may create anything from medical devices to parts for submarines.

5. South Carolina: $48,340

In case beaches, golfing and historic districts aren’t enticing, South Carolina is also a leader in the CNC industry. According to the South Carolina government site, agriculture, automotive and advanced manufacturing are top industries in the state — all industries relevant to a CNC machinist.

6. Minnesota: $48,240

Minnesota offers many opportunities for CNC machinists. Products in the state are manufactured for industries that include aerospace, farming, HVAC, food production and medical, which includes biopharmaceuticals and medical device production.

7. Wisconsin: $48,100

Manufacturing is the leading industry in Wisconsin, contributing to 18.79% of the total output of the state. Top products manufactured by Wisconsin include food, beverage and tobacco, machinery, and fabricated metal. The state also manufactures parts for computer and electronic products, transportation, and the aerospace industries. If you’re looking for a state where you can explore a variety of different avenues as a machinist, this may be the perfect place.

8. Maryland: $48,090

Maryland’s state government promotes a business-friendly culture supporting top industries like IT and cybersecurity, advanced manufacturing, defense and federal, life sciences, aerospace and defense, bio-health, energy and sustainability, and agribusiness. All these industries rely on perfectly working machinery to operate. CNC machinists may create small parts for machines powering these industries or products they sell.

9. New Hampshire, New Jersey & Rhode Island: $48,020

New Hampshire, New Jersey and Rhode Island offer the same average median annual salary. Here’s some info about each state:

  • New Hampshire: The Granite State is named because of its large mining industry — making CNC machines and mechanics in demand. Residents of New Hampshire enjoy picturesque small towns, no general sales tax and abundant wildlife.
  • New Jersey: Although it’s the fourth smallest state in the U.S., its manufacturing industry is big. At the heart of manufacturing operations are skilled CNC machinists. New Jersey is also known for its beautiful beaches and transporting, making CNC machinists in demand while living near beautiful coastlines.
  • Rhode Island: The state’s manufacturing and transportation-based economy is similar to New Jersey’s. Modern machinery is something that drives these industries. With a relatively affordable cost of living and a top 10 median annual salary for CNC machinists, Rhode Island could be a great place to live and work.

10. Maine, Montana & Wyoming: $47,740

Maine, Wyoming and Montana all tie for 10th place for the median annual salary for CNC machinists in 2021. Here’s a little info about each state:

  • Maine: Fishing, manufacturing, mining and health care are just a few of the industries Maine is known for. CNC machinists have the job of producing parts and tools from a range of materials — and they could find work in the state in one of these sectors.
  • Montana: Home to Glacier National Park and big blue skies, Montana’s economy runs off of agriculture, tourism and mining. These are industries that require large machinery to run, which makes CNC machinists in demand.
  • Wyoming: Mineral extraction and tourism are Wyoming’s biggest industries, according to Forbes. Oil, gas, coal, real estate, logistics and manufacturing are all economic drivers in the state. CNC machinists here work on parts that power machines and other products supporting these industries.

Ranking All 50 States and the District of Columbia

RankStateAnnual Median Wage
1 WA $56,180
2 VT $49,200
3 MA $48,850
4 CT $48,530
5 SC $48,340
6 MN $48,240
7 WI $48,100
8 MD $48,090
9 NH $48,020

NJ $48,020

RI $48,020
10ME $47,740

MT $47,740

WY $47,740
11KY $47,550
12CA $47,510
13PA $46,990
14ND $46,970
15TN $46,660
16TX $46,640
17AZ $46,630
18MS $46,420
19NV $46,120
20CO $46,030
21OR $45,380
22NM $44,970
23KS $44,360
24VA $44,110
25IL $43,890
26MO $43,480
27IA $42,750
28NY $42,090
29SD $41,360
30AR $41,250
31MI $40,440
32OH $39,910
33NC $39,600
34WV $39,070
35DE $38,870
36ID $38,780
37IN $38,700
38NE $38,200
39AL $38,050

GA $38,050

LA $38,050
40UT $37,920
41FL $37,860
42OK $37,630




Train to Become a CNC Machinist at NASCAR Tech

If you aspire to work in a competitive field with job opportunities around the country, CNC machining may be for you. In this industry, you can combine a love of computers and technology with hands-on work that is always producing something new.

A CNC machinist training program, like the one offered at NASCAR Technical Institute, can help you forge a career as a CNC machinist.1 To learn more about this 36-week program, visit our program page and request information to get in touch with one of our Admissions Representatives.

NASCAR Technical Institute Campuses That Offer CNC Training

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1) UTI is an educational institution and cannot guarantee employment or salary.

2) For program outcome information and other disclosures, visit

34) UTI’s CNC Machining Technology Program prepares graduates for entry-level positions using the provided training, primarily as CNC machinists. Estimated annual salary shown above is for Computer Numerically Controlled Tool Operators as published in the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ May 2022 Occupational Employment and Wages. Entry-level salaries are lower for UTI graduates. UTI is an educational institution and cannot guarantee employment or salary. UTI graduates’ achievements may vary. Individual circumstances and wages depend on economic factors, personal credentials, work experience, industry certifications, the location of the employer, and their compensation programs. Some UTI graduates get jobs within their field of study in positions other than as a CNC technician, such as CNC operator, apprentice machinist, and machined parts inspector. Salary information for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts: The average annual entry-level salary for persons employed as Computer-Controlled Machine Tool Operators, Metal and Plastic (51-4011) in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts is $35,140 (Massachusetts Labor and Workforce Development, May 2020 data Salary information for North Carolina: The U.S. Department of Labor estimates the hourly median wage for skilled CNC machinists in North Carolina is $22.01 (Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, May 2022 Occupational Employment and Wages, Computer Numerically Controlled Tool Operators). The Bureau of Labor Statistics does not publish entry-level salary data. However, the 25th and 10th percentile of hourly earnings in North Carolina are $17.28 and $14.82, respectively.

Universal Technical Institute of Illinois, Inc. is approved by the Division of Private Business and Vocational Schools of the Illinois Board of Higher Education.


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