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Computer numerical control (CNC) machinists work with CNC equipment such as lathes, grinders and milling machines to produce parts and tools from metal, plastic and other materials. They ensure their machines are set up properly, running smoothly and creating product that meets exact specifications. This is a highly specialized career that requires machinists to have a particular set of skills.

If becoming a CNC machinist is a career path you’re considering, it can be helpful to know the necessary skills to succeed in the field. Many successful CNC machinists share similar traits that help them to do their job well.

Follow along as we share seven common traits shared by CNC machinists:


CNC machinists pay attention to the details — including the small, seemingly unimportant ones many people overlook. In this industry, being off by just millimeters can lead to a critical error.

A successful machinist will always take the time to ensure everything is set up correctly. Whether it’s following and interpreting 2D engineering drawings, programming mills and lathes by entering instructions, troubleshooting malfunctions or planning stock inventory, CNC machinists take a detailed approach to everything they do.

Having an eye for detail helps machinists to maintain a safe work environment, avoid wasting materials, keep the tools they work with in tip top shape and follow every step correctly. If you consider yourself to be a perfectionist, this may be the career for you.


Machinists take great pride in what they do. Rather than putting in minimal effort to get by, successful machinists go above and beyond to produce high quality work. They take ownership of their work and see each piece they create as an opportunity to put their name on something.

Additionally, machinists have the drive to really master their craft. They understand the importance of their role and the impact their performance can have on the greater community. In order to keep their skills in tip top shape, they immerse themselves in the field and continue to educate themselves on new technology and best practices.

According to Team Penske NASCAR Driver,Brad Keselowski, “CNC machine work has been around for a number of years but it just continues to get more valuable as the tools get developed and as the job market shifts. So being able to understand those factors is really critical for any business but it’s also critical for those that are looking to enter the job market because skilled technicians and CNC machine work and are a premium right now.”

Having the dedication and drive to succeed can really go a long way in this industry, which is full of exciting opportunities for skilled machinists. UTI’s 36-week CNC Machining Technology program offered at NASCAR Technical Institute is designed to teach students the basics from the ground up so they can pursue careers in the field.1


In CNC machining, things don’t always run according to plan. Challenges are inevitable, and it’s important for machinists to be able to adapt and innovate to create new solutions. Whether a machine is jammed, hasn’t been programmed correctly or a tool is broken, machinists must be calm, yet proactive.

This career is ideal for those who welcome challenge. Each and every project is unique, which requires machinists to always be on their toes. When something goes wrong, they’re the first to jump in and put in the work necessary to solve the problem.


If you’re fascinated by technology, look no further than CNC machining. This high-tech career is where the physical meets digital. Using tools like lathes and mills, you will shape raw materials such as plastics and metals into parts that meet the required specifications.

As a machinist, you’ll rely on computer technology in every step of the CNC machining process. Computers provide precise instructions for instruments and engineers develop concepts that are modeled as CAD/CAM drawings. From here, 3-D digital representations are translated into G-code, controlling the movement and speed followed by each tool.

CNC machinists are immersed in technology and are able to troubleshoot problems that may arise during the process. Their computer skills and curiosity for the digital world helps them to perform their job well.


CNC machining is a very technical career, but it also allows you to be creative!

Machinists are able to take simple objects, such as a block of metal, and turn them into intricate parts and pieces. They are constantly dreaming up new ideas as they turn raw materials into vehicles that serve a greater purpose. From automotive parts to medical instruments to pipelines, many of the objects created by CNC machinists keep America running.

CNC machinists always have a creative vision—they are able to start with a simple idea and turn it into a reality! If you’re someone who is creative and always dreaming up big ideas, this is a great career choice.


Technology is an amazing tool that has transformed the CNC machining process, but it’s not always perfect—and it can’t complete the process alone! When things go wrong, skilled machinists are needed to step up to the challenge.

Whether it’s trying to decipher inconsistent design drawings, determining why a final product is out of tolerance or figuring out why a job that has run smoothly before is now having issues, CNC machinists do their fair share of troubleshooting. This doesn’t scare them, however—machinists who are confident in their skills often thrive off of solving problems like this. Being able to get the machining process back on track can be incredibly rewarding.


Having good organization skills is critical to the success of a CNC machinist. The CNC machining process involves multiple steps, and it’s the machinist’s job to ensure everything is running smoothly at all times. They use time management skills to keep everything on pace with the project timeline and are constantly looking for ways to make the process more efficient. If you have a knack for refining systems and processes and are always looking for ways to increase productivity, you’re likely to excel as a CNC machinist.

Train to Become a CNC Machinist

Do you think you have what it takes to become a CNC machinist? Consider training at Universal Technical Institute. Our CNC Machining Technology program, created in cooperation with industry leader Roush Yates Engines, is offered at the NASCAR Technical Institute campus in North Carolina.

This 36-week program can provide you with the training, hands-on experience and industry connections you need to accomplish your career goals. In the program, you’ll have the opportunity to train using industry-preferred tools and technology from the brands you’ll use in the field, including:

To learn more about UTI’s CNC Machining Technology program, request information today.

Want to Learn More About the CNC Machining Technology Program?

If you're interested in learning how you can register for the CNC Machining Technology program Just click the link below or call (800) 834-7308 to speak with one of our friendly Admissions Representatives.