Find Trade Colleges

Study Area & Zipcode

Machine Tool Operator

Find Schools Near

Life As a Machine Tool Operator

Position Description Operate computer-controlled machines or robots to perform one or more machine functions on metal or plastic work pieces.

Life As a Machine Tool Operator

  • Set up future jobs while machines are operating.
  • Maintain machines and remove and replace broken or worn machine tools, using hand tools.
  • Write simple programs for computer-controlled machine tools.
  • Implement changes to machine programs and enter new specifications, using computers.
  • Remove and replace dull cutting tools.
  • Clean machines, tooling, or parts, using solvents or solutions and rags.

Things a Machine Tool Operator Should Know How to Do

When polled, Machine Tool Operators say the following skills are most frequently used in their jobs:

Operation Monitoring: Watching gauges, dials, or other indicators to make sure a machine is working properly.

Monitoring: Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.

Quality Control Analysis: Conducting tests and inspections of products, services, or processes to evaluate quality or performance.

Critical Thinking: Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.

Operation and Control: Controlling operations of equipment or systems.

Complex Problem Solving: Identifying complex problems and reviewing related information to develop and evaluate options and implement solutions.

  • Numerical Control Machine Set-Up Operator
  • Numerical Control Router Operator
  • Computer Numerically Controlled Shot Peening Operator
  • Computer Numerical Control Machinist (CNC Machinist)
  • Numerical Control Machine Tool Operator

Job Opportunities for Machine Tool Operators

In the United States, there were 145,700 jobs for Machine Tool Operator in 2016. New jobs are being produced at a rate of 1.1% which is below the national average. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts 1,600 new jobs for Machine Tool Operator by 2026. Due to new job openings and attrition, there will be an average of 14,500 job openings in this field each year.


The states with the most job growth for Machine Tool Operator are Utah, North Dakota, and Montana. Watch out if you plan on working in Vermont, New Mexico, or Washington. These states have the worst job growth for this type of profession.

Do Machine Tool Operators Make A Lot Of Money?

The average yearly salary of a Machine Tool Operator ranges between $26,890 and $60,650.


Machine Tool Operators who work in Washington, Massachusetts, or North Dakota, make the highest salaries.

How much do Machine Tool Operators make in different U.S. states?

State Annual Mean Salary
Alabama $38,170
Arizona $38,820
Arkansas $37,780
California $42,930
Colorado $43,990
Connecticut $47,240
Delaware $35,700
Florida $38,960
Georgia $37,510
Idaho $38,730
Illinois $39,570
Indiana $39,700
Iowa $40,740
Kansas $42,650
Kentucky $36,110
Louisiana $45,920
Maine $47,530
Maryland $44,080
Massachusetts $51,150
Michigan $40,500
Minnesota $45,670
Mississippi $36,250
Missouri $39,730
Montana $40,430
Nebraska $38,970
Nevada $42,850
New Hampshire $45,220
New Jersey $45,750
New Mexico $36,360
New York $38,700
North Carolina $38,780
North Dakota $49,590
Ohio $41,760
Oklahoma $39,730
Oregon $43,560
Pennsylvania $39,870
Rhode Island $42,710
South Carolina $43,220
South Dakota $38,630
Tennessee $39,140
Texas $41,560
Utah $35,220
Virginia $41,110
Washington $64,290
West Virginia $43,590
Wisconsin $44,190

Tools & Technologies Used by Machine Tool Operators

Below is a list of the types of tools and technologies that Machine Tool Operators may use on a daily basis:

  • Microsoft Excel
  • Microsoft Word
  • Microsoft Office
  • Microsoft PowerPoint
  • SAP
  • Microsoft Project
  • Autodesk AutoCAD
  • Computer aided design CAD software
  • Dassault Systemes CATIA
  • Dassault Systemes SOLIDWORKS
  • PTC Creo Parametric
  • Computer aided manufacturing CAM software
  • 1CadCam Unigraphics
  • CNC Mastercam
  • ERP software
  • Delcam PowerMILL
  • UGS Solid Edge
  • G-code
  • Vero Software SURFCAM

Becoming a Machine Tool Operator

What education is needed to be a Machine Tool Operator?


What work experience do I need to become a Machine Tool Operator?


Machine Tool Operators Sector


The table below shows some of the most common industries where those employed in this career field work.


You May Also Be Interested In…

Career changers with experience as a Machine Tool Operator sometimes find work in one of the following fields:


Image Credit: US Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class John Linzmeier via Public domain

More about our data sources and methodologies.

Featured Schools

Find Trade Schools Near You

Our free school finder matches students with accredited trade schools across the U.S.