CNC Programmer Salary Guide & Career Outlook

A CNC (Computer Numerically Controlled) programmer is responsible for writing, updating, and improving the software used by industrial robots and machinery. The average CNC programmer salary is somewhere around $58,937 in the US, C$57.352 in Canada, E27,884 in the UK, $AU62,400 in Australia, NZ$62,400 in New Zealand, Rs 263,350 in India, and R240,000 in South Africa.

How Much Does a CNC Programmer Make per Year by Country?

To become a CNC programmer, you should first have a degree in machine programming and have at least some experience as a machinist. Usually, companies require a few years of experience in the field.  The CNC machine programmer salary is competitive on the labor market, and a skilled machinist will have a good career progression, with various opportunities for development.

CNC Programmer Salary US Canada UK Australia New Zealand India South Africa
Hourly Pay $22.00 C$22.53 E11.72 AU$30.00 NZ$29.49 Rs 137.16 R70.80
Annual Pay $58,937 C$57.352 E27,884 AU$62,400 NZ$56,620* Rs 263,350 R240,000

*These figures are estimated based on the other pay information given. This assumes a 40-hour workweek.

make a cnc salary

CNC Programmer Salary Influencing Factors

The level of a CNC programmer salary depends on several factors. The most important of these are the specific industry in which the CNC programmer will work, the location in which he/she is willing to work.

1. Location

The best CNC programmer salary would definitely be in a major industrial area. So, if you’re passionate about CNC programming and machinery, aim for major industrial centers in states like New York, Ohio, Minnesota, and California. The region with the highest CNC programmer salary is the District of Columbia and the Washington DC area, with an average of $58,000 a year. However, you have a good chance of finding even better pay in elite CNC programming jobs in California and other heavily industrialized states.

How Much Does a CNC Programmer Make in the US?

In the United States, the annual CNC programmer salary ranges between $39,387 to $87,487. Also, they have the opportunity of a bonus between $486.05 to $6,104. Their hourly rate goes between $15.34 and $29.96, with overtime pay between $22.40 to $44.50.

How Much Does a CNC Programmer Make in Canada?

The annual CNC programmer salary in Canada goes between C$41,446 to C$76,191. However, their bonus can only go up to C$4,932. The hourly rate ranges between C$15.21 to C$30.41, with potential overtime bonus of C$22.96 to C$52.78.

How Much Does a CNC Programmer Make in the UK?

Annually, the CNC programmer salary ranges from E18,620 to E35,067. Even more, they have the possibility of an E60.00 bonus, which isn’t too much. Their bonus ranges between E8.15 to E17.05, with an overtime opportunity of E13.71 to E25.00.

How Much Does a CNC Programmer Make in Australia?

The CNC programmer salary in Australia ranges between AU$46,979 to AU$76,012 per year, with no reported bonus. Their hourly rate is AU$30.00. However, there is an opportunity for overtime pay of up to AU$51.00.

How Much Does a CNC Programmer Make in New Zealand?

The annual salary in New Zealand for a CNC programmer stands at around NZ$56,620, with an hourly pay of NZ$29.49.

How Much Does a CNC Programmer Make in India?

The CNC programmer in India per year ranges from Rs 131,115 to Rs 676,507, with the possibility of a Rs 1,500 bonus. That implies their hourly rate goes between Rs 68.2 to Rs 352.34.

How Much Does a CNC Programmer Make in South Africa?

The CNC programmer salary in South Africa ranges from R99,329 to R366,042, with a bonus of R15,000 per year. They can make between R31.34 to R142.95 per hour, with an overtime bonus of R90.00.

2. Experience

One of the most critical factors in landing a top CNC machine programmer salary is your previous experience and your expertise. If you have experience in programming Multi-Axis CNC Vertical Mills and CNC Lathes (Matsuura, DMG Mori, and Haas), you will have a great competitive advantage. Also, familiarity with innovative software for CAM programming, like HyperMill and Esprit, is an excellent plus.

A CNC programmer salary increases in time, as you learn new skills and become highly familiarized with the software, machinery, and techniques used by your company. Other skills which can significantly increase your salary in time usually have a lot to do with your proficiency in CNC programming software such as CATIA or NX Unigraphics.

3. Industry

A CNC programmer salary depends on the particular industry in which he/she would prefer working. Some industries that have big CNC programmer salaries are the auto industry, the defense sector, and the high-tech sector.

For instance, Tesla Motors hires CNC programmers for considerable salaries, exceeding $50,000 per year. BAE Systems, a well-known defense contractor, also needs skilled CNC programmers for their industrial equipment. However, the job requirements for such prestigious companies are very exigent. Only the very best machinists and CNC programmers get hired.

There are other smaller companies which also need CNC programmers and still offer considerable salaries. For instance, Timken Gears and Services Philadelphia hires CNC programmers for decent salaries, which can exceed $35-40,000 per year.

Schedule & Working Hours

Due to the specifics of working in an industrial environment, a CNC programmer might be required to work in shifts, though some companies nevertheless offer standard hours. Working during the weekends is not usually needed, but it may be at some companies, in accordance with their internal policies.

Extra hours are standard, due to the serious difficulty of the tasks. The job is usually carried out in safe office conditions, but will occasionally require the CNC programmer to enter less controlled environments to check on the machines’ status and on whether they are functioning correctly.

Bonuses & Benefits

The primary benefits of working in the CNC industry is a high and stable salary. Also, you have the opportunity to work in many areas, along with job security. You also get the possibility of advancement, which, in turn, can increase your pay. All in all, it’s considered an excellent career for the future.

As far as CNC programmer training, you can become one by taking specialized courses in CNC programming, and by learning how to use different software and specific programming languages. Remember that companies are mostly interested in people who already have at least a couple of years of experience in the field. Thus, a smart thing to do is to work as an assistant and/or try to get as close as possible to the actual thing during your studies.

CNC Programmer Salary by State

Below, we have prepared a table detailing the average CNC programmer wages across the US.

State Annual Mean Wage
Alabama $46,000
Alaska $34,000
Arizona $38,000
Arkansas $47,000
California $49,000
Colorado $41,000
Connecticut $53,000
Delaware $40,000
District of Columbia $58,000
Florida $43,000
Georgia $52,000
Hawaii $28,000
Idaho $30,000
Illinois $52,000
Indiana $44,000
Iowa $45,000
Kansas $42,000
Kentucky $40,000
Louisiana $41,000
Maine $41,000
Maryland $47,000
Massachusetts $55,000
Michigan $46,000
Minnesota $40,000
Mississippi $48,000
Missouri $45,000
Montana $38,000
Nebraska $33,000
Nevada $35,000
New Hampshire $45,000
New Jersey $50,000
New Mexico $40,000
New York $55,000
North Carolina $44,000
North Dakota $41,000
Ohio $44,000
Oklahoma $42,000
Oregon $44,000
Pennsylvania $44,000
Puerto Rico $44,000
Rhode Island $42,000
South Carolina $45,000
South Dakota $35,000
Tennessee $43,000
Texas $44,000
Utah $36,000
Vermont $40,000
Virginia $46,000
Washington $47,000
West Virginia $43,000
Wisconsin $41,000
Wyoming $38,000
US Average $43,154
Average Hourly Wage $21

Career Outlook

Due to an absolutely total reliance on machines when it comes to industrial production, CNC programmers are absolutely vital. Without CNC programmers, the entire industrial sector would simply have no means to set and program the machines which do most of the hard work. As such, there are very good career prospects in this line of work, with the median CNC programmer salary expected to grow slowly but steadily in the following years.

However, remember that a CNC programmer job is a niche position inside a company, requiring specialized skills and expertise. As such, the competition for good positions can be incredibly fierce. Also, due to the specificities of each company, CNC programmer positions do not open very often because companies prefer to keep and develop an expert in such a position of responsibility.


In conclusion, CNC programming has the promise of a well-paid career, with real possibilities of personal development. The CNC programmer salary will keep on growing, just like the network engineer salary. However, so will the job requirements as more and more innovative software hit the market.

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