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Career and Education Opportunities for Numerical Control Tool Programmers in Sacramento, California

Sacramento, California provides a wide variety of opportunities, both career and educational, for numerical control tool programmers. Currently, 1,900 people work as numerical control tool programmers in California. This is expected to grow 11% to 2,100 people by 2016. This is better than the national trend for numerical control tool programmers, which sees this job pool shrinking by about 15.4% over the next eight years. In general, numerical control tool programmers develop programs to control machining or processing of parts by automatic machine tools, equipment, or systems.

Numerical control tool programmers earn approximately $25 hourly or $52,290 annually on average in California. Nationally they average about $21 per hour or $44,310 annually. Earnings for numerical control tool programmers are better than earnings in the general category of Computer Controls in California and better than general Computer Controls category earnings nationally.

There are forty-two schools of higher education in the Sacramento area, including six within twenty-five miles of Sacramento where you can get a degree to start your career as a numerical control tool programmer. Given that the most common education level for numerical control tool programmers is an Associate's, or other 2-year degree, you can expect to spend about two years studying to be a numerical control tool programmer if you already have a high school diploma.

CAREER DESCRIPTION: Numerical Control Tool Programmer

Numerical Control Tool Programmer video from the State of New Jersey Dept. of Labor and Workforce Development

In general, numerical control tool programmers develop programs to control machining or processing of parts by automatic machine tools, equipment, or systems.

Numerical control tool programmers analyze job orders, drawings, blueprints, specifications, printed circuit board pattern films, and layout data so as to calculate dimensions and feed rates. They also decide on the sequence of machine operations, and decide on the proper cutting tools needed to machine workpieces into the desired shapes. Equally important, numerical control tool programmers have to modify existing programs to enhance efficiency. They are often called upon to decide on reference points, machine cutting paths, or hole locations, and compute angular and linear dimensions, radii, and curvatures. They are expected to observe machines on trial runs or conduct computer simulations to insure that programs and machinery will function properly and produce items that meet specifications. Finally, numerical control tool programmers revise programs and/or tapes to remove errors, and retest programs to check that problems have been solved.

Every day, numerical control tool programmers are expected to be able to visualize how things come together and can be organized. They need to see details at a very fine level of focus. It is also important that they imediately see the relationships between collections of numbers, images, and patterns.

It is important for numerical control tool programmers to enter computer commands to store or retrieve components patterns or programs that transfer data to other media. They are often called upon to ready geometric layouts from graphic displays, using computer-assisted drafting software or drafting instruments and graph paper. They also compare encoded tapes or computer printouts with original part specifications and blueprints to confirm precision of instructions. They are sometimes expected to enter coordinates of hole locations into program memories by depressing pedals or buttons of programmers. Somewhat less frequently, numerical control tool programmers are also expected to write instruction sheets and cutter lists for a machine's controller so as to guide setup and encode numerical control tapes.

Numerical control tool programmers sometimes are asked to draw machine tool paths on pattern film, using colored markers and following guidelines for tool speed and efficiency. and revise programs and/or tapes to remove errors, and retest programs to check that problems have been solved. And finally, they sometimes have to observe machines on trial runs or conduct computer simulations to insure that programs and machinery will function properly and produce items that meet specifications.

Like many other jobs, numerical control tool programmers must be thorough and dependable and be able to absorb the factors involved and a problem and provide a well thought out solution.

EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES: Numerical Control Tool Programmer Training

San Joaquin Delta College - Stockton, CA

San Joaquin Delta College, 5151 Pacific Ave, Stockton, CA 95207. San Joaquin Delta College is a large college located in Stockton, California. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 20,480 students. San Joaquin Delta College has a less than one year and a two to four year program in Computer Programming/Programmer which graduated four and zero students respectively in 2008.

Sacramento City College - Sacramento, CA

Sacramento City College, 3835 Freeport Blvd, Sacramento, CA 95822-1386. Sacramento City College is a large college located in Sacramento, California. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 26,175 students. Sacramento City College has a two to four year program in Computer Programming/Programmer.

Cosumnes River College - Sacramento, CA

Cosumnes River College, 8401 Center Parkway, Sacramento, CA 95823-5799. Cosumnes River College is a large college located in Sacramento, California. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 14,518 students. Cosumnes River College has less than one year, one to two year, associate's degree, and two to four year programs in Computer Programming/Programmer which graduated six, two, two, and zero students respectively in 2008.

Sierra College - Rocklin, CA

Sierra College, 5000 Rocklin Road, Rocklin, CA 95677-3397. Sierra College is a large college located in Rocklin, California. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 21,608 students. Sierra College has less than one year, associate's degree, and two to four year programs in Computer Programming/Programmer which graduated three, twelve, and zero students respectively in 2008.

American River College - Sacramento, CA

American River College, 4700 College Oak Dr, Sacramento, CA 95841-4286. American River College is a large college located in Sacramento, California. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 37,601 students. American River College has less than one year, one to two year, associate's degree, and two to four year programs in Computer Programming/Programmer which graduated one, one, four, and zero students respectively in 2008.

Folsom Lake College - Folsom, CA

Folsom Lake College, 10 College Parkway, Folsom, CA 95630. Folsom Lake College is a medium sized college located in Folsom, California. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 9,142 students. Folsom Lake College has a less than one year and a two to four year program in Computer Programming/Programmer which graduated seven and zero students respectively in 2008.

LOCATION INFORMATION: Sacramento, California

Sacramento, California
Sacramento, California photo by Urdangaray

Sacramento is located in Sacramento County, California. It has a population of over 463,794, which has grown by 13.9% in the past ten years. The cost of living index in Sacramento, 93, is below the national average. New single-family homes in Sacramento are valued at $185,300 on average, which is far less than the state average. In 2008, nine hundred thirty-four new homes were constructed in Sacramento, down from 1,337 the previous year.

The top three industries for women in Sacramento are health care, educational services, and public administration. For men, it is construction, public administration, and accommodation and food services. The average travel time to work is about 23 minutes. More than 23.9% of Sacramento residents have a bachelor's degree, which is lower than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 8.4%, is lower than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Sacramento is 14.7%, which is greater than California's average of 12.3%.

The percentage of Sacramento residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 36.9%, is less than both the national and state average. Pearly Gate Missionary Baptist Church, Peace Lutheran Church and Parkview Presbyterian Church are among the churches located in Sacramento. The most prominent religious groups are the Catholic Church, the LDS (Mormon) Church and the Assemblies of God.

Sacramento is home to the Southern Pacific Shops and the Bing Maloney Golf Course as well as Alkali Flat North Historic District and Silva Field. Shopping centers in the area include Farmers Center Shopping Center, Florin Square Shopping Center and Franklin and Florin Shopping Center. Visitors to Sacramento can choose from Best Western Sutter House, Best for Less Motel-Cababa Lodge and AAA Residence Inn for temporary stays in the area.