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Career and Education Opportunities for Numerical Control Tool Programmers in Thornton, Colorado

For those living in the Thornton, Colorado area, there are many career and education opportunities for numerical control tool programmers. About 130 people are currently employed as numerical control tool programmers in Colorado. By 2016, this is expected to grow 14% to 150 people employed. This is better than the nation as a whole, where employment opportunities for numerical control tool programmers are expected to shrink by about 15.4%. Numerical control tool programmers generally develop programs to control machining or processing of parts by automatic machine tools, equipment, or systems.

Income for numerical control tool programmers is about $23 hourly or $49,380 annually on average in Colorado. Nationally, their income is about $21 hourly or $44,310 per year. Compared with people working in the overall category of Computer Controls, people working as numerical control tool programmers in Colorado earn more. They earn more than people working in the overall category of Computer Controls nationally.

There are fifty-nine schools of higher education in the Thornton area, including two within twenty-five miles of Thornton 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 training to become 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

College America-Denver - Denver, CO

College America-Denver, 1385 S Colorado Blvd., 5th Floor, Denver, CO 80222. College America-Denver is a small college located in Denver, Colorado. It is a private for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs and has 400 students. College America-Denver has an associate's degree program in Computer Programming/Programmer.

Westwood College-Denver North - Denver, CO

Westwood College-Denver North, 7350 N Broadway, Denver, CO 80221. Westwood College-Denver North is a medium sized college located in Denver, Colorado. It is a private for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 5,843 students and an admission rate of 99%. Westwood College-Denver North has an associate's degree program in Computer Programming/Programmer which graduated twelve students in 2008.

LOCATION INFORMATION: Thornton, Colorado

Thornton, Colorado
Thornton, Colorado photo by bonjourpeewee

Thornton is located in Adams County, Colorado. It has a population of over 113,429, which has grown by 37.7% over the last ten years. The cost of living index in Thornton, 94, is below the national average. New single-family homes in Thornton are priced at $176,300 on average, which is far less than the state average. In 2008, two hundred ninety-five new homes were constructed in Thornton, down from four hundred eighty-four the previous year.

The three big industries for women in Thornton are educational services, health care, and finance and insurance. For men, it is construction, professional, scientific, and technical services, and administrative and support and waste management services. The average commute to work is about 29 minutes. More than 19.9% of Thornton residents have a bachelor's degree, which is lower than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 4.8%, is lower than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Thornton is 6.3%, which is less than Colorado's average of 6.6%.

The percentage of Thornton residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 30.4%, is less than both the national and state average. The largest religious groups are the Catholic Church, the LDS (Mormon) Church and the Lutheran Church.