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Career and Education Opportunities for Numerical Control Tool Programmers in Detroit, Michigan

If you want to be a numerical control tool programmer, the Detroit, Michigan area offers many opportunities both for education and employment. There are currently 1,420 working numerical control tool programmers in Michigan; this should shrink 3% to 1,380 working numerical control tool programmers in the state by 2016. 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.

A person working as a numerical control tool programmer can expect to earn about $21 per hour or $45,200 annually on average in Michigan and about $21 hourly or $44,310 annually on average in the U.S. as a whole. Compared with people working in the overall category of Computer Controls, people working as numerical control tool programmers in Michigan earn more. They earn more than people working in the overall category of Computer Controls nationally.

The Detroit area is home to seventy-three schools of higher education, including eleven within twenty-five miles of Detroit where you can get a degree as a numerical control tool programmer. The most common level of education 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

Henry Ford Community College - Dearborn, MI

Henry Ford Community College, 5101 Evergreen Rd, Dearborn, MI 48128-1495. Henry Ford Community College is a large college located in Dearborn, Michigan. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 15,571 students. Henry Ford Community College has an associate's degree program in Computer Programming/Programmer which graduated thirty-three students in 2008.

University of Michigan-Dearborn - Dearborn, MI

University of Michigan-Dearborn, 4901 Evergreen Rd, Dearborn, MI 48128-1491. University of Michigan-Dearborn is a medium sized university located in Dearborn, Michigan. It is a public school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 8,311 students and an admission rate of 61%. University of Michigan-Dearborn has a bachelor's degree and a master's degree program in Computer Programming/Programmer which graduated fourteen and eight students respectively in 2008.

Baker College of Allen Park - Allen Park, MI

Baker College of Allen Park, 4500 Enterprise Dr, Allen Park, MI 48101. Baker College of Allen Park is a small college located in Allen Park, Michigan. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs and has 2,548 students. Baker College of Allen Park has an associate's degree program in Data Processing and Data Processing Technology/Technician which graduated one student in 2008.

Schoolcraft College - Livonia, MI

Schoolcraft College, 18600 Haggerty Road, Livonia, MI 48152-2696. Schoolcraft College is a large college located in Livonia, Michigan. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 12,560 students. Schoolcraft College has a one to two year and an associate's degree program in Computer Programming/Programmer which graduated six and seventeen students respectively in 2008.

Washtenaw Community College - Ann Arbor, MI

Washtenaw Community College, 4800 E Huron River Dr, Ann Arbor, MI 48105-4800. Washtenaw Community College is a large college located in Ann Arbor, Michigan. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 12,906 students. Washtenaw Community College has a less than one year and an associate's degree program in Computer Programming/Programmer which graduated five and eight students respectively in 2008.

Lawton School - Southfield, MI

Lawton School, 20755 Greenfield Suite 300, Southfield, MI 48075. Lawton School is a small school located in Southfield, Michigan. It is a private for-profit school with primarily less-than 2-year programs and has 61 students. Lawton School has a less than one year program in Data Processing and Data Processing Technology/Technician which graduated ten students in 2008.

Oakland Community College - Bloomfield Hills, MI

Oakland Community College, 2480 Opdyke Rd, Bloomfield Hills, MI 48304-2266. Oakland Community College is a large college located in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 24,957 students. Oakland Community College has a less than one year and an associate's degree program in Computer Programming/Programmer which graduated one and fifteen students respectively in 2008.

Baker College of Clinton Township - Clinton Township, MI

Baker College of Clinton Township, 34950 Little Mack Ave, Clinton Township, MI 48035. Baker College of Clinton Township is a medium sized college located in Clinton Township, Michigan. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs and has 5,666 students. Baker College of Clinton Township has 2 areas of study related to Numerical Control Tool Programmer. They are:

  • Computer Programming/Programmer, associate's degree and bachelor's degree which graduated five and seven students respectively in 2008.
  • Data Processing and Data Processing Technology/Technician, associate's degree which graduated 1 student in 2008.

Baker College of Auburn Hills - Auburn Hills, MI

Baker College of Auburn Hills, 1500 University Dr, Auburn Hills, MI 48326-2642. Baker College of Auburn Hills is a small college located in Auburn Hills, Michigan. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs and has 3,848 students. Baker College of Auburn Hills has 2 areas of study related to Numerical Control Tool Programmer. They are:

  • Computer Programming/Programmer, associate's degree and bachelor's degree which graduated zero and five students respectively in 2008.
  • Data Processing and Data Processing Technology/Technician, associate's degree which graduated 3 students in 2008.

Monroe County Community College - Monroe, MI

Monroe County Community College, 1555 South Raisinville Road, Monroe, MI 48161-9746. Monroe County Community College is a small college located in Monroe, Michigan. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 4,514 students. Monroe County Community College has 2 areas of study related to Numerical Control Tool Programmer. They are:

  • Computer Programming/Programmer, associate's degree which graduated 4 students in 2008.
  • Data Processing and Data Processing Technology/Technician, associate's degree which graduated 3 students in 2008.

Wayne County Community College District - Detroit, MI

Wayne County Community College District, 801 W Fort St, Detroit, MI 48226. Wayne County Community College District is a large college located in Detroit, Michigan. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 21,540 students. Wayne County Community College District has an associate's degree program in Computer Programming/Programmer which graduated eighteen students in 2008.

LOCATION INFORMATION: Detroit, Michigan

Detroit, Michigan
Detroit, Michigan photo by Durova

Detroit is located in Wayne County, Michigan. It has a population of over 912,062, which has shrunk by 4.1% in the past ten years. The cost of living index in Detroit, 86, is well below the national average. New single-family homes in Detroit are priced at $108,900 on average, which is well below the state average. In 2008, eighty-five new homes were built in Detroit, down from one hundred fifty-four the previous year.

The three big industries for women in Detroit are health care, educational services, and transportation equipment. For men, it is transportation equipment, construction, and administrative and support and waste management services. The average commute to work is about 28 minutes. More than 11.0% of Detroit residents have a bachelor's degree, which is lower than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 4.2%, is lower than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Detroit is 27.0%, which is greater than Michigan's average of 14.3%.

The percentage of Detroit residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 37.7%, is less than both the national and state average. The most common religious groups are the Catholic Church, the Muslim Estimate and the Lutheran Church.

Detroit is home to the Memorial Park Marina and the Detroit Golf Club as well as Chene Park and Mallett Playground. Visitors to Detroit can choose from Corktown Inn, Clark's Motel and Days Inn of Downtown Detroit for temporary stays in the area.