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Career and Education Opportunities for Numerical Control Tool Programmers in St. Louis, Missouri

Numerical control tool programmer career and educational opportunities abound in St. Louis, Missouri. The national trend for numerical control tool programmers sees this job pool shrinking by about 15.4% over the next eight years. Numerical control tool programmers generally develop programs to control machining or processing of parts by automatic machine tools, equipment, or systems.

The income of a numerical control tool programmer is about $20 per hour or $43,640 per year on average in Missouri. In the U.S. as a whole, their income is about $21 hourly or $44,310 yearly on average. Incomes for numerical control tool programmers are better than in the overall category of Computer Controls in Missouri, and better than the overall Computer Controls category nationally.

There are seven schools within twenty-five miles of St. Louis where you can study to be a numerical control tool programmer, among seventy-one schools of higher education total in the St. Louis area. 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 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

Saint Louis Community College-Meramec - Kirkwood, MO

Saint Louis Community College-Meramec, 11333 Big Bend Blvd, Kirkwood, MO 63122. Saint Louis Community College-Meramec is a large college located in Kirkwood, Missouri. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 10,217 students. Saint Louis Community College-Meramec has 2 areas of study related to Numerical Control Tool Programmer. They are:

  • Computer Programming/Programmer, one to two year and associate's degree which graduated one and three students respectively in 2008.
  • Data Processing and Data Processing Technology/Technician, less than one year and associate's degree which graduated one and one students respectively in 2008.

Hickey College - Saint Louis, MO

Hickey College, 940 Westport Plaza, Saint Louis, MO 63146. Hickey College is a small college located in Saint Louis, Missouri. It is a private for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs and has 442 students. Hickey College has an associate's degree program in Computer Programming/Programmer which graduated seven students in 2008.

Saint Louis Community College-Forest Park - Saint Louis, MO

Saint Louis Community College-Forest Park, 5600 Oakland Ave, Saint Louis, MO 63110. Saint Louis Community College-Forest Park is a medium sized college located in Saint Louis, Missouri. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 7,164 students. Saint Louis Community College-Forest Park has 2 areas of study related to Numerical Control Tool Programmer. They are:

  • Computer Programming/Programmer, one to two year and associate's degree which graduated zero and five students respectively in 2008.
  • Data Processing and Data Processing Technology/Technician, less than one year and associate's degree which graduated zero and five students respectively in 2008.

St Charles Community College - Cottleville, MO

St Charles Community College, 4601 Mid Rivers Mall Dr, Cottleville, MO 63376-0975. St Charles Community College is a medium sized college located in Cottleville, Missouri. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 7,334 students. St Charles Community College has a one to two year and an associate's degree program in Computer Programming/Programmer which graduated two and sixteen students respectively in 2008.

Saint Louis Community College-Florissant Valley - Saint Louis, MO

Saint Louis Community College-Florissant Valley, 3400 Pershall Rd, Saint Louis, MO 63135. Saint Louis Community College-Florissant Valley is a medium sized college located in Saint Louis, Missouri. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 6,515 students. Saint Louis Community College-Florissant Valley has 2 areas of study related to Numerical Control Tool Programmer. They are:

  • Computer Programming/Programmer, one to two year and associate's degree which graduated zero and four students respectively in 2008.
  • Data Processing and Data Processing Technology/Technician, less than one year and associate's degree which graduated zero and two students respectively in 2008.

Vatterott College - Berkeley, MO

Vatterott College, 8580 Evans Avenue, Berkeley, MO 63134. Vatterott College is a small college located in Berkeley, Missouri. It is a private for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs and has 971 students. Vatterott College has a one to two year program in Computer Programming/Programmer which graduated fifteen students in 2008.

Vatterott College - Sunset Hills, MO

Vatterott College, 12970 Maurer Industrial Dr, Sunset Hills, MO 63127-1516. Vatterott College is a small college located in Sunset Hills, Missouri. It is a private for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs and has 603 students. Vatterott College has a one to two year program in Computer Programming/Programmer which graduated eleven students in 2008.

LOCATION INFORMATION: St. Louis, Missouri

St. Louis, Missouri
St. Louis, Missouri photo by Dschwen

St. Louis is located in St. Louis City County, Missouri. It has a population of over 354,361, which has grown by 1.8% over the last ten years. The cost of living index in St. Louis, 83, is well below the national average. New single-family homes in St. Louis are priced at $111,600 on average, which is far less than the state average. In 2008, one hundred fifty-seven new homes were built in St. Louis, down from two hundred sixty-one the previous year.

The top three industries for women in St. Louis are health care, educational services, and accommodation and food services. For men, it is accommodation and food services, construction, and educational services. The average travel time to work is about 25 minutes. More than 19.1% of St. Louis residents have a bachelor's degree, which is lower than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 7.6%, is lower than the state average.

The unemployment rate in St. Louis is 10.9%, which is greater than Missouri's average of 8.9%.

Nativity of Our Lord Church, Church of the Good Shepard and Church of the Holy Communion are among the churches located in St. Louis.

St. Louis is home to the Terminal Railroad Association Building and the Memorial Home as well as Washington Park and Willmore Park. Shopping malls in the area include Hampton Village Shopping Center and Loughborough Shopping Center.