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Career and Education Opportunities for Numerical Control Tool Programmers in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

If you want to be a numerical control tool programmer, the Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania area offers many opportunities both for education and employment. About 1,050 people are currently employed as numerical control tool programmers in Pennsylvania. By 2016, this is expected to grow 7% to 1,150 people employed. 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.

A person working as a numerical control tool programmer can expect to earn about $21 hourly or $44,410 per year on average in Pennsylvania and about $21 per hour or $44,310 yearly 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 Pennsylvania earn more. They earn more than people working in the overall category of Computer Controls nationally.

There are eighty-three schools of higher education in the Pittsburgh area, including six within twenty-five miles of Pittsburgh 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

Community College of Allegheny County - Pittsburgh, PA

Community College of Allegheny County, 800 Allegheny Ave, Pittsburgh, PA 15233-1895. Community College of Allegheny County is a large college located in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 19,366 students. Community College of Allegheny County has a one to two year program in Computer Programming/Programmer which graduated three students in 2008.

NewLife Academy of Information Technology - East Liverpool, OH

NewLife Academy of Information Technology, 114 W Fifth St, East Liverpool, OH 43920. NewLife Academy of Information Technology is a small school located in East Liverpool, Ohio. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily less-than 2-year programs. It has 6 students and an admission rate of 89%. NewLife Academy of Information Technology has a one to two year program in Computer Programming/Programmer which graduated three students in 2008.

Pittsburgh Technical Institute - Oakdale, PA

Pittsburgh Technical Institute, 1111 McKee Road, Oakdale, PA 15071. Pittsburgh Technical Institute is a small school located in Oakdale, Pennsylvania. It is a private for-profit school with primarily 2-year programs. It has 2,086 students and an admission rate of 88%. Pittsburgh Technical Institute has an associate's degree program in Computer Programming/Programmer which graduated ten students in 2008.

Westmoreland County Community College - Youngwood, PA

Westmoreland County Community College, 145 Pavilion Lane, Youngwood, PA 15697-1895. Westmoreland County Community College is a medium sized college located in Youngwood, Pennsylvania. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 5,512 students. Westmoreland County Community College has 2 areas of study related to Numerical Control Tool Programmer. They are:

  • Computer Programming/Programmer, associate's degree which graduated 6 students in 2008.
  • Data Processing and Data Processing Technology/Technician, less than one year which graduated 1 student in 2008.

West Virginia Business College-Wheeling - Wheeling, WV

West Virginia Business College-Wheeling, 1052 Main St, Wheeling, WV 26003. West Virginia Business College-Wheeling is a small college located in Wheeling, West Virginia. It is a private for-profit school with primarily 2-year programs and has 60 students. West Virginia Business College-Wheeling has a one to two year program in Computer Programming/Programmer which graduated two students in 2008.

West Virginia Northern Community College - Wheeling, WV

West Virginia Northern Community College, 1704 Market St., Wheeling, WV 26003-3699. West Virginia Northern Community College is a small college located in Wheeling, West Virginia. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 2,924 students. West Virginia Northern Community College has an associate's degree program in Computer Programming/Programmer which graduated two students in 2008.

LOCATION INFORMATION: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania photo by Conk 9

Pittsburgh is located in Allegheny County, Pennsylvania. It has a population of over 310,037, which has shrunk by 7.3% over the last ten years. The cost of living index in Pittsburgh, 86, is well below the national average. New single-family homes in Pittsburgh cost $196,700 on average, which is far greater than the state average. In 2008, one hundred eighty-five new homes were built in Pittsburgh, up from one hundred seventeen the previous year.

The three most popular industries for women in Pittsburgh are health care, educational services, and finance and insurance. For men, it is educational services, health care, and accommodation and food services. The average travel time to work is about 23 minutes. More than 26.2% of Pittsburgh residents have a bachelor's degree, which is higher than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 12.5%, is higher than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Pittsburgh is 7.8%, which is less than Pennsylvania's average of 8.4%.

The percentage of Pittsburgh residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 71.8%, is more than both the national and state average. Saint Pauls Cathedral, Saint Patrick Roman Cathlic Church and Saint Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church are some of the churches located in Pittsburgh. The largest religious groups are the Catholic Church, the Presbyterian Church (USA) and the United Methodist Church.

Pittsburgh is home to the Mount Washington Overlook and the Golden Triangle as well as Magee Playground and Kennard Playground. Shopping centers in the area include Shadyside Shopping Center and Allegheny Center Mall. Visitors to Pittsburgh can choose from Best Western University Center, Avalon Motel and Four Points By Sheraton Pittsburgh Airport for temporary stays in the area.