How to Become a CNC Machinist in Canada

by Usama Chaudry on September 11, 2022

If you are a person who loves to do some exciting work with his hands, then being a CNC machinist could be the right career for you. In this article, we have gathered all the information about how to become a CNC machinist in Canada. If you are considering this as a career option, then stick to the article to solve all your queries.

What is a CNC Machinist?

A CNC machinist is a professional who performs heat treatment, metal cuttings, and grindings. They typically work with metals and specialize in repairing the metal items precisely. The word CNC in their name says “Computer Numerical Control.” It implies that these CNC machinists must understand computers and programming to operate relevant equipment.

How to Become a CNC Machinist?

Follow these four simple steps to become a CNC machinist in Canada:

  1. Earn a High School Diploma
  2. Gain Some Experience
  3. Attend a Training Program
  4. Clear the Interprovincial CNC Exam

1- Earn a High School Diploma

A CNC machinist mainly performs manual work. That’s why it is not necessary to have a bachelor’s degree for choosing this profession as a career. Earning a high school diploma or GED is good enough to enter you into a CNC apprenticeship program. You can even work as a part-time CNC machinist during your high school days.

2- Gain Some Experience

After earning a high school diploma, the next step is to gain some on-site experience. You must find a CNC machinist apprentice to learn from him. Doing this will help you grasp the type of work and its demands.

3- Attend a Training Program

Training programs are very important as CNC has no formal degree program. You will learn everything from classroom training and the CNC machinist training program. After taking four years of classroom training, you will also qualify for the tradesperson exam.

4- Clear the Interprovincial CNC Exam

During the last stages of your training, you can also go for the interprovincial CNC exam. If you perform well enough, you will get a red seal certificate. This certificate is recognized throughout the country. Thus, you will be likely to get better job opportunities.

Lastly, write a cover letter for CNC machinist jobs and start applying for them.

CNC Machinist Job Description and Work Environment

Primary duties of a CNC machinist may include reading blueprints, studying samples, and then preparing sketches. He also takes measurements and performs heat treatment by operating various equipment.

A CNC machinist can work in more than one work environment depending upon where he is needed. The following three types are more common;

●   He may work in a production shop where he has to operate computer-based machinery for fast and efficient work.

●   Second, a machinist may work in machine shops to make various spare parts.

●   Third, he may work in the construction industry for intricate tasks or health care equipment.

Skills You Need to Succeed as a CNC Machinist in Canada

The following four skills are the most important ones to become a CNC machinist:

1- Critical Thinking Skills

It is the job of a CNC machinist to read specifications and interpret blueprints. They need to identify the problems, make correct changes, and perform sensitive heat treatments. A CNC machinist should have strong critical thinking skills to understand all these things.

2- IT Knowledge

It is the era of computer-based modern machinery. A CNC machinist should have a firm knowledge of computer software so that he can program the equipment he is using.

3- Mechanical Skills

Mechanical skills are a must-have for CNC machinists. They should know how to use their hands, CNC machinist tools, and machinery altogether for their work. Moreover, mechanical aptitude makes understanding machine parts and metallurgical work easier.

4- Mathematical Literacy

A CNC machinist has to draw and read blueprints. Therefore, he should have a knack for numeracy skills. These include the use of percentages, fractions, and basic mathematical operations (addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, etc.)

CNC Machinist Salary in Canada

The CNC machinist’s salary depends on the skills and experience of the person. It also depends on the profile of the hiring firm. However, an average CNC machinist in Canada earns up to $49,135 per year. It may vary from place to place.

How to Make a Powerful Resume to Land a CNC Machinist Job?

While writing a resume for CNC machinist jobs, always include your prior experience and core skills. Even for an entry-level position, have the following skills to make your CNC machinist resume powerful:

●   Sound knowledge of IT and computer

●   Excellent troubleshooting skills

●   Ability to understand operating instructions

●   Knack in running operating equipment

●   Good communication skills

Frequently Asked Questions:

1- Is CNC machinist hard?

Yes, the CNC machining process is hard as it takes almost three years to master it. However, you can learn the basics in a few months.

2- Is a CNC machinist a good career?

Being a CNC machinist is indeed a good career option as it offers long-term opportunities and pays well. Also, it has a good scope in the future.

3- How long does it take to become a CNC machinist?

Typically, it takes almost five years to become a trained CNC machinist. During these years, you learn through both practical training and academic education both.


CNC machinists are earning well at present and have a good future scope. Looking at Canadian salary figures is a no-brainer to choose it as your permanent career. The best thing is that you can become a CNC machinist with only a high school diploma; no higher degree is required. Just polish your communication, thinking, and computer skills, and you are all set to go.

Usama ChaudryUsama has a Bachelor's Degree in Chemical Engineering from the University of Alberta. Computations of electrical and thermal characteristics are among his research interests. Usama's hobbies outside of professional work include reading, playing tennis, and trekking.


The Primus Workforce team is proudly built on hands-on industry knowledge and experience.