Becoming a CMM Programmer

CMM programmers are an important part of the manufacturing process and utilize their mathematics skills and experience with specialized programs. Find out more about getting education, experience, and certification. Schools offering Machining & Manufacturing degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Career Overview

CMM programmers operate a coordinate measuring machine, which determines an object's dimensions and other qualities to ensure they match those shown on blueprint plans. The chart below offers more details about the job duties and salary of CMM programmers.

Education Required Bachelor's degree often preferred, high school diploma or GED may be acceptable with experience
Key Responsibilities Interpret blueprints and drawings, test and calibrate coordinate measuring machines
Median Salary (2019) $51,205 (CMM operator and programmer)*
Job Growth (2016-2026) 16% (computer numerically controlled machine tool programmers, metal and plastic)**

Sources: *Payscale.com; **U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Are The Duties Of A CMM Programmer?

CMM Programmers use coordinate measuring machines to measure the physical characteristics of an object, such as the object's dimensions. To do this, CMM programmers must create inspection programs which are written in the CMM programming language. However, one does not need to know computer programming to be hired. Most testing and calibration is done with already built software. CMM programmers work primarily in office environments, but it is occasionally required that CMM programmers go on-site to inspect the equipment.

Does One Need A Degree To Work As A CMM Programmer?

While it is not always necessary to earn a bachelor's degree to be hired as a CMM programmer it could give you an advantage compared to other applicants. Majors such as engineering or a related technical field are often the most desirable in CMM programmer candidates. Additionally, a bachelor's degree could make advancement in the future easier than if one only had a high school diploma. Certificate programs may also be available, where you might gain experience with Hexagon Metrology CMMS or learn how to use PC-DIMS, which is a program commonly used by CMM programmers.

How Much Experience Does One Need To Work As A CMM Programmer?

Most CMM programmer employers want applicants to have experience prior to applying. Experience can be gained while working in quality assurance positions at a manufacturing company. Most CMM programmer positions require 3-5 years experience and expertise with PC-DIMS. Some experience can also be gained through a bachelor's degree or a certificate program.

Does One Need A Certification To Be A CMM Programmer?

Certification is not required to work as a CMM programmer but it might be a good step. The Coordinate Metrology Society offers two levels of certification exams. For level one, you take an online test to prove your knowledge in the field. The level two exam gives you a hands-on opportunity to showcase your skills with portable CMMs.

What Personal Traits Does One Need To Be A CMM Programmer?

CMM programmers must have an eye for detail. Since CMM programmers fall within the quality assurance branch of manufacturing, it is up to them to catch the mistakes that have occurred at other points during the manufacturing process. It is integral that CMM programmers are able to match the measurements of manufactured goods to those on the blueprint. CMM programmers must also be logical, analytical thinkers for working with computer programs and the complicated geometries of manufactured goods.

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