How to Become a CMM Programmer: Education and Career Roadmap

Research the requirements to become a CMM Programmer. Learn about the job description and read the step-by-step process to start a career in CMM Programming.

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Do I Want to Be a CMM Programmer?

A coordinate measuring machine (CMM) measures the surface area of three-dimensional objects. These machines are often used during the inspection phase in the manufacturing process. A CMM programmer interprets object blueprints and programs the CMM to take accurate measurements. Travel to worksites may be involved, and overtime hours might be required.

Job Requirements

Aspiring CMM programmers should be skilled in mathematics, able to use a variety of measuring tools and capable of reading blueprints. Although postsecondary education might not be required, applicants with a bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering or a related field may have the best job prospects. The following table, compiled from information found in December 2012 job postings, indicates the typical requirements to become a CMM programmer:

Common Requirements
Degree Level None required, though a bachelor's degree may improve employment opportunities
Degree Field(s) Mechanical engineering or a related field
Licensure and/or Certification None required
Experience 3-5 years in manufacturing
Key Skills Listening, problem-solving, mathematics
Computer Skills PC-DMIS, M-COSMOS, CAD and/or other industry software
Technical Skills Use of calibration tools
Additional Requirements Ability to work in a team setting

Step 1: Complete Education Requirements

Individuals wishing to pursue a career in CMM programming generally attend 2-year colleges, and complete a technical associate's degree program in a field such as manufacturing technology or complete a certificate program in quality technology. Certificate and associate degree programs can prepare students for careers in CMM programming through courses in topics such as blueprint reading, dimensional measurement tools and production processes.

Success Tip

  • Consider additional undergraduate degree options. Potential CMM programmers can pursue an associate's or a bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering or a related field. This can appeal to employers that prefer prospective employees who have education and training beyond the vocational level.

Step 2: Achieve Proficiency Using PC-DMIS Operating Systems

PC-DMIS is a commonly used measurement software program that coordinates measuring machines and eliminates the need for information to be translated into multiple program languages. Proficiency in PC-DMIS can be gained as part of an education program or through individual training courses. Technical and quality control organizations offer individual courses.

Step 3: Gain Work Experience

CMM programmer positions fall under the category of quality assurance or quality inspection, and many employers require candidates for these positions to possess 3-5 years of experience in the manufacturing field. Candidates can gain valuable experience by starting careers in entry-level technical positions.

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