MEET THE PRO: Hayden Whitehead, CNC Service Technician

By Arkansas NEXT on Friday, September 25, 2020

Hayden Whitehead

Hometown: Jessieville
Age: 22
Where I trained: National Park College
What I earned: Technical certificate in Manufacturing Technology
Job title: CNC Service Engineer/Technician
Employer: Haas Factory Outlet, a Division of Phillips in Little Rock

Hayden Whitehead first learned about the world of computer numerical control (CNC) machining in high school while taking a vocational tech course offered through the National Park College. The class sparked an interest in Hayden and he began his career in automation as a general maintenance mechanic at an aircraft manufacturer. Eventually, he made his way to Phillips Corporation, where his technical certificate in manufacturing technology came in handy.

Phillips Corporation offers Hayden opportunities for on-the-job training so he can continue to grow in his field. As he learns more and progresses in his role, Hayden can climb the ladder to become an experienced CNC technician, then a senior CNC technician, all the way up to vice president of service. “I feel it noteworthy that the president of my company started as a CNC service technician,” he says. And, he adds, “With only one year of formal education, I’ve been able to obtain a higher-than-average income for the state I live in.”

What does a CNC service technician do?

They primarily diagnose, troubleshoot and repair computer numerical control (CNC) machine tools. They utilize both electrical and mechanical skills. In addition, they will often operate or program these machines and may have the opportunity to interact with automation and robotics.


Troubleshoot, diagnose and repair CNC machine tool service issues

Install new CNC machines

Install mechanical and electrical components in machine tools

Install automation and robotic equipment for production processes

Education Needed

No prior work experience is required for entry-level positions. Most people in this career have a high school diploma or equivalent and will undergo one to 12 months of on-the-job training.

Job Outlook

expected growth from 2016 to 2026 in Arkansas

projected annual job openings in Arkansas

 High-end earners in Arkansas (top 10%) make
$62,330 Annually
 Median wages in Arkansas
$39,930 Annually
$19.20 Hourly

This option is for you if:

You have a knack for fixing things.
You’re a good troubleshooter.
Math and geometry come easily to you.
You know how to act professional and have good communication skills.


Arkansas Northeastern College
Arkansas State University - Beebe
Arkansas State University - Mid South
Arkansas State University - Newport
Arkansas State University - Mountain Home
Arkansas Tech University - Ozark Campus
Black River Technical College
Business and Industry Training
National Park College
University of Arkansas at Monticello College of Technology - Crossett


Haas Factory Outlet, a Division of Phillips

"My days are often [filled] with the sights and everyday adventures that come with travel. I see something new every day. The time spent in shops is mostly me being lost in a machine. I am usually left alone to do what I enjoy doing — repairing CNC machines." –Hayden

Sources: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and

See more of your options in MANUFACTURING.