Shop Technical Specialist I-III (Machinist)

Crafts / Trades Charlottesville, Virginia


Position Description:

Position Summary

The National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO) is seeking to recruit a full-time Shop Technical Specialist to support the Machine Shop.  The Shop Technical Specialist performs setup and operation of manual and CNC machine tools and/or welding equipment including part fixturing and setup.  Generally works from prints and detailed sketches.  Performs routing maintenance incidental to operation of machines and equipment.  Generally works independently under only general supervision.  Must be a team player and enjoy working in a collaborative team environment. 


The position will be based at our Central Development Laboratory (CDL) in Charlottesville, VA located near the grounds of the University of Virginia ( In addition to competitive pay, NRAO provides excellent paid time off benefits (vacation and sick leave). Medical, dental and vision plans are effective first day of employment. NRAO’s retirement benefit contributes an amount equal to 10 percent of a qualified participant’s base pay. No contribution is required of the employee; we also offer an optional supplemental, tax-deferred plan for employee retirement contributions.


Job Duties Summary

Responsibilities will include, but are not limited to:

  • Sets up, adjusts and operates a variety of precision tool room equipment including but not limited to mill, lathe and CNC machines.
  • Works from verbal instructions; interprets and modifies blueprints, sketches and drawings.
  • Produces parts from a variety of raw materials.
  • Must be able to meet specified tolerances.
  • Understands and uses a variety of precision measuring equipment.
  • Produces all types of surface finishes, as directed.
  • Uses a variety of chemicals including solvents and dyes.
  • Works closely with other department members, Technicians and Engineers, as directed.
  • Uses CAD/CAM software and performs CNC programming as required.
  • Documents changes necessitated during fabrication.
  • May teach and lead other Shop Technicians.
  • Works within and meets established deadlines.
  • Proactive compliance with NRAO and government safety policies and procedures in own work area is expected.
  • Other duties as assigned.


Additional duties of a Shop Technical Specialist working at a level III include:

  • Using vast accumulated knowledge of machining to achieve tolerances less than .0002’’ when required.
  • Manufacturing complicated mandrels for electro-formed components.
  • Manufacturing complicated waveguide assemblies by bending and brazing.



Position Requirements:

Minimum Education

High school degree; technical school diploma; or recognized toolmaker apprenticeship


Minimum Experience

Two or more years of related technical experience. Please note: experienced candidates may be considered for a higher ranking.

  • Must be able to perform a variety of mathematical calculations.
  • Ability and experience in dealing with problems involving several concrete variables in standardized situations.
  • Experience with computers at the user level, must have working experience with CAD/CAM software.


Preferred Experience

Experience using 5 Axis Mastercam CAD/CAM software and experience using 5 Axis NC Milling machine with FANUC control.  Ability to use CAMPLETE CAD/CAM software to check and troubleshoot part programming.


Physical Demands

Work typically takes place in a machine shop or other specialized shop; employees may be occasionally required to work elsewhere. Required to stand and sit; use hands to handle or feel objects, tools, or controls; and reach with hands or arms. Regularly works nears moving mechanical parts. Occasionally is required to climb or balance; and stoop, kneel, crouch. Able to work with a variety of chemicals. Must occasionally lift and/or move up to 50 pounds. Must be able to communicate clearly and in writing. Specific vision requirements include close vision, distance vision, color and depth perception, and the ability to adjust focus.



Application Instructions:

Select the "Apply" button below. Applicants should be prepared to upload a resume and cover letter.



The NRAO is an equal opportunity employer (M/F/D/V)

The National Radio Astronomy Observatory is a facility of the National Science Foundation operated under cooperative agreement by Associated Universities, Inc.