I finished machining school in 94. I took a job as a Tool and Die Technician supporting a manufacturing line. I enjoyed the work for 9 years but did not get a lot of CNC expereince there. Making a production line run often does not take a lot of tight tolerance machinging......often it is fixing broke fixtures, cob then in as quick as possible.
I claim those 9 years as maching experience, but I did not learn much about the machinist trade in those 9 years.
When I left a took a Job in a prototype CNC machine shop. I hung on by a string while I learned how to program, set up and operate a CNC Lathe. I'm old and CNC lathes are easy. You can make good mony as a CNC lathe machinist but might have to put in you time making less then desired for a while you get you skill and confidence, then jump around until you find an employer who will pay you what your worth.
A lot of people find CNC lathes less challenging then Mills. The pay as a CNC Mill machinist is most often better as well. Good luck and have fun. If they won't pay you what you are worth.....move on.