College Resources

Career Tracks: Machine Tool Technology

A machinist can take raw materials and produce a specialized finished product or item through knowledge that is a combination of theoretical information and hands-on experience.

Students in this program get a full introduction to the field and practical experience in machining operations used in practically every manufacturing industry. The graduate is capable of making intricate parts or meeting precise specifications. A Machine Tool Operator certificate may be received after earning 26 credit hours in the appropriate courses.


Graduates in this field may be required to:

  • build tools, dies, jigs, fixtures and measuring devices used in the manufacturing of metal and plastic parts

  • follow blueprints or other instructions to determine specifications and sequences of operations needed to make the tool, die, or fixture

  • mark reference points or lines on work piece to indicate machining operations or areas of metal removal

  • operate lathes, grinders, mills and other machines to form the tool, die or fixture

  • assemble parts of machined items

Working Conditions

Graduates in this field commonly experience:

  • working with CNC machining centers in various environments

  • team work in cooperation with others

  • perform a variety of duties and tasks

  • self directed planning

  • meet customer deadlines (Some with tight schedules)

  • additional hours sometimes required

Physical Demands

  • active: walking, carrying, standing

  • lifting to 70 lbs.

Characteristics & Temperament

Graduates in this field should have:

  • good oral and written communication skills

  • ability to work with inanimate objects (setting up, operating, maintaining)

  • ability to do precision work

  • ability to "catch on" quickly

  • ability to perform arithmetic functions quickly and accurately

  • spatial aptitude: comprehend two-dimensional objects; recognize relationships resulting form the movement of objects

  • mechanical reasoning: understand mechanical principles and devices, understand how things work and how to fix them

  • good motor coordination

  • consistency and dependability

  • self-discipline

Employment Outlook

Graduates in this field can expect the following developments:

  • very good to excellent job opportunities

  • salary average: $37,767.50

  • 89% placement rate for 2011 - 2013 graduates

  • employment in cities and towns of all sizes

  • further education generally ensures higher salary

  • experience allows move into technically complex job, design or engineering technician duties

  • entry positions: machinist, CNC operator, tool maker, technician, tool & die maker, maintenance mechanic, shop foreman

  • self-employment


Recent graduates have found work at: