Machine Tool Technology

The skills taught in the machine tool program are in constant demand in our region, and all over the country. Graduates will find that their employment prospects are excellent. You’ll get a full introduction to the field and practical experience in machining operations used in practically every manufacturing industry.

Phillip Calhoun, program director


A Career in Machine Tool Technology

Modern manufacturing is a high-level, advanced industry requiring skilled and talented people. In fact, it's South Carolina's number two employment sector, paying wages well above the statewide average. These advances are clearly evident in the machine shop.

The program at Piedmont Technical College is well-respected by employers, and many of them serve on our advisory board, which helps determine what's taught in the program, so you'll have a competitive edge when you graduate. 

The need for qualified machinists is increasing. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, this field is projected to grow by 18 percent by 2030, which is faster than the national average.

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What Will I Do as a Machine Tool Graduate?

Today, most machine shops are clean, well-lit and ventilated. In fact, most modern CNC machines are partially or totally enclosed, minimizing the exposure of workers to noise, debris and the lubricants used to cool work pieces during machining.

Machinists are highly skilled operators of machine tools that fabricate parts from a wide variety of materials. Working from blueprints, sketches or their own designs, these technicians produce precision parts with extremely close tolerances.

Some of your responsibilities may require you to:

  • Work with blueprints, sketches or computer-aided design and manufacturing files
  • Align, secure and adjust cutting tools and work pieces
  • Turn, mill, drill, shape and grind machine parts to specifications
  • Remove and replace dull cutting tools
  • Document production numbers in a computer database
  • Test and compare finished work pieces to specifications
  • Develop computer programs to control machining or processing of metal or plastic parts

Career Quick Facts

Career Outlook
  • Median Salary Average:  $46,730
  • SC Salary Range:  $32,120 - $57,120
  • 100% placement rate for 2020-2021 graduates

Salary and career information from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Physical Demands
  • active: walking, carrying, standing
  • lifting to 70 lbs.
Entry Level Positions
  • Machinist
  • CNC Operator
  • Shop Foreman
  • More ...
List of Employers

Recent graduates have found work at:

  • Alpha Manufacturing Company
  • Alupress
  • Anderson Metals
  • Apex Tool Group
  • AstenJohnson
  • BF Goodrich
  • BMW
  • Burnstein von Seelen Corporation
  • Callen Die Casting LCC
  • Cardinal Health
  • Center Manufacturing SC, Inc (Mayville Engineering, Inc.)
  • Ceramtec
  • Colgate-Palmolive
  • Crown Casting
  • East Teak Lumber Company
  • Eaton Electric
  • Eaton Hydraulics
  • Elite Tool & Design
  • Emerald Technical Services
  • Finney Impression Die Corporation
  • Flexible Technologies
  • FN Manufacturing
  • Gallman Welding
  • General Electric
  • Geometric Tool & Machine Company
  • Georgia-Pacific
  • Goodrich Corporation
  • Greenwood Fabricating and Plating
  • H&L Accessory
  • Hartness International
  • Itron
  • Kaiser Aluminum
  • Komatsu
  • Lanford Welding and Mechanical Inc.
  • Laurens Tool, Inc.
  • Lonza
  • McKechnie
  • Metal Skills
  • Mundy Companies (Austin Industrial)
  • Nasmyth Precision Products
  • Piedmont CMG
  • Piedmont Plastics
  • Precision Plus
  • Precorp
  • Red Line Machining
  • Red Seal Measurement
  • Shaw Industries
  • Solutia
  • Springs Industries
  • Tenneco Automotive
  • Timken
  • Ware Shoals Machine Shop
  • Ware Shoals Plastics
  • ZF Transmissions

Program Information

Piedmont Technical College offers several pathways to a career in Machine Tool Technology. Students in the associate degree program get a full introduction to the field, along with practical experience in machining operations used in nearly every manufacturing industry. Those pursuing the diploma will receive a primary specialty in machining in just one year. 

The program also offers certificates in Computerized Numeric Control and Precision Metrology to help existing machinists hone or update their machining skills. A Machine Tool Operator certificate is also available for those who wish to gain basic machining skills without being enrolled in a full-time degree program.

Graduates will be prepared for entry-level jobs as a CNC machinist, CNC programmer, manual machinist or quality control and inspection specialist. 

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