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: $44,110.00 per year according to the US Department of Labor. You may view the most current Occupational Outlook statistics at:
  • 96% placement rate for 2015 - 2017 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:


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