Machine Shop Technology Training and Degree Program Info
Individuals who are interested in working with industrial metal-cutting tools to create machine parts can enroll in an associate's degree program in machine shop technology, offered by many community colleges and vocational schools. Read on to learn about the prerequisites for these programs as well as required courses.
The primary goal of a 2-year Associate of Applied Science in Machine Shop Technology degree program is to provide students with the educational background and technical skills necessary to safely operate a variety of metal-cutting machine tools. Students learn to design and create the metal parts used in various types of machinery and equipment. Graduates can go on to work in a variety of industrial fields.
Students enrolled in machine shop technology degree programs learn to read blueprints, use measuring equipment, operate machine shop tools and follow workshop safety standards. They also receive hands-on training in the use of drill presses, grinders, milling machines and saws, among other tools and equipment commonly used in machine shops.
Some schools require students enrolled in an associate's degree program in machine shop technology to have their own set of hand or power tools. Other programs may include these tools as part of the program's tuition. Educational prerequisites include a high school diploma or GED, as well as demonstrated English-language reading comprehension. Some schools may require students to have completed a pre-vocational workshop program before enrolling.
Graduates of a machine shop technology degree program should have developed the skills necessary to pursue an entry-level position in an industrial factory or machine shop. Many courses in these programs emphasize technical and vocational skills, including:
- Blueprint reading
- Applied mathematics
- Technical writing
- Business communications
- Power machinery
- Precision layouts
Employment Outlook and Salary Info
Machinists may work for manufacturers of aerospace parts, metalworks, motor vehicles and many other pieces of industrial equipment. Overall, machinists held nearly 400,000 jobs in the United States in 2012, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). As of May 2013, they earned a mean annual salary of $41,020 (www.bls.gov).
Machinists are not required to have any certifications to work in their field; however, some professionals do choose to gain certification to prove to potential employers that they are qualified to work in a machine shop. Some state apprenticeship boards and professional organizations offer certification to machinists who complete apprenticeship programs. These apprenticeship programs may take as long as four years to complete and combine hands-on work experience and classroom study, much like an associate's degree program. Unlike an associate's degree program, however, those in an apprenticeship program may earn a salary rather than pay tuition.
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