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Machinist School: Degree and Certificate Program Information

While many advanced machinist jobs are open to those who have extensive work experience, regardless of education levels, there are several training options available to people who are interested in becoming machinists. The amount of training required varies depending on the types of machines that prospective students want to operate. Some community colleges, technical colleges and universities offer certificate programs and associate's degree programs.

Essential Information

Machinist schools often offer certificate programs that teach students how to operate specific types of machines used in manufacturing or construction. Many machinist certificate programs teach students to operate various machines manually or by computer control. A number of entry-level machinist positions in a variety of fields are open to people who have earned a certificate in machinery operation. These programs can vary in length from a couple of months to two years. Machinist associate's degree programs usually provide broad instruction on several types of machinery. Most programs train students in relevant computer skills, as well as manual machine operation techniques. Students usually have ample opportunity to gain hands-on experience with different types of computer software and machinery through associate's degree programs.

  • Program Levels for Machinists: Certificate programs, Asssociate's degrees
  • Prerequisites: High school diploma or equivalent, high aptitude for geometry, trigonometry and physics, previous shop experience
  • Program Lengths: A couple months to two years
  • Experiential Learning: Lots of hands-on experience

Certificate Programs for Machinists

Depending on the program, the required coursework can vary from covering basic machine operation to advanced engine building. The list below contains some fairly common topics covered in these programs:

  • Benchwork
  • Fabrication
  • Drafting
  • Computer-controlled machines
  • Engines

Associate's Degree Programs for Machinists

Students learn to use a plethora of mechanical equipment. In addition to classes on machine operation, students often focus on mathematics, science and computer skills. The topics listed below are usually discussed in the programs:

  • Engine lathe operation
  • Computer aided drafting (CAD)
  • Blueprint interpretation
  • Mill operation
  • Operating surface grinders

Popular Career Options

People who hold a machinist certificate often qualify for a number of jobs in the field. It is important to note that the particular focus of a certificate program greatly impacts the type of jobs for which graduates qualify. The careers listed below are popular options for those who have a machinist certificate:

  • Machine operator
  • Machine repair specialist
  • Manufacturer

A machinist associate's degree helps graduates prepare for a variety of careers. Since the degree provides a broad base of knowledge, graduates can usually work with several different types of machines. Graduates often choose one of the careers listed below:

  • Lathe operator
  • Computer aided drafting specialist
  • Mill operator

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