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Machinist School: Degree and Certificate Program Information

Read about certificate and associate's degree programs that can prepare students for machinist jobs. Find out what students learn in these programs, and check the admission requirements. Get career info for machinists.

Essential Information

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. Many advanced machinist jobs are open to those who have extensive work experience, regardless of education levels.


Machinist Certificate

A number of entry-level machinist positions in a variety of fields are open to people who have earned a certificate in machinery operation. Many machinist certificate programs teach students to operate various machines manually or by computer control. Machinist schools often offer certificate programs that teach students how to operate specific types of machines that are used in manufacturing or construction, for example. Certificate programs can vary in length from a couple of months to two years.

Educational Prerequisites

Students interested in earning a machinist certificate usually need to have either a high school diploma or equivalency, but there are some programs that admit high school students. Applicants who excelled in high school courses such as geometry, trigonometry and physics will be particularly qualified. It is a good idea for students to take any available machine shop or woodworking high school classes as well.

Program Coursework

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 machinist certificate programs:

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

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

Machinist Associate's Degree

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 machinist associate's degree programs.

Educational Prerequisites

Students generally need at least a high school diploma or equivalency to enroll in a machinist associate's degree program. It is a good idea for applicants to take any available high school classes in advanced mathematics, shop, physics and blueprints.

Program coursework

Students in machinist associate's degree programs 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

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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