A one-year certificate program in machining and computer numerical control (CNC) technology teaches students to utilize computers or machinery to produce precision metal dies, tools and instruments. They study geometric dimensioning and tolerances in order to craft the items according to specifications. Some schools offer a certificate program that combines machining and CNC technology, while others break the program into its different aspects, offering certificates in each area.
Sheet metal workers fabricate, install and maintain large metal surfaces, such as roofs, air ducts and outdoor signs. These professionals train in four- or five-year apprenticeship programs that combine classroom coursework with paid, on-the-job training.
Admission into either of these programs require a High school diploma or GED and may rely on the applicant's ability to speak English, strong math skills, solid mechanical abilities and computer literacy, passing a qualifying exam and sitting for an interview.
Certificate Programs in Machining
Since precision measurements are the backbone of machine shop work, geometry is part of many courses. During certificate programs in machining, students will use those geometric principles to ensure the precise measurements and fittings required of the work. Blueprint reading is also necessary and students learn to use computer programs to inspect the finished items. Course offerings may include:
- Shop mathematics
- Operation of the CNC milling machine
- Geometric dimensions and tolerancing
- Robotics for CNC machines
Find schools that offer these popular programs
- Construction Management and Trades
- Electrical Repair and Maintenance
- Heating, Air Conditioning, Ventilation, and Refrigeration Maintenance
- Heavy Equipment Maintenance
- Leatherworking and Upholstery
- Precision Metal Working
- Precision Systems Maintenance
- Vehicle Repair and Maintenance
Certificate Programs in Sheet Metal Work
During their training, students learn technical skills, such as welding and blueprint reading, and gain practical knowledge in supervisory skills and building codes. Students may also learn to design and troubleshoot heating and cooling systems. Here are some possible course offerings:
- Applied geometry
- Ductwork design
- Sheet metal fabrication
- Industrial safety
- Mechanical drawing
Employment Outlook and Salary Information
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicted that employment for machinists would increase by 10% from 2014-2024, while tool and die makers were to experience a 13% decline in employment. The BLS states that machinists trained in the latest technology will have the best job opportunities. The median annual salary for machinists was $40,550 in May 2015.
The BLS predicted that employment of sheet metal workers would increase by 7% from 2014-2024. Workers who had computer experience and several types of welding skills would have the best chance for jobs. The median annual salary for sheet metals workers was $45,750 in May 2015, the BLS reported.
In many states, apprenticeship boards offer certification to machinists who meet training and education standards, usually after completing an apprenticeship. Training centers and colleges may also offer this certification, which helps employers recognize competent machinists.
Welding certification is obtained through The American Welding Society, and can add a competitive edge to a resume. The Sheet Metal Institute offers certifications in many areas, including aerial work platforms, rigging and brazing. While certifications are not required, they prove skills to potential employers.
The heavy use of geometry in machining and sheet metal working may appeal to those who wish to use it in their careers. Obtaining a certificate in either of these fields allows for exploration and entrance into the industry.