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Schools for Aspiring CNC Machinists: How to Choose

Dec 13, 2019

Programs for aspiring CNC machinists can be found at community and technical colleges. Coursework commonly includes the operation and programming of lathes and milling equipment, as well as other machine tools.

10 Schools with CNC Machinist Programs

CNC machinist programs are offered by these institutions.

College/University Location Institution Type Degrees Offered Tuition (2018-2019)*
Clackamas Community College Oregon City, OR 2-year, Public Certificate $6,021 In-state Undergraduate; $12,414 Out-of-state Undergraduate
Hawkeye Community College Waterloo, IA 2-year, Public Certificate, Diploma, Associate's $5,311 In-state Undergraduate; $6,021 Out-of-state Undergraduate
Shoreline Community College Shoreline, WA 2-year, Public Certificate, Associate's $3,873 In-state Undergraduate; $6,622 Out-of-state Undergraduate
Cuyahoga Community College Cleveland, OH 2-year, Public Certificate $4,322 In-state Undergraduate; $8,136 Out-of-state Undergraduate
Asnuntuck Community College Enfield, CT 2-year, Public Certificate $4,464 In-state Undergraduate; $13,232 Out-of-state Undergraduate
Truckee Meadows Community College Reno, NV 2-year, Public Certificate $2,963 In-state Undergraduate; $9,876 Out-of-state Undergraduate
Erie Community College Buffalo, NY 2-year, Public Certificate $5,575 In-state Undergraduate; $10,141 Out-of-state Undergraduate
Kirkwood Community College Cedar Rapids, IA 2-year, Public Diploma, Associate's $4,832 In-state Undergraduate; $6,120 Out-of-state Undergraduate
Spartanburg Community College Spartanburg, SC 2-year, Public Certificate, Associate's $5,742 In-state Undergraduate; $9,342 Out-of-state Undergraduate
Spokane Community College Spokane, WA 2-year, Public Certificate, Associate's $3,547 In-state Undergraduate; $8,914 Out-of-state Undergraduate

Sources: *National Center for Education Statistics (NCES)

School Selection Criteria

There are a number of points to consider when choosing a program in this field.

  • Look for programs that have hands-on training opportunities and internships to gain practical experience.
  • Aspiring CNC machinists are encouraged to enroll in programs that offer up-to-date, on-campus laboratory facilities that include proper equipment for operation training, such as lathe and milling machines.
  • Program outcomes range from a short- or long-term certificate to an associate's degree, and it is important to consider what program is suitable for your personal goals.
  • Check the employment records of graduates from each schools' programs to ensure that they have a high rate of graduates successfully employed in their field.

Certificate for CNC Machinists

CNC machinist certificate programs may be completed in two or three semesters.

Diploma for CNC Machinists

Diploma programs for CNC machinists can take up to two years to complete, typically without general education courses.

Associate Degree for Machinists

Associate degree programs for machinists commonly include courses in CNC programming and operation, blueprint reading, machine tool operation and computer-aided design. These programs can typically be completed in two years and include general education courses.

Choosing a program begins with determining what type of credentials you need to pursue your own career goals. Factors such as internship opportunities, location and tuition costs may also influence program choice.

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