Machinist School: Degree and Certificate Program Information

While many advanced machinist jobs are open to those who have extensive work experience, there are several training options available to people who are interested in becoming machinists. Explore common coursework in these programs and popular career options.

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Essential Information

Machinist schools often offer certificate programs that teach students how to operate manual or computer-controlled machines used in manufacturing and construction. 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.

These programs typically require applicants to have a high school diploma or GED. Prior experience in a shop and a high aptitude for geometry, trigonometry and physics could also be beneficial.

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

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 also 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

Prospective machinists can receive hands-on training in machine operation techniques through coursework in certificate and associate's degree programs. After graduation, students may pursue a variety of different careers, such as a machine or mill operator.

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