Certificate programs provide a foundation in precision machine technology through classroom work and practical training. Most graduates of certificate programs start with an apprentice or entry-level position. They may produce precision parts, production jigs, dies or tools and are responsible for programming the machines and conducting quality assurance procedures.
Programs in precision machine technology usually take one year to complete. Students who are interested in these programs must have a high school diploma or GED equivalent and have taken math classes for two years. Advanced courses in physics and math are also recommended.
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Certificate in Precision Machining Technology
Students hone their machining skills and are trained in using tools that include grinders, drills, mills, and lathes. They may also take courses in sheet metal or welding. Courses may include:
- Reading blueprints
- Mechanical drawing
- Precision measuring tools
- Technical math
- CNC - computer numerical control
- CAD - computer-aided drafting
Career Outlook and Salary Information
Precision machinists may work in the computer, automotive, agriculture or aeronautics industries. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS, www.bls.gov), machinist positions are expected to grow 10% between 2014 and 2024 despite increasing automation in improved technologies. Job prospects are still expected to be solid for trained machinists due to moderate interest in this career. However, it's important to note that significant professional experience is required prior to becoming an independent, accomplished precision machinist. The median annual salary for a machinist was $40,550, per the May 2015 BLS salary statistics; however, salary prospects increase with additional training in precision techniques.
Continuing Education and Certification Options
Many credits earned through a certificate program may be applied towards an associate degree at community colleges. Additionally, credentialing of skills according to industry standards are obtained through the National Institute for Metalworking Skills, Inc. (NIMS) certification. The process requires written and hands-on examinations.
Certificate programs in precision machining technology teach students how to use modern equipment and technology in order to produce different metal parts and tools. Graduates of these programs may obtain industry certification or take further studies to continue developing their skills and increase their work prospects.