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Educational Programs

CNC Machinist (Machine Tool)


Program description

CNC Machinists work in machine shops, tool rooms or factories to set up and operate machine tools to produce precision metal parts, instruments and tools. The CNC Machinist (Machine Tool) program gives you a solid foundation of machining plus personal attention to allow you to learn at your own pace. Through hands-on experience and opportunities to work on team projects, you will learn everything you need to know in order to work in the metals manufacturing and processes industry.

Program start and location

Classes are located in the Technology Building and the program starts each year in the fall.

Find out if this program is right for you as you earn your general education credits or prerequisites by taking the Machine Trades for Related Careers elective in the spring and if you decide to enter the program you will have advanced standing in the fall semester.

Degree options and requirements

Please select the award below to view the degree options and requirements in the college catalog.

What you will learn

  • During the program, you will practice the art of traditional machining to build a solid foundation of skills in this trade.
  • You will build on your machining skills by learning the latest in computer-integrated machining, computer-aided design and manufacturing and computer programming.
  • You will also be trained in important safety and measurement techniques learn how to interpret detailed blueprints and perform key mathematical calculations.
  • You will receive hands-on experience as you perform the turning, milling, drilling and grinding concepts learned in the classroom.

Points of pride

  • You will receive hands-on instruction and personal attention from certified instructors.
  • The program boasts a 98% placement rate.
  • Our classroom work spaces are designed similarly to the work spaces you will encounter on the job to provide relevant training so you can get to work seamlessly after you graduate.
  • In some cases, work is available in the trade while attending school with tuition reimbursement.
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  • The downtown Minneapolis campus is on a bus line and is close to numerous machine shops where you could seek employment.
  • You will have the opportunity to work with other class members on team projects to develop valuable teamwork and communications skills that reflect the industrial setting.
  • Our faculty work with an industry-based advisory committee to ensure curriculum meets employer needs so you can have the confidence that what you are learning are the skills employers want to see on your resume.
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Where you could work

  • Medical and biotechnology manufacturers
  • Prototype and tool-making manufacturers
  • Parts-production
  • Parts-repair facilities

Potential job titles

  • CNC Programmer
  • CNC Set-up/Operator
  • Machine Operator
  • Manual Machinist
  • Toolmaker
  • Prototype Machinist

Occupational outlook

Job opportunities are expected to be good for machinists. As of September 2014 iseek.org forecasts an above average projected growth for machinists, computer-controlled machine tool operators and CNC machine tool programmers. Nearly all graduates from this program find work in the field. 


This program is part of the School of Trade Technologies.

Additional resources

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