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Machining Schools with CNC Training Near You, Plus Vital Info on This Precision Trade

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Are you interested in becoming a trusted and knowledgeable professional in advanced manufacturing? Schools offering CNC training near you can provide that opportunity. By learning how to work with computer numerical control machine technologies as a machinist, you could gain the expertise to create complex parts and instruments with precision. These parts could be for anything from cars and airplanes to industrial machinery and medical equipment, so it's vital that machinists take pride in the accuracy of their work.


This high-tech trade offers a real sense of accomplishment in a job that's well-executed. Machinists do hands-on work with raw materials, use complex computer programs, and operate CNC machines with the expertise required to turn blueprints into reality.


Education & Training Details and FAQs

CNC machine training schools near you may offer short, skills-focused programs that can lead to a career in this satisfying trade that doesn't require any licensing.

How long is CNC training?

It commonly takes 9 to 24 months to complete a program at a CNC machining school.*

Most Common Length of School*
(range in months)

  • Electronic technology
    9-24
  • CNC machining
    9-24
  • Industrial maintenance
    12-24
  • Engineering technology
    24

What education do I need to become a machinist?

Certificate programs typically take up to a year to complete.* Some are designed for beginners while others are aimed at people who already have some training or experience in machining. In many cases, credits from certificate programs can be applied toward an associate degree.

Diploma and associate degree programs can take up to two years.* They tend to be very similar, but an associate degree program usually includes a few additional general education courses.

Apprenticeship programs are also available. Going this route involves receiving in-class technical instruction as well as paid, supervised training on the job. Apprenticeships are often sponsored by unions, industry associations, or manufacturers. You can look for relevant opportunities through the U.S. Department of Labor.



Typical CNC courses

CNC classes near you will typically cover topics such as:

  • Blueprint reading
  • Precision measurement
  • Machine setup, operation, and maintenance
  • Geometric dimensioning and tolerancing (GD&T)
  • Computer-aided design and manufacturing (CAD/CAM) applications
  • Multi-axis milling and turning
  • Programming
  • Shop safety

Will I be tied to a fixed class schedule?

Not necessarily. Some CNC machinist schools offer courses in a hybrid online and in-person training format. And many offer flexible scheduling options that allow students to choose day or evening classes. It's worth researching CNC training near you to see what's available.

Skills you can learn

 Depending on the program you choose, learning how to become a machinist could include:

  • Interpreting blueprints and technical drawings
  • Calculating acceptable tolerances
  • Understanding multi-axis machining concepts
  • Setting up and operating CNC mills, lathes, and other tools
  • Writing and editing programs
  • Using measuring instruments such as calipers and micrometers
  • Inspecting completed pieces for quality control purposes
  • Troubleshooting mechanical problems

Do I need to learn math for CNC machining?

You will need to know basic arithmetic and how to convert between fractions and decimals. It's also good to have a solid understanding of algebra, geometry, and trigonometry. And being able to convert between imperial and metric measurements (e.g., inches to millimeters and vice versa) can be very helpful.

Do machinists require licensing & certification?

You do not need to be licensed or certified to work as a CNC machinist. However, voluntary certification from the National Institute for Metalworking Skills (NIMS) can help demonstrate your competence to potential employers. Many CNC school programs are designed to prepare students for the NIMS assessments.

Some machine manufacturers and software companies also offer certifications related to their products. Here are two examples:



Career Information

If you're thinking about joining this field, it's essential to consider what makes a good CNC machinist and if the type of work would be a good match with your strengths and weaknesses.

People who are successful in this field tend to:

  • Be detail-oriented and precise
  • Enjoy making things and solving problems
  • Be both mechanically and technically inclined
  • Possess good math skills
  • Be able to adapt when things don't go according to plan
  • Work effectively as part of a team

Career Snapshot

Career Outlook
8% increase from 2020 to 2030

Career Outlook infographic

Median Salary
CNC Machinists

Median Salary infographic

Job Openings
2020-30 Job Openings

Job Openings infographic

Length of Training
Most Common Length

Training Length infographic

Work Settings

Work setting infographic
  • U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
  • U.S. Department of Education

How much is a typical machinist salary?

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports the median annual wage for machinists is $45,840. The highest ten percent of earners make $69,050 per year, and the lowest ten percent earn $29,240.

It's also worth noting that if you are working as an apprentice, pay will increase with experience and skill level. So, you may start at entry-level wages, but as you acquire more expertise and experience, your income should increase.

Are machining jobs in demand?

The BLS Occupational Outlook Handbook projects eight percent job growth for machinists from 2020-30. This growth rate is on par with the average growth for all jobs in the U.S. for the same period.

What are some of the benefits of being a machinist?

  1. The satisfaction of turning drawings into precisely crafted parts: You get to use high-tech equipment to transform a block of raw material into a functional component for important industries like the aerospace, medical, energy, or defense sectors.
  2. The chance to solve problems creatively: The challenges involved in troubleshooting mechanical issues or figuring out the most efficient and effective method of creating a part means the work stays engaging.
  3. Advancement opportunities: After gaining some experience as a machine or setup operator, you could go after roles in CNC programming, shop supervising, or quality control.

What does a machinist do?

What is a machinist, and what exactly do they do? CNC machinists use computer-controlled machine tools to manufacture parts to exacting standards of precision and accuracy—in some cases, within a thousandth of an inch. They most commonly work with metal, but they can also shape parts from plastic, wood, and other materials.

 While job activities and responsibilities vary somewhat depending on the specific role, typical duties include:

Planning

  • Studying engineering blueprints, drawings, and specifications to plan machining processes
  • Interpreting geometric dimensions and tolerances (GD&T)
  • Calculating feed rates and machine speeds

Preparation

  • Writing and inputting computer commands to control a CNC lathe, mill, or other tools
  • Setting tool offsets, registers, and conditional switches
  • Preparing and loading material into machines

Machine operation

  • Overseeing CNC turning, facing, drilling, and cutting processes
  • Following all safety protocols

Quality control

  • Verifying that sample pieces meet expected standards
  • Making necessary adjustments to ensure quality production

Maintenance

  • Sharpening tools, replacing worn-out components, and performing other preventive care to keep machines working efficiently

What careers exist in the CNC machining field?

The roles in CNC machining often overlap, especially in smaller companies. For instance, it's common for job postings to call for CNC machinists/programmers to create the programs and set up the machines. So, a job title of "machinist" could mean handling a combination of the following roles to oversee the process from start to finish, or it could mean handling a more specific component of CNC.

Operator: Load raw materials into machines, calibrate equipment, adjust machine operating speeds during a run, and start and stop machines.

Setup operator or machinist: Enter the program into the machine, test and adjust the cutting tools, edit the program as necessary, and fix mechanical issues as they come up. This role is the most likely to oversee a project from planning to completion.

Programmer: Study blueprints, select the appropriate tool, and develop the code that tells the tool precisely how to create the part. CNC programmers typically spend most of their time in an office rather than on the shop floor.

And where do these CNC professionals work? Settings commonly include:

  • Machine shops
  • Manufacturing facilities
  • Industrial plants


* Length of training information is based on a combination of information from the Occupational Outlook Handbook, the U.S. Department of Education, and a wide sampling of relevant programs from about 30 individual school websites. They are a mix of public, private non-profit, and private for-profit institutions.