Machinist Certification


Machinists work to produce precise metal parts for a variety of industries. In the past many machinists learned job skills through on-the-job training. However, with the advance of technology, modern machinists require specialized skills to use the complex, often computer-controlled, machines that produce machined parts. Machinist certification programs provide students with the opportunity to learn the job skills required by employers.

Machinist Certificate Programs

Vocational and technical schools as well as community colleges offer machinist certificate programs. In these programs, a student will learn the basic skills required to work as a machinist. For example, students will learn to operate and maintain basic machining tools, read blueprints and harden metal parts. Programs of study will also include technical math courses that students will use to make calculations when working as a machinist. These certificate programs generally require a year of study for a student to complete the required courses.

CNC Certificate Programs

Computer numerical controlled machining is a process where machinists operate a computer controlled machining device. Though many machinist certificate programs include courses on CNC machining, students may also choose to complete a certificate programs that focuses on CNC machining. As CNC machining produces more precise parts in a higher volume than older machining processes, many machine shops and other manufacturers are moving toward using CNC machining exclusively. This makes graduates with these certificates even more attractive to employers.

Degree Programs

In addition to certificate programs, many community colleges also offer students the opportunity to obtain a two year associate’s degree in machine technology or a related field. Associate degree programs for machinists require additional coursework from students which teaches the student to use a wider variety of machining tools and more advanced skills. Students with a machinist certificate can often use credits from these programs toward a degree. A student who may want to pursue an associate’s degree in the future should study for the certificate at a school offering a degree program and make certain that the certificate courses will count toward a degree.


Machinist certification programs have a number of advantages for those who want to become a machinist. Though it is still possible to find entry level machining employment without a certification, employers are much more likely to hire applicants with a certification over those who do not. As most schools provide up-to-date training on modern machining tools and processes, employers may also hire recent graduates from a certificate program over experienced workers. Most certificate programs also provide assistance to students in locating employment after graduation.

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