Alpena Community College

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Machine Tool Technology

Student using Automated MachineProgram Description

ACC offers three manufacturing options:

Machine Tool Technology, Basic CertificateBasic Certificate Program Curriculum
The Basic Machine Tool Technology Certificate trains students in the operation of manual lathes, milling machines, and surface grinders. Students become proficient in applied mathematics and reading blueprints and are introduced to the theory of machine shop practices and the operation of computer numerical control (CNC) equipment.

Machine Tool Technology, Advanced CertificateAdvanced Certificate Program Curriculum
To be accepted into the Advanced Machine Tool Technology Certificate program, you must earn a Basic Machine Tool Technology certificate, a Welding Fabrication certificate (including Technical Math II) or a CAD Tech AAS degree. In this program, you use computer-aided design (CAD) software and learn to set up, program, and operate CNC equipment including lathes, milling machines, wire EDM, and inspection equipment. Students also gain skills in computer-aided manufacturing (CAM) and quality control to prepare for a career in computerized industrial machining operations.

Machine Tool Technology, AAS DegreeAAS Program Curriculum
Student holding machining projectThis associate degree program familiarizes the student with machine tools and manufacturing processes, develops skills in the operation of computer-aided drafting software, and provides hands-on experience setting up, programming, and operating Computer Numerical Control (CNC) machines and advanced inspection equipment. Computer-aided manufacturing (CAM) and statistical process control (SPC) are skills integrated within the curriculum to prepare the student for employment as CNC programmers, machinists, toolmakers, and quality assurance technicians, or move on to complete a four-year degree in Manufacturing Engineering. 

The AAS degree in Machine Tool Technology combines the course work for the two certificate programs described above with additional core classes to complete the requirements of an AAS degree. Students have the option of completing a bachelor’s degree in manufacturing engineering technology through Ferris State University or Lake Superior State University.

Career Options

A certificate in Manufacturing Technology qualifies students for entry-level work in basic machining and manufacturing operations, while an Advanced Certificate in CAD/CAM Technology prepares students for entry-level employment as a CNC machinist performing set up and programming. The greatest employment opportunities are with an AAS degree in Machine Tool Technology, including working as a CNC programmer, machinist, toolmaker, and quality assurance technician.

Experience gained on CAD, CAM, CNC, robots and other high-tech equipment will prove valuable, considering the rate at which machine shops nationwide are turning to these automated systems. Jobs are available both locally and throughout the country in shops varying in size from small specialty shops to large, diversified shops practicing many types of manufacturing.

One of the goals of the Machine Tool Technology program is for students to gain the skills to move up into a higher position out of the shop later in their career. Students graduating from ACC’s program have later been promoted into Design, Supervisory, Quality Assurance, CNC Programming, and Tool Design careers.


The average salary depends on the size, type, and location of your employer, as well as your skill and experience level. Median hourly earnings of machinists were $20.05 in 2016, while median hourly earnings of computer-controlled machine tool operators were $18.21 and median hourly earnings for numerical tool and CNC programmers were $24.32 for this same time period. Job prospects for machinists and tool and die makers are expected to be good, primarily because of the number of job openings arising each year from the need to replace workers who retire or leave the occupation*

* Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2016-17 Edition, on the Internet at (visited April 13, 2018).


Instructor showing student how to use machineBefore starting the Machine Tool Technology program, a student’s academic background, assessment scores or testing results are reviewed to determine the right courses to take. Review classes are also available to prepare students to meet the academic requirements of these programs.

All of the tools and equipment necessary for the program are provided for each student.

Program Facilities

Students experience hands-on learning through the use of coordinate measuring machines (CMM), CNC lathes, CNC mills, and CNC wire EDM machines to manufacture a part from a blueprint, as well as PCs with CAD/CAM systems such as Surfcam, Solid Works, and AutoDesk Inventor to assist in the manufacturing of a part. Conventional machine tools such as lathes, mills, surface grinders, and drill presses are also used.

Contact the Machine Tool Technology Program AdvisorAndrew Paad