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CAD/CAM Technology (Machining option)

acc_cad_cam_100Program Description

ACC offers three manufacturing options:

Basic Manufacturing Technology Certificate—First Year
The Basic Manufacturing 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 operation of computer numerical control (CNC) equipment.

Advanced CAD/CAM Certificate—Second Year
To be accepted into the Advanced CAD/CAM certificate program, you must earn a Basic Manufacturing 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.

CAD/CAM Associate in Applied Science (AAS) Degree
The AAS degree in CAD/CAM 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 Basic Manufacturing Technology qualifies students for entry-level work in basic machining and manufacturing operations, while a Certificate in Advanced CAD/CAM 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 CAD/CAM Technology, including working as a CNC programmer, machinist, tool maker, 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 speciality shops to large, diversified shops practicing many types of manufacturing.

One of the goals of the CAD/CAM 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 $19.22 in 2014, while median hourly earnings of computer-controlled machine tool operators were $17.54 and median hourly earnings for numerical tool and CNC programmers were $22.84 for this same time period. Job opportunities should be excellent, as the number of workers entering the manufacturing field is expected to be smaller than the number of openings.

* Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2014-15 Edition, on the Internet at http://www.bls.gov/ooh (visited August 19, 2015).


Before starting a manufacturing 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.