Today's advanced manufacturing businesses are looking for employees that have experience with tools, machines, and mechanicals.

As a student in the CNC Machine Operator/Programmer program, you'll learn to operate a variety of machine tools, setup, operate, and program CNC machines, read and analyze engineering drawings, and use precision measuring and inspection instruments.

Graduates of the CNC Machine Operator/Programmer program are employed as:

  • Machinists
  • CNC machinists
  • Quality control inspector
  • CNC Operator
  • CNC programmers
  • Field service representatives
  • Overview
  • Is This Program for You?

    Students entering the CNC Machine Operator/Programmer program should:

    • Have good reading and math skills.
    • Have good hand-eye coordination.
    • Pay attention to details and neatness.
    • Have a mechanical aptitude.
    • Enjoy researching technical information.
    • Have good communication skills.
    • Enjoy problem solving.
    • Think creatively.

    Program Basics

    • Technical diploma
    • Classes are offered daytime, face to face, and on campus
    • Fall start
    • Credit for prior learning may be available
  • Curriculum & Costs
  • Requirements
  • Admission and Program Requirements

    • Submit Application and $30 Application Fee
    • To make sure your classes are the right fit, we consider any previous college credit you've earned, Accuplacer or ACT scores, high school GPA, or an assessment at your registration session. Submit High School Transcripts, College Transcripts, and Test Scores to: Southwest Tech, Attn: Admissions, 1800 Bronson Blvd, Fennimore, WI 53809

    Helpful Academic Background

    • Math and science
    • Written and oral communications

    Program Fees

    • This program is eligible for Financial Aid.
    • Estimated cost for each semester can be found under the Curriculum tab. Please note that costs are approximate and are based on the current academic year.
    • Please discuss additional fee questions with the program advisor or instructor.

    Additional requirements

    Students must have eye protection (safety glasses with side shields or wrap around safety glasses over prescription glasses) and must meet OSHA Z87.1 or greater while they are conducting operations that are deemed hazardous in nature. These glasses can be purchased at the College Bookstore.

  • Outcomes
  • Program Outcomes

    At the completion of the program, students are expected to be able to:

    • Apply basic safety practices in the machine shop
    • Interpret industrial/engineering drawings
    • Apply precision measuring methods to part inspection
    • Perform programming, set-up and operation of CNC machine tools
    • Perform basic manual machine tool equipment set-up and operation

    Some employers will require CPR and/or First Aid.

  • Career Opportunities
  • Southwest Tech's Career Connections Center offers Services to assist students looking for job placement.

  • Transfers
  • Prior Learning
  • Credit for Prior Learning

    Experience Pays! You've Been There... You've Done That... Let's See If You Can Get Credit For It!

    Credit for prior learning gives you opportunities to earn credit for college-level knowledge that you have already acquired. This may be the result of work or volunteer experiences, certifications, apprenticeships, military training, extensive self-instruction, or professional development. Credit for Prior Learning affords you the opportunity to accelerate the completion of your educational goals.

    For more information or to request Credit for Prior Learning see our Credit for Prior Learning page.

    CNC Machine Operator/Programmer Courses that may have Credit for Prior Learning options:

    Course # Course Title Challenge Exam
    (Demonstration)
    Challenge Exam
    (Standard)
    CLEP Credential Portfolio
    10-105-110Computer ApplicationsYes
    31-420-320Intro to Print ReadingYes
    31-420-322Intro to Manual MillYes
    31-420-323Intro to Manual LatheYes
    31-420-327Intro to Surface GrindingYes
    31-420-328Intro to Mastercam Mill 2DYes
    31-420-329Advanced Manual MillYes
    31-420-330Advanced Manual Lathe MachineYes
    31-420-333Intro to Mastercam LatheYes
    31-420-336Basic CNC Operation MillYes
    31-420-337Basic CNC Operation LatheYes
    31-804-305Applied MathematicsYes
    College Mathematics CLEP Test would also be accepted.