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Machine Tool Technology

NIMS Accreditation

The Machine Tool program covers all aspects of machining from shop safety, blueprint reading and basic hand tools (micrometers, calipers, etc.) to the operation of precision Computer Numeric Controls (CNC) machines. While training, students have the opportunity to develop their skills on lathes, vertical milling machines, and surface grinders.

Computer Numeric Control (CNC) machining skills, covered in the last semester, includes programming and set-up of both CNC machining centers and turning centers. To be successful machine tool students must possess good math skills and the ability to follow detailed instructions. Full-time day classes are offered on the main campus.

Employment Stats

  • Program Length 1 year (Diploma)
  • Job Placement 87%
  • Average Earnings $34,590 / yr
  • Cost $5,649

About Program

The Machine Tool program is designed to teach students how to read a blue print and identify the materials needed to make a part from the blue print.  Shop safety, operation of a saw, drill press, grinder, manual lathe and a manual milling machine are some of the skills students will learn.

After learning how to operate the manual machines, the students will learn how to set-up and run a Computer Numeric Controlled (CNC) lathe, machining centers, and grinders.  Today, the CNC machines are widely used in the machining industry. Students will receive training on a Computer Aided Design (CAD) system.

Job Expectations

Machinist work in a climate-controlled environment found in machine shops, tool rooms and on factory floors.  A number of individuals are employed as maintenance mechanics by various organizations.  Although the work of machinists and tool and die makers generally is not dangerous, working around machine tools presents certain hazards, and workers must follow precautions. For example, workers must wear protective equipment, such as safety glasses to shield against bits of flying metal and earplugs to dampen the noise produced by machinery.  Most machinists and tool and die makers work full time during regular business hours. However, overtime is common. Because many manufacturers run the machinery for long hours, evening and weekend work is also common.

Expected Earnings

A machinist with little to no experience will make $15-$16 per hour.  After three years, the hourly wage increases to $18-$21 and, when one reaches the journeyman’s level, the rate may be $24 or higher.

Course Schedule

Students may enroll during the fall, spring or summer term provided space is available. Students who are eligible to enroll will be given an opportunity to register for one of the open seats during the enrollment period for each term.

  • Full-time classes
  • Day
  • Enrollment is limited to 18 students in each class
Full-Time Program Schedule for (semester) (Hours)
Semester Day Class Days
Fall (450 hours) 7:45am – 2:30pm Monday - Friday
Spring (450 hours) 7:45am – 2:30pm Monday - Friday
Summer (390 hours) 7:45am – 2:45pm Monday - Friday


Tools List
Quantity Description
1 Tool box
1 inch micrometer
1 6 inch steel rule (scale)
1 10 inch adjustable wrench
1 Center punch (automatic)
1 Set of Allen wrenches (metric and standard)
1 Ball peen hammer (8 or 10 oz.)
1 6 inch dial caliper Mighty mag with indicator 1 inch travel
1 Scribe
1 Flat single cut file w/handle
1 Flat double cut file w/handle
1 Round file w/handle
1 Needle nose pliers
1 Scientific calculator (required)
1 16 ft. tape
1 60 degree thread center gage (fish tail)
1 Machinist comb. Square 12 inch (4 pcs. Set)
1 Thread Gage (V- Sharp)
1 5/8 end mill (Double ended), ½ end mill (Double ended)
1 Dividers
1 File brush or File card


3 semesters – 1,290 clock hours - *Tuition will increase every fall semester
*Fall 450 hours $1,383
Spring 450 hours $1,383
Summer 390 hours $1,383
Tools (estimate) $1,250.00
Books (estimate) $250.00

TCAT Special Fees

Charged in Addition to Maintenance and Tuition

  • Credit by Examination Fee - The regular course fee is charged for each special examination and must be paid prior to taking the examination. Non-refundable. (See Academic Regulations.)
  • Credit for Life Experience Fees - Assessment Fee for Experiential Learning $45.00.  Experiential Learning Credit $15.00 per credit hour in excess of 3.0 credit hours. $90.00 maximum.
  • High School Equivalency Test (Hi-SET) - $75
  • Placement Test Fees - ACT - $45.00. (Refer to Admissions Policy.)


The cost for books for this program is approximately $250 and may be purchased at the Chattanooga States bookstore.

  • Precision Machining - ISBN- 1-337-79530-5
  • Ready Reference Book
  • Machinist Math Book
  • Machine Blueprint Reading


1st semester:

  • Orientation, Safety & Shop practices
  • Math & Blueprint reading
  • Hand Tools and proper storing
  • Job planning
  • Laying parts out
  • Vert. & Hort. Saws
  • Drill presses
  • Grinders
  • Grinding Lathe tools
  • Set-up on a Manual Lathe

2nd semester:

  • Safety
  • Math & Blueprint reading
  • Sharpen drill bits
  • Manual Milling Machine
  • Surface grinding
  • Automatic Surface grinding

3rd semester:

  • Safety
  • Finish Math & Blueprint reading
  • Feature CAD/CAM
  • Set-up CNC equipment    (HAAS lathe, HAAS milling machine, Mazak milling machine)
  • Programming CNC equipment
  • Running CNC equipment

Career Opportunities

Manual Machining
Set-up Person
CNC Machining
Operator of CNC Machines
Tool & Die Maker