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Students in Machining Lab

Machine Tool Operation

Main Content

Degree Type
32-credit Technical Diploma

Program Code

Time to Degree
1 year

Start Date
August / January

How You'll Learn

  • On Campus

Machinists, or machine tool operators, produce parts to precise specifications, generally from setup to operation. In this program, acquire skills for the safe operation of engine lathes, vertical milling machines and surface grinders. Learn to operate computer numerical control (CNC) machines, interpret engineering drawings and use applied mathematics.

How To Apply

  • Apply online and pay the $30 application fee.
  • Submit a copy of one of the following to demonstrate your math skills:
    • High school GPA of 2.60 or above. Transcript must include completed coursework through the 11th grade.*
    • ACT, ACCUPLACER® or GED - 2014 Series (165 or higher).*
    • Prior college coursework may meet this requirement in whole or in part. Courses must be in the specific area(s), and you must have earned a grade of C or better (2.0 on a 4.0 scale) in the courses.*
    • If none of the above apply, sign up for the ACCUPLACER® placement test.

*Unofficial copies of these documents can be sent to

Questions on the application process? Visit the Admissions page or contact an enrollment counselor.

Program Details

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Contact Us

Questions? We'd love to help! Connect with our Enrollment team by filling out our online form or by email at

Potential Careers

If you have an aptitude for math, are interested in building things, working with machinery and equipment, and are mechanically inclined, a career as a machine tool operator may be right for you.

  • CNC Operator
  • Tool Room Machinist
  • Machine Tool Operator
High School Eligibility

This program is open to qualified high school applicants. Learn more >

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Career Salaries

$33,500 – $42,900 annually

Salary range estimates based on wages for related occupations in Waukesha County as reported by Economic Modeling Specialists International (EMSI). Individual wages may vary based on experience, industry, location and specific job requirements.

Check the WCTC Graduate Success Report to view our graduates’ entry wages.

Financial Aid

As a program student, you are eligible to receive:

  • Financial aid loans
  • Scholarships
  • Other forms of assistance

Learn more about financial aid.

What Makes This Program Unique

  1. Develop skills in WCTC’s state-of-the-art Terry Lutz Integrated Manufacturing Center.
  2. Take part in a state and national award-winning SkillsUSA team.
  3. Work on cross-functional projects with students from other areas of manufacturing.

Similar Programs

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Student in CNC Lab

CNC Setup Technician

Learn how to interpret prints and make parts to accepted tolerances, and develop skills to program computer numerical control machines.

WCTC Tool and Die Lab

Tool and Die Making

Learn complex and conventional machining, computer numerical control machining and grinding operations.

Related Certificates

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CNC Operator

Learn the basics of machine tool operations, CNC fundamentals, blueprint reading skills and related industrial math.

Program Pathway

Earn certificates, technical diplomas and/or industry credentials along this pathway. Start with some courses for entry-level employment, and continue with additional courses for higher wages and job advancement.

Tool and Die Making Pathway

Earn credit for prior learning for the college-level knowledge and skills that you've already acquired through advanced high school classes, previous college coursework, self-study, military training work or volunteer experience.

More Credit Opportunities