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CNC & Machinist Certification: 13 Top CNC Training Programs in Minnesota, Plus Scholarships

01 Trades Hub CNC Machinist Training hero

If you’re looking to become a CNC machinist in Minnesota, you’ve come to the right place. In this post, we give a quick rundown of what a CNC machinist’s career path looks like, followed by machining schools and training programs – plus scholarships! – in Minnesota.

How to Become a CNC Machinist: Education and Career Roadmap

Machining is a growing industry that offers numerous exciting career opportunities. A CNC machinist uses a computer numerical controlled (CNC) machine which has been programmed to perform precise machining techniques such as cutting, drilling, grinding, milling, or lathing to transform raw materials such as metal or plastic into machined parts that meet exact specifications.

CNC Machinist Career Outlook

Machining is a highly in-demand career path in the U.S. Around 70% of the current machinist workforce is older than 45, which means that more jobs are expected to open up as older machinists retire. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts a 10% increase in the number of available machinist opportunities by 2024, amounting to more than 29,000 new machinist jobs.

The average annual salary for a CNC machinist in Minnesota is $47,632, which is 17 percent higher than the national average, which means the Twin Cities is a great place to become a machinist.

Potential Job Titles

  • Machinist: Manual and CNC
  • Toolmaker
  • Moldmaker
  • CNC Operator
  • CNC Setup
  • Quality Inspector
  • Machinist
  • CNC Programmer
  • Tool Maker
  • Machine Operator
  • Manufacturing Technician
  • Prototype Machinist

Where You Could Work

  • Integer: Greatbatch Medical – Lake Region Medical – Electrochem
  • Mendell Engineering
  • MultiSource Manufacturing LLC
  • Mate Precision Tooling
  • Twin City Die Castings Co.
  • MTS Systems Corporation
  • BTD Manufacturing
  • Kurt Manufacturing
  • Graco, Inc.
  • Mold Craft
  • Mo-Tech
  • Wilson Tool
  • Graco
  • VistaTek
  • LOFTECH
  • Omnitool
  • Medical and biotechnology manufacturers
  • Prototype and tool-making manufacturers
  • Parts-production
  • Parts-repair facilities

How To Become a CNC Machinist

To become a CNC machinist, you’ll typically need a high school diploma or equivalent and many shops offer on-the-job training and apprenticeships. That said, many employers will prefer candidates with a formal diploma or Associate’s Degree, and more technically qualified machinists with broader skillsets tend to earn more – which makes formal machining training a good investment in your future.

While the barrier to entry is low, CNC machine work requires technical aptitude, precision, mathematical ability, and attention to detail. CNC machinists capable of interpreting technical blueprints and schematics are in high demand.

While optional, machining certifications such as those offered by the National Institute for Metalworking Skills (NIMs) will stand machinists in good stead when seeking employment.

Keep reading for our roundup of the top CNC machining training programs in Minnesota, as well as scholarship opportunities.

CNC Machinist Training Programs in Minnesota

Below, we’ve rounded up a collection of CNC training programs and scholarships in Minnesota.

1. CNC Manufacturing Technology Degree from Anoka Technical College in Anoka, MN

About the Program

The CNC Design & Manufacturing Technology Degree program from Anoka Technical College in Anoka, Minnesota is designed and taught by industry professionals. The Associate of Applied Science (AAS) degree and the diploma programs are designed to meet our student's career goals. The programs combine technical education with general education to provide graduates with the precise skills necessary for success in manufacturing.

Our students learn how to:

  • Write and edit CNC programs
  • Perform complex setups
  • Basic troubleshooting of machine problems
  • Cycle time reduction practices
  • Fixture design and building
  • Recognize areas for process improvements

They are trained to safely operate:

  • Manual lathes
  • Drills Mills
  • Grinders
  • CNC mills
  • CNC lathes
  • CNC wire
  • EDM

The CNC Design & Manufacturing Technology Associate of Applied Science (AAS) degree is a 69-credit program that includes technical and general education components to provide the skills for trade entry plus the possibility to pursue a Bachelor of Arts (BA) degree with cooperating colleges and universities.

The CNC Design and Manufacturing Technology degree program prepares people to write and edit CNC programs, perform complex setups, basic troubleshooting of machine problems, cycle time reduction practices, fixture design and building, recognize areas of process improvements and operate the following equipment: manual lathes, grills mills, grinders, CNC programming, CNC mills, CNC lathes, coordinate measuring machine, CAD/CAM and 4&5 axis CNC mills.

Graduates are also skilled in the areas of basic troubleshooting of basic troubleshooting of machine problems, cycle time reduction practices, fixture design and building, blueprint reading GD&T, statistical process control, lean manufacturing, math, inspection and the correct sequence of operation required. Graduates may also be skilled in the areas of tool and cutter, CNC wire EDM and CNC sinker EDM and CNC parametric programming depending on elective taken.

Location

1355 W Main St Anoka, Minnesota

Degree Type

Associate’s Degree

Class Time/Lesson Format

Day and Evening

Duration of Program

2 Years

View Program Details

View Scholarships

2. CNC Manufacturing Technology Diploma from Anoka Technical College in Anoka, MN

About the Program

The CNC Design & Manufacturing Technology Diploma program from Anoka Technical College in Anoka, Minnesota is designed and taught by industry professionals. The Associate of Applied Science (AAS) degree and the diploma programs are designed to meet our student's career goals. The programs combine technical education with general education to provide graduates with the precise skills necessary for success in manufacturing.

Our students learn how to:

  • Write and edit CNC programs
  • Perform complex setups
  • Basic troubleshooting of machine problems
  • Cycle time reduction practices
  • Fixture design and building
  • Recognize areas for process improvements

They are trained to safely operate:

  • Manual lathes
  • Drills Mills
  • Grinders
  • CNC mills
  • CNC lathes
  • CNC wire
  • EDM

The Anoka Technical College Advanced CNC Machine Technology diploma is a 64-credit program that includes technical education components. The program prepares students to write and edit CNC programs, perform complex setups, basic troubleshooting of machine problems, cycle time reduction practices, fixture design and building, recognize areas for process improvements and operate the following equipment: manual lathes, drills, mills, grinders, CNC mills, CNC lathes, CNC wire EDM and CNC sinker EDM, coordinate measuring machine, CAD/CAM and 4&5 axis CNC mills.

Program graduates are skilled in the areas of CNC programming, parametric programming, basic troubleshooting of machine problems, cycle time reduction practices, fixture design, and building, blueprint reading, GD&T, statistical process control, lean manufacturing, math, inspection, and the correct sequence of operation required.

Those employed in this position are expected to write and edit CNC programs, perform complex setups, basic troubleshoot of machine problems, cycle time reduction practices, fixture design, and building and recognize areas for process improvements on manual lathes, drills, mills, grinders, CNC mills, CNC lathes, CNC wire EDM and CNC sinker EDM, coordinate measuring machine and CAD/CAM. Employees are also expected to invoke lean manufacturing processes and practices.

The CNC Manufacturing Technology program provides the skills for trade entry plus the possibility to pursue a Bachelor of Arts (BA) degree with cooperating colleges and universities.

Location

1355 W Main St Anoka, Minnesota

Degree Type

Diploma

Class Time/Lesson Format

Day

Duration of Program

1-2 Years

View Program Details

View Scholarships

3. Machine Technology Certificate from Anoka Technical College in Anoka, MN

About the Program

The Machine Technology Certificate 1, 2, and 3 programs from Anoka Technical College in Anoka, Minnesota are designed and taught by industry professionals. These certificates prepare individuals for entry-level to mid-level positions to operate, perform, and basic setup on the following equipment:

  • Manual lathes
  • Drills
  • Mills
  • Grinders
  • CNC Mills
  • CNC lathes
  • CAD/CAM

Program graduates are skilled in the areas of blueprint reading, GD&T, statistical process control, lean manufacturing, math, inspection, and the correct sequence of operation required.

These certificates allow individuals to enter the workforce quickly with strong skills or can apply to the diploma or Associate of Applied Science (AAS) degree programs.

Location

1355 W Main St Anoka, Minnesota

Degree Type

Certificate

Class Time/Lesson Format

Day and Evening

Duration of Program

Less than 1 Year

View Program Details

View Scholarships

4. Machine Tool Technology & Quality Assurance Diploma from Hennepin Technical College in Brooklyn Park, MN

About the Program

If you study a Machine Tool Technology & Quality Assurance Diploma from Hennepin Technical College in Brooklyn Park, Minnesota, you will develop a strong understanding of machining as you gain hands-on experience on the industry's most up-to-date tools and equipment for Computer Numerical Control (CNC) or Tool and Die/Mold Making.

As a skilled machinist who is able to follow specifications, you will be ready to create quality products and make the most of innovative technology. At HTC, you will develop the skills and craftsmanship that lead to precision work, and then you will be on your way to a valuable well-paying career in this exciting field. There is a particular demand in the medical device field.

Location

9000 Brooklyn Boulevard Brooklyn Park, Minnesota

Degree Type

Diploma

Class Time/Lesson Format

Day and Evening

Duration of Program

1-2 Years

View Program Details

View Scholarships

5. Machine Tool Technology & Quality Assurance Degree from Hennepin Technical College in Brooklyn Park, MN

About the Program

With the Machine Tool Technology & Quality Assurance Degree from Hennepin Technical College in Brooklyn Park, Minnesota, you will develop a strong understanding of machining as you gain hands-on experience on the industry's most up-to-date tools and equipment for Computer Numerical Control (CNC) or Tool and Die/Mold Making.

As a skilled machinist who is able to follow specifications, you will be ready to create quality products and make the most of innovative technology. At HTC, you will develop the skills and craftsmanship that lead to precision work, and then you will be on your way to a valuable well-paying career in this exciting field. There is a particular demand in the medical device field.

Location

9000 Brooklyn Boulevard Brooklyn Park, Minnesota

Degree Type

Associate’s Degree

Class Time/Lesson Format

Day and Evening

Duration of Program

2 Years

View Program Details

View Scholarships

6. Machine Tool Technology from Dunwoody College of Technology in Minneapolis, MN

About the Program

Machining is crucial to the field of precision manufacturing, especially in Minnesota. In the Machine Tool Technology program from Dunwoody College of Technology in Minneapolis, Minnesota, you will learn both manual and computer-controlled machining in a state-of-the-industry machine tool facility.

Train in Solidworks and MasterCAM software. Complete hands-on projects on both manual machines and those using advanced manufacturing processes, including CNC (computer numeric controlled) lathing, CNC milling, wire EDM (electrical discharge machining), and sinker EDM. Learn mold and die making and how to plan, layout, and inspect machining jobs. Show your creative thinking by using your machining skills to create a Rube Goldberg machine or a mold for use on Dunwoody’s plastic injection machine.

Course work is closely aligned with standards set forth by the National Institute of Metalworking Skills (NIMS), which means employers have confidence that you’ll be ready to work on day one.

Due to high demand, most machine tooling students can find full-time employment in the field long before graduation. In fact, many will be working in a shop within just the first year of the program.

This degree directly transfers into Dunwoody’s Bachelor of Science in Industrial Engineering Technology.

Location

818 Dunwoody Boulevard Minneapolis, Minnesota

Degree Type

Associate’s Degree

Class Time/Lesson Format

Day

Duration of Program

2 Years

View Program Details

View Scholarships

7. Right Skills Now for Manufacturing from Dunwoody College of Technology in Minneapolis, MN

About the Program

The Right Skills Now for Manufacturing certificate is a partnership between the President’s Jobs Council, the manufacturing industry, and Dunwoody College of Technology in Minneapolis, Minnesota to address the current shortage of CNC operators in Minnesota.

Learn the basic principles of metal-cutting and milling technology while completing hands-on projects on both manual and CNC (computer numeric controlled) machines.

After 18-weeks of classroom training, you will complete a six-week paid internship. And upon graduation, you’ll enter the industry as an entry-level manual or CNC machine tool operator.

Right Skills Now for Manufacturing (CNC) curriculum is closely aligned with standards set forth by the National Institute of Metalworking Skills (NIMS). This ensures that employers have confidence in your machining skills.

Credits earned in the Right Skills Now certificate directly transfer into Dunwoody’s Machine Tool Technology, Engineering Drafting & Design, or Welding & Metal Fabrication associate’s degree programs.

Location

818 Dunwoody Boulevard Minneapolis, Minnesota

Degree Type

Certificate

Class Time/Lesson Format

Evening

Duration of Program

Less than 1 Year

View Program Details

View Scholarships

8. CNC Machinist Program from Minneapolis Community & Technical College in Minneapolis, MN

About the Program

CNC Machinists work in machine shops, tool rooms or factories to set up and operate machine tools to produce precision metal parts, instruments, and tools. The CNC Machinist (Machine Tool) program from Minneapolis Community & Technical College in Minneapolis, Minnesota gives you a solid foundation of machining plus personal attention to allow you to learn at your own pace. Through hands-on experience and opportunities to work on team projects, you will learn everything you need to know in order to work in the metals manufacturing and processes industry.

  • There are two opportunities to start our CNC Machinist Program each year: Fall Semester (August) and Spring Semester (January)
  • You will receive hands-on instruction and personal attention from certified instructors.
  • The program boasts a 98% placement rate.
  • Our classroom workspaces are designed similarly to the workspaces you will encounter on the job to provide relevant training so you can get to work seamlessly after you graduate.

Location

1501 Hennepin Avenue Minneapolis, Minnesota

Degree Type

Associate’s Degree

Class Time/Lesson Format

Day

Duration of Program

2 Years

Occupation Outlook/Work Environment

Job opportunities are expected to be good for machinists. As of September 2014, CareerWISE (formerly iseek.org) forecasts an above-average projected growth for machinists, computer-controlled machine tool operators, and CNC machine tool programmers. Nearly all graduates from this program find work in the field.

View Program Details

View Scholarships

9. Machine Tool Technology & Quality Assurance Diploma from Hennepin Technical College in Minneapolis, MN

About the Program

With the Machine Tool Technology & Quality Assurance Diploma from Hennepin Technical College in Eden Prairie, Minnesota, you will develop a strong understanding of machining as you gain hands-on experience in the industry's most up-to-date tools and equipment for Computer Numerical Control (CNC) or Tool and Die/Mold Making.

As a skilled machinist who will able to follow specifications, you will be ready to create quality products and make the most of innovative technology. At HTC, you will develop the skills and craftsmanship that lead to precision work, and then you will be on your way to a valuable well-paying career in this exciting field. There is a particular demand in the medical device field.

Location

13100 Collegeview Rd Eden Prairie, Minnesota

Degree Type

Diploma

Class Time/Lesson Format

Day and Evening

Duration of Program

1-2 Years

View Program Details

View Scholarships

10. CNC Tool Making from St. Paul College in Saint Paul, MN

About the Program

Manufacturing is making a comeback across the nation, and so is the demand for skilled CNC toolmakers and machinists. CNC toolmaking is an advanced way of shaping metal with precision and a high-quality attitude. If you enjoy working with metals and other hard materials like plastic to produce precision parts and tools, you should consider our CNC Toolmaking program.

The CNC Toolmaking Diploma program at Saint Paul College in Saint Paul, Minnesota trains students in a hands-on manner that combines manual skills with advanced machining abilities. From day one on, you'll learn to use basic tools such as drills, mills, and grinders. As you move on with your training, you will operate CNC mills, CNC lathes, and CNC Wire Feeds in our state-of-the-art machine shop. Companies use these tools and machines to manufacture parts and components for a variety of industries.

Our instructors also support you to become a well-rounded machinist who understands how to read a blueprint, how to write machining code, and how to design complex parts. Our students frequently work together in teams where they collaborate in the design and programming process to make sure that parts turn out how they should.

After a year and a half (3 semesters), graduates of the CNC Toolmaking Diploma program are ready for a promising career in the manufacturing industry as machinists, CNC programmers, and toolmakers.

Program Delivery Methods

Traditional in-class and hands-on training in state-of-the-art labs on Saint Paul College campus, St. Paul, MN

Program Highlights

Our CNC Toolmaking program provides you with an advanced skill set that you can build on.

You will be able to:

  • Design and interpret blueprints
  • Understand how to plan a project effectively
  • Apply your CNC programming skills to create program code to operate CNC machines
  • Set up a CNC machine and load the program into the machine's control
  • Prepare tooling/work offsets
  • Inspect the quality of the parts you've manufactured

Location

235 Marshall Avenue Saint Paul, Minnesota

Degree Type

Diploma

Class Time/Lesson Format

Day and Evening

Duration of Program

2 Years

Program Cost

$12,897

View Program Details

View Scholarships

11. Right Skills Now for Manufacturing from St. Paul College in Saint Paul, MN

About the Program

The Right Skills Now for Manufacturing from St. Paul College in Saint Paul, Minnesota is designed to provide fast track, high skilled manufacturing training in the following areas: Job planning, benchwork, materials, manual milling, manual turning, CNC milling, and CNC turning. This program was designed to address the current shortage of CNC operators. Graduates from this program are prepared to enter the industry as an entry-level manual and CNC machine tool operators.​

Right Skills Now is a pathway of the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM)–Endorsed Manufacturing Skills Certification System, which includes nationally portable, industry-recognized certifications that are combined with for-credit education programs. These education pathways are directly aligned to career pathways in manufacturing, so students progressing through the programs earn college credit towards a degree, have an opportunity to earn a national certification with labor market value, and the hands-on technical experience to be successful on the job.​

Program Delivery Methods

Traditional in-class and hands-on training in state-of-the-art lab on Saint Paul College campus, St. Paul, MN

Program Highlights

How to operate computer-controlled machine tools, lathes, drills and milling machines

  • Workplace safety
  • Blueprint reading
  • General manufacturing processes
  • Basic production manual machining skills
  • Introduction to operations​

Location

235 Marshall Avenue Saint Paul, Minnesota

Degree Type

Certificate

Class Time/Lesson Format

Day and Evening

Duration of Program

1-2 Years

Program Cost

$4,674

View Program Details

View Scholarships

12. CNC and Advanced Manufacturing Degree from St. Cloud Technical & Community College in St. Cloud, MN

About the Program

A CNC and Advanced Manufacturing Degree from St. Cloud Technical & Community College in St. Cloud, Minnesota prepares students to shape metal and other hard materials with exactness. Students will gain skills to read blueprints and written instructions to convert various materials into intricate, precise, usable parts.

By using machine tools such as lathes, mills, grinders, drill-presses, computers, and computerized numerical control (CNC) machines, graduates will be ready for the expanding workforce as a machine operator, machinist, or tool and die or mold-maker apprentice.

Skills Acquired

  • Demonstrates problem-solving ability
  • Attends tool shows and metalworking exhibitions when possible
  • Reads trade journals and magazines for professional growth
  • Read blueprints and written instructions
  • Select proper machinery, materials, and tools
  • Gain proficiency with machine tools such as lathes, mills, grinders, drill-presses, computers, and computerized numerical control (CNC) machines
  • Setup and milling operations on Bridgeports
  • Setup and turning operations on lathes
  • G & M code programming for CNC machines
  • CAM designing and programming software
  • CNC setup and operation
  • Multi-axis CNC machining and turning center programming/setup and operation

Location

1540 Northway Drive St. Cloud, Minnesota

Degree Type

Associate’s Degree

Class Time/Lesson Format

Day

Duration of Program

1-2 Years

View Program Details

View Scholarships

13. CNC and Advanced Manufacturing Diploma from St. Cloud Technical & Community College, MN

About the Program

A CNC and Advanced Manufacturing Diploma from St. Cloud Technical & Community in St. Cloud, Minnesota prepares students to shape metal and other hard materials with exactness. Students will gain skills to read blueprints and written instructions to convert various materials into intricate, precise, usable parts.

By using machine tools such as lathes, mills, grinders, drill-presses, computers, and computerized numerical control (CNC) machines, graduates will be ready for the expanding workforce as a machine operator, machinist, or tool and die or mold-maker apprentice.

Skills Acquired

  • Demonstrates problem-solving ability
  • Attends tool shows and metalworking exhibitions when possible
  • Reads trade journals and magazines for professional growth
  • Read blueprints and written instructions
  • Select proper machinery, materials, and tools
  • Gain proficiency with machine tools such as lathes, mills, grinders, drill-presses, computers, and computerized numerical control (CNC) machines
  • Setup and milling operations on Bridgeports
  • Setup and turning operations on Lathes
  • G & M code programming for CNC machines
  • CAM designing and programming software
  • CNC setup and operation
  • Multi-axis CNC Machining and Turning center programming/setup and operation

Location

1540 Northway Drive St. Cloud, Minnesota

Degree Type

Diploma

Class Time/Lesson Format

Day

Duration of Program

1-2 Years

View Program Details

View Scholarships

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