When Front Range Community College opened the Center for Integrated Manufacturing (CIM) in Longmont, the aim was to build on the college’s longstanding commitment to respond to the manufacturing industry’s need for more well-trained technicians.
FRCC had already established a successful Precision Machining Technology program in 2013. Now the new CIM facility has allowed the college to enhance the machining program with a more sophisticated space in which students can learn.
Since the CIM opened in August, this blog has examined career options for the programs housed at the new facility:
What Are Machinist Jobs Like?
Today we take a look at careers our most established program: Precision Machining Technology.
Do you enjoy working with your hands? Are you a three-dimensional thinker? Do you like solving problems using critical, outside-the-box thinking? If so, machining might be a great fit for you.
As a machinist, your job would include:
- Programming CNC machine tools and manual machine tools.
- Designing efficient parts and programs using CAD/CAM applications.
- Reading and interpreting technical prints and dimensions.
- Communicating with other professionals such as engineers or programmers.
Here in Colorado, machinists are needed in industries such as aerospace, automotive, medical device and computing. FRCC’s Precision Machining certificates prepare students for entry-level career positions in machining and manufacturing.
Good Pay, Lots of Opportunity
You could start out as a machinist or CNC operator, but there’s plenty of upward trajectory in this area. Whether your career takes you down the path of production supervisor or quality assurance technician or you have your sights set on becoming an engineer one day, the Precision Machining Technology program offers many great options.
Pay wise, the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment’s Occupational Statistics Survey reports entry-level salary of $29,640 for precision machinists, with an average salary of $45,417 and experienced machinists earning an average salary of $53,305.
FRCC offers two progressive certificates in this field of study:
- Manual Machining – This certificate delves into industrial print reading, lathe machinery (which is used to create objects used for precise machining by cutting, sanding, drilling, etc.) and its applications—as well as operating milling machinery. Students learn about bench tools, layout tools, power equipment, precision measurement and hand tools—as well as how to read blueprints.
- Computer Numerical Control (CNC) Machining – Students explore the skills and techniques in CNC lathe and mill programs, which are used commonly by manufacturers to create instructions for computers to control machinery. They also explore Computer-Aided Design/Computer-Aided Machining (CAD/CAM) and principles of metrology, which is the science and study of measurement. Students receive training in CNC lathe and milling operations and will gain exposure to CAD/CAM for 2-axis machining, 3-axis wireframe and surface modeling, lathe programming, and direct numerical control (DNC) systems. (Students must complete Manual Machining before this two-semester certificate.)
Students who complete these two certificates together earn the Precision Machining Technology certificate. This certificate also covers the principles of dimensional metrology, allowing students to use measuring instruments relating to state-of-the-art manufacturing environments.
College Credit or Job Training
FRCC offers two tracks:
- An in-depth certificate program (for full-time students). The full, three-semester certificate program prepares students for specialized machining skills while also earning college credit.
- Our fast-track non-credit job training program (for part-time students). Students can take machinist classes at night (not for credit) to acquire foundational machining knowledge and skills that they will develop on the job.