What is Machine Tool Technology?

Machine Tool Technology allows a machinist to take raw materials, like metal or plastic, and to produce a specialized finished product by manipulating a set of machines, or by programming a computer to follow a set of specifications.

Machinists have an understanding of blueprint reading and schematics, a knowledge of measurement techniques, and the skills required to operate  various types of machinery that will take a part from raw material to a finished product. 

These machines can include manually operated machines like lathes, drill presses, milling machines, or grinders, and can progress into what’s called CNC technology, which means "computer numerically controlled".

CNC programmers can write the programs that are used by advanced machines to design a part. When the program is entered into a computer, the computer will tell the machine how to make the part. This is new, up-to-date technology used by virtually every advanced manufacturing company in the world today.

Machine Tool students come from every background you can imagine—from right out of high school, to people looking for a new career, to people coming back to school to upgrade their skills for a wage increase.

In Demand Skills

In Piedmont Technical College's Machine Tool Technology program, you’ll get a full introduction to the field and practical experience in machining operations used in practically every manufacturing industry.

With practical experience in bench work, floor work, assembly layout, selected milling machine operations, lathe, shaper, drill press, computer numerical control programming and machining, machine tool maintenance and inspection, you’ll be prepared to handle a wide range of responsibilities in the metalworking industry.

The skills taught in the machine tool program are in constant demand in our region, and all over the country. Graduates will find that their employment prospects are excellent.

Piedmont Technical College and Eaton Hydraulics collaborate to provide the machine tool technology training the company needs to ensure a well-qualified work force.

  *Earnings data for our region from EMSI Analyst

*Earnings data for our region from EMSI Analyst

Earnings and Education

Although it’s possible to learn these skills on the job, many manufacturers need their employees to come into the job ready to work, so a baseline level of training is necessary for most entry level work. For those wishing to make a career change, a lot of companies offer internal training or apprenticeships, and many of them may provide funds for employees to attend classes to upgrade their skills.

Someone graduating from Piedmont Technical College’s machine tool associate degree program can expect to make from $15-$20 dollars an hour starting out with no previous experience, and some earn up to $30 an hour or more.

Normally workers start out as machine operators, then work their way up to machine set up, and can then become programmers. Experienced CNC programmers can be very well compensated, and are in high demand throughout the country.