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What is Machine Shop Technology?
Machine Shop Technology is a field of study focused on manufacturing with an emphasis on machining and technical skills. A Machine Shop Technology professional will understand the academic and pragmatic concepts required to plan, fabricate, assemble, and manufacture products along with the ability to repair parts, machines, structures, and mechanisms. A machinist will utilize Machine Shop Technology to cast, mold, stamp, form, heat treat, cut, press, twist, swage, stamp, and fuse materials from raw material into a finished product or assembly.
The equipment and machines used in a machine shop will vary from location to location given the area of specialty, customer base, and equipment in the shop. Depending on the industry and scope of job responsibilities, a Machine Shop Technology specialist may overlap with specialties that include: production manager, machinist, safety engineer, systems engineer, operation designer, manufacturing engineer, production engineer, ergonomics, management engineer, millwright, and lean manufacturing specialist.
Top Machine Shop Technology Degrees
Earning a degree in machine shop technology can be achieved through two primary programs: certificate and associate degree. Both have unique merit to help launch your career in a machining company or continue on with your education to earn a bachelor’s degree in manufacturing, operations management, or associated degree path. Below you will find a summary of programs to help you find the perfect program for you.
Machine Shop Technology Certificates
Certificates in machine shop technology have been designed to help students learn the essentials in a compressed time frame. Unlike an associate’s degree or bachelor’s degree track, a certificate program only requires students to take core classes in the field of specialization. You can expect a certificate program to last from six months to two-years depending on the design of the program and the pace at which you complete the required classes. Certificates can be used to enter the field or to add to your resume in preparation of a career opportunity.
Machine Shop Technology Associates Degrees
Associate degrees in machine shop technology are technical degrees that include key general education courses. AA degrees are designed to be completed in twenty-four months based on full-time work. An associate degree in machine shop tech will be conferred as either an Associate of Science (AS) or Associate of Arts (AA). You can expect to take a set of general education courses in addition to core curricula as part of this degree path. General education classes may include communications, economics, psychology, English composition, and sociology.
Core classes will help students understand the basics of a machine shop plus emerging technologies and high tech manufacturing. Examples may include methodologies in areas such as: rapid prototyping, CNC machining, renewable energy, aviation, medical equipment, aerospace, and various fabrication industries. By blending academic learning with hands-on experience, students will be better equipped to master the use of tools and various techniques around the shop.
Employment & Machining Specializations
Machine shop degrees are typically offered by career colleges, technical colleges, and vocational schools. Highly specialized skills can include CNC machining, CAD, drafting, and fabrication essentials. Graduates seeking employment in related manufacturing fields may consider alternate jobs such as: safety engineer, systems engineer, lean manufacturing, operations design, management science, manufacturing engineer, production manager, and work cell manufacturing.
Job Growth & Machinists Career Outlook
Employment growth in machine shop tech appear to be well above the national average. In fact, the prospects for an industrial machinery mechanic is expected to increase 16% with machinists and boilermakers poised to grow by 6% and 9% respectively. Thousands of new jobs in this arena will create entry-level positions and management opportunities for qualified personnel.
Resources for Machinist
Students may benefit from joining associations such as the NATM or the PMPA after earning a degree in machine shop tech from an accredited college. Such associations provide a common bond with those in the industry. In addition, associations provide industry news and insights not typically found from other media outlets.