A student working with a machine in the lab

Machine Tool Operation

Technical Diploma

31 Credits | 1 Year

Financial Aid-Eligible


Career Cluster: Manufacturing 

Machining is the foundation of manufacturing.  If you have never heard of it, machining is an essential part of your life. Any product you own or touch has either been machined or has been made from a die or mold that has been machined. Machining is mostly computer controlled and is the modern replacement to manual machining. These machines cut materials, everything from metal to plastic, to make parts, molds, for the manufacturing industry. People who become machinists are well paid and in high demand. 

Program Overview

Machine Tool Operation is a nine-month technical diploma program designed to provide in-depth study and hands-on skills in the machine processing of a variety of metals.  

You will become proficient in the set up and operation of manual mills, lathes, grinders, drills and saws as you complete increasingly complex projects while holding tight tolerances. Various pieces of precision measuring equipment are used to check quality. Additional work in blueprint reading, heat-treating and computer numerical controlled (CNC) machining is required to complete the Machine Tool Operation program.

Program Outcomes

Machine Tool Operation graduates will be able to:

  • Apply basic safety practices in the machine shop
  • Interpret industrial/engineering drawings
  • Apply precision measuring methods to part inspection
  • Perform basic machine tool equipment set up and operation
  • Perform programming, set up, and operation of CNC machine tools
Overhead view of machine tool lab

Students who complete the Machine Tool Operation program are in high demand. At WITC, students often have jobs prior to graduation.  Anywhere you go there is a machining career waiting for you. WITC graduates start out on the job making approximately $18.00 an hour. After training and time on the job that wage increases quickly.  

A student working with a cnc machine in the lab

High demand.

Chess pieces that a student in the program created

High pay.

A student drafting their design on a computer

Highly skilled. 


Machine Tool Operation is offered on the Ashland campus, but similar programs are offered at all four of the WITC locations 

Experienced Instructors

As a Machine Tool Operation student at WITC, you will have access to instructors with years of machining experience in a variety of industries. 

Career Pathways

The Machine Tool Operation program is a pathway option into the Machine Tool Technician technical diploma offered in Superior.  

Current Technology

Being able to program CNC equipment as well as learning programs such as SolidWorks and Master Cam will make you an attractive employment candidate for area employers. 


Program specific subjects covered include, Machine Tool Operation 1-4, Machine Tool Theory 1 & 2, Introduction to CAD/CAM, CNC Fundamentals, Print Reading for the Machine Trades 

Explore the Curriculum

Featured Machine Tool Operation Courses

| 1 CR
This course will cover the basic principles of print reading. The emphasis is on interpreting standard lines and symbols in single- and multiple-view working drawings. Topics include print reading procedures, drawing changes, machining specifications, and the reading of prints in specialized areas including ANSI and ISO standards. Strongly recommend a basic understanding of mathematics concepts.
| 4 CR
Students will be assigned introductory, specifically designed projects that will be machined using the engine lathe, milling machine, drill press, and various saws. Students will be in a job-like setting. The capability and safe use of machine tools will be stressed.
| 2 CR
This course introduces the student to the development and editing of Computer Numerical Control (CNC) programs. The basic elements of CNC machine setup and operation are covered for the production of acceptable parts. Safety concerns are also addressed. Strongly recommend a basic understanding of algebra, geometry, and trigonometry.

Machine Tool Operation is Part of a Career Pathway

As a Machine Tool Operation student at WITC, you can earn credentials each step of the way. 

Download Career Pathways map

This is the program you’re looking at.

Technical Diploma
31 Credits / 1 Year Full Time
Potential Careers
Machine Operator, Machinist Apprentice, Machine Setup Operator
Range of Yearly Salary
$22,930-$69,680 annually
Arrow pointing down

Continue your education to obtain the two-year technical diploma.

Technical Diploma
61 Credits / 2 Years Full Time
Potential Careers
Machine Tool Operator, Apprentice Machinist, Machine Setup Person, Tool Room Machinist, CNC Machinist, Maintenance Machinist, CNC Programmer
Range of Yearly Salary
$36,000-$64,891 annually
Arrow pointing down

Continue your education to obtain your bachelor's degree.

Machine Tool Technician Bachelor's Degree


Admissions and Tuition

WITC has a simple admission process that can be completed in one visit. To start the process, simply fill out an application form along with a $30 application fee. After you’ve successfully submitted your application, your next step is to schedule an admissions meeting with a WITC counselor to discuss your goals and expectations. That’s it!

Tuition and Fees

WITC breaks down the cost of education, so you'll have a good idea of how much your education will cost.

Financial Aid

Financial aid is available to help you pay for your education. It can come in the form of grants, loans, federal work study, military and veterans benefits, division of vocational rehabilitation benefits and scholarships. 

Learn More About Paying for College

Estimated Total Program Costs*

Machine Tool Operation

33 Credits | 1 Year


$778 for books (including tax)

$1,575 for tools, supplies and uniforms

*Tuition is an estimate and does not include any miscellaneous fees for various courses, tools, books, supplies or uniforms. Program book costs are in addition to tuition and fees and vary depending on course selection and where the books are purchased or rented. 

After the WITC Machine Tool Operation Program

Upon completion of the program, you will obtain a Machine Tool Operation technical diploma. 

Student studying at a computer

Transfer Options

Transfer your WITC credits to a four-year college in Wisconsin to obtain your bachelor's degree and beyond. 

View Transfer Options

Career Outlooks

WITC's graduates experience success. Learn more about the types of careers you can get after graduation.

View Career Options

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Student wearing automotive uniform studying a paper

Gainful Employment

Established by the U.S. Department of Education, Gainful Employment is available to help you make an informed decision about which career to pursue. This required information shows data about how WITC's technical diploma programs that receive federal financial aid lead to gainful employment in recognized careers. 

Learn More


Choose a campus to view contact information, or for general assistance, please contact us.

Rice Lake Admissions Contact

Sara Eckstein

Admissions Advisor

800.243.9482 ext. 5220


Ashland Admissions Contact

Jennifer Bednarik

Admissions Advisor

800.243.9482 ext. 3195


New Richmond Admissions Contact

Jodi Saliny

Admissions Advisor

800.243.9482 ext. 4339


Superior Admissions Contact

Cindy Miller

Admissions Advisor

800.243.9482 ext. 6243


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Are you ready to experience success? WITC staff are standing by to support you in reaching your educational and career goals, so do it. Take the leap.