Machine Tool Technology - MACH

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Napa Valley College > Academics > Technical Division > Machine Tool Technology - MACH

Many jobs for MACHINISTS, but no one to fill them!
Train for a job that is in high demand.

Machine Tool Technology

Do you enjoy working precisely and accurately with machines?  Career opportunities in tooling and machining are plentiful and profitable, and they don’t require a four-year degree.

NVC’s Machine Tool Technology Program can give you the training needed to set up and operate conventional machine tools and modern machining and turning centers.  The program provides experience in using computers to program modern computer numerical controlled (CNC) machines.

The program can prepare you for a variety of machine tool careers:

  • CNC operator, using CNC machinery to produce metal or plastic parts
  • CNC programmer, setting up and programming CNC machines
  • Apprentice, serving four years to become a journeyman
  • Journeyman machinist, reading and interpreting blueprints and specification and operating all machine tools to construct and repair metal parts
  • Tool and die maker, using the highest degree of skill in the machinist’s art
  • Automotive machinist
  • Moldmaker for the plastics industry
  • Winery maintenance mechanic
  • Pre-engineering

Your coursework will include classes in setting up and operating basic machine tools, such as lathes, milling machines, drill presses, surface grinders, and CNC machines.  Preparation also covers precision measuring skills, blueprint reading, cutting tool design, machine tool operation, and fundamentals of welding, drafting, shop math, photography, and physics.


Experts predict the current shortage of qualified machining workers will continue, with many firms employing students while they train.  In the Bay Area, entry-level salaries for apprentices start as high as $3800 per month plus overtime, with experienced journeyman machinists earning up to $7500 monthly.  Job vacancies in Northern California are plentiful.  Over the past several years, the program coordinator has seen placement of all program graduates seeking work.


For specific courses and requirements, consult the NVC catalog, the program coordinator, or the college website (  Student Learning Outcomes - By the end of the program students will be able to:  #1 Demonstrate good work and safety habits, while using hand tools and power equipment, #2 Perform basic machining operations on lathes, mills, surface grinders and drill presses, #3 Perform basic measuring functions using precision measuring tools, #4 Read engineering drawings to accomplish required operations on machine tools, #5 Accomplish advanced lathe and mill processes, while working independently, #6 Understand tool geometry, carbide insert tooling, #7 Calculate all required math to accomplish machining processes, and #8 Set-up, operate, and program basic CNC lathes and mills.


Machine Tool Certificate (Two Year Option) 44 units (minimum grade of C in all courses)

Machine Tool Certificate (One Year Option) 14 units (minimum grade of C in all courses)

Please click on the links above or the form pages in the left menu.


60 units (grade point average 2.0)

An A.S. degree is awarded upon completion of all major and general education course requirements as stipulated in the current college catalog.  Consultation with the program coordinator is required.


NVC’s program provides a good foundation for transfer to a four-year college.  Consult the transfer information chapter in the college catalog and get help with specific requirements from a counselor.


Dean Ehlen
Napa Valley College
2277 Napa-Vallejo Highway
Napa, CA  94558
Office:  Room 3105B
Phone:  (707) 256-7132

Napa Valley College career technical education programs are open and available to all students regardless of race, color, national origin, sex, disability, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression. Admission requirements for Napa Valley College career technical education programs are described in the current Napa Valley College catalog. The Napa Valley College Title IX officer is Laura Ecklin (Phone: 707-256-7105, Room 1544B). The Section 504 compliance officer is Rebecca Scott (Phone: 707-256-7438, Room 1735-C).