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CNC Programmer

Student operating a CNC machine

Department: Computer Integrated Manufacturing

Program Type: Manufacturing


As manufacturers adopt digital technologies, ECC's certificates and degrees in skilled trades have never been more important to your career. At Elgin Community College, you can master your programming skills using actual CNC equipment and specialize your training in computer-aided manufacturing or traditional machine tool processes. Our Associate degree and certificate programs prepare you for entry-level employment in high-demand jobs such as general machinist, tool-and-die maker, mold maker, special machine builder, maintenance machinist, computer-aided manufacturing technician, computer numerical control (CNC) operator or programmer, set-up specialist, industrial sales, and supervision.

High school students may be interested in exploring CNC Programming as a dual credit opportunity for advanced manufacturing.

Get additional information, including course listings and class descriptions.

Are you interested in a guided transfer pathway program? Learn more about a plan ECC offers to guide you toward courses relevant to your interests and based on the requirements of certain 4-year institutions by meeting with an academic advisor. 

Prepare for Immediate Employment

The employment outlook for CNC programmers is positive. The increasing use of automation and technology in manufacturing is driving demand for CNC programmers.

Additionally, the use of CNC machines in a variety of industries, including aerospace, medical devices, and automotive, is also contributing to the growth in demand for CNC programmers. The median annual wage for a CNC Programmer is $60,780. Refer to Career Coach for more information regarding related occupations and compensation.

Plan of Study and Course Descriptions

Review the ECC catalog for details about the CNC programmer's plan of study and course descriptions.

Vocational Certificate

What sets ECC's manufacturing program apart?

ECC offers programming a 3+ 2-axis trunnion vertical machining and seven-axis-turning centers in the classroom and machine shop. Learn advanced M- and G-Codes to control and organize functions; Computer-Aided Design/Computer-Aided Manufacturing designs; blueprint reading; integrate probe systems; calculate proper Surface Feet per Minute (SFM), RPM, FPR, and FPT; plus production from a solid block/round of material. Plus, your coursework will teach you about advanced set-ups, operations, and features needed in the field.

What will I learn in a CNC Programming Class?

CNC programming is the union of hardware and software, database management, and communications to automate and control production activities. You'll learn to control everything from planning and design to manufacturing and distribution. As a CNC Operator or CNC Programmer, you'll be in a highly skilled trade where you'll learn to troubleshoot machine problems, perform complex setups, and understand macro language as you move through the classes to finish with Advanced CNC Programming. 

After you've completed your IMT coursework, you may take additional liberal arts and sciences courses to broaden your academic background and prepare for a supervisory position in the manufacturing industry.

Can I be a certified CNC programmer?

Students at ECC can earn the National Institute for Metalworking Skills (NIMS) and Manufacturing Skills Standards Council (MSSC) certifications, giving you more qualifications that may increase your competitiveness for jobs.

Computer Integrated Manufacturing Degree

In addition to the two-year Computer Integrated Mfg Option-AAS, Associate in Industrial Manufacturing Technology, or Machine Tool Technology-AAS, you can pursue certifications. All of ECC's certifications emphasize career readiness and provide preparation for immediate employment.

Earn an Associate of Applied Science degree in Computer Integrated Manufacturing.

Learn more about the CNC Programmer department at ECC!

Earning an Associate Degree at Elgin Community College can set your career in motion.

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Are you unemployed or looking for a better career?

ECC is partnering with Kane County WIOA to offer free career training for in-demand jobs. Learn more and see if you qualify.

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