CNC Technician

Student working on machine in classroom

CNC Technician

Technical Diploma

15 Credits | 1 Year Part-time

Rice Lake

Career Cluster: Manufacturing

Machining is the foundation of all manufacturing. If you have never heard of machine tool or machining it is an essential part of your life. Any product you own, use or even touch has either been machined or has been made from a die or mold that has been machined. Machining is mostly done with computer controlled equipment and is the modern replacement to manually operated machine tools used thru the 1950s and '60s. CNC machines cut material, everything from metal to plastic, to make parts, and molds, for the manufacturing industry. People who become machinists are well paid and in high demand.


Tuition reimbursement may be available to assist with your training in CNC Technician as part of the Housing Opportunity & Mobile Education Solutions (HOMES) Grant. To determine if you are eligible, please contact an Admission Advisor. Learn more about this opportunity here.  

Program Overview

The CNC Technician program prepares students for a career in the machining industry. Students will learn how to set up and program basic three-axis mills and two-axis CNC lathes.

Program Outcomes

CNC Technician 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
A student working intently with a machine part

As a machinist, you will learn a highly skilled trade that requires precision and attention to detail. You will interpret engineering drawings, apply precision measuring methods for inspection, perform CNC programming with software.  

Student working on machine in classroom

Northwood Tech students are in high demand.

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Graduates get high starting salaries.

A student operating a CNC machine

Learn by doing. 


CNC Technician is offered on the Rice Lake campus, but similar programs are offered at all four of the Northwood Tech locations.

Career Pathways

The CNC Technician program is a short-term technical diploma that transfers into other Northwood Tech machining programs at Ashland, New Richmond and Superior campuses.

Experienced Instructors

As a CNC Technician student at Northwood Tech, you will have access to instructors with years of machining experience in a variety of industries. 

Current Technology

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

Required Courses

Program specific subjects covered including Machining Fundamentals, Introduction to CAD/CAM, Print Reading for Machine Trades and Milling and Turning 1 and 2.

Explore the Required Courses 

Featured CNC Technician Courses

| 3 CR
This course includes instruction of CNC (Computer Numerical Control) lathes and mills including calling up programs in the machine control unit, loading and deleting programs; setting work offsets; loading and unloading parts; loading tooling and tool offsets; running programs to make parts; and part inspection. By the end of the course, learners will set up work pieces in machines, enter programs, set up tool offsets, enter work offsets, and complete parts and projects.
| 5 CR
This course includes the operation of CNC (Computer Numerical Control) mills and lathes by providing instruction and practice in the use of milling and turning machines. This course will also provide an introduction to job planning for CNC lathes and mills using standard G and M codes, including the use of process plans, inspection sheets, and set up guides will also be covered. This course will also provide the opportunity for learners to write their own job planning and editing of provided programs. By the end of this course, learners will edit programs, change speeds and feeds as needed, and adjust tool and work offsets to produce parts within specified tolerances. COREQUISITE: 31444310 Milling and Turning 1
| 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.

CNC Technician is Part of a Career Pathway

As a CNC Technician student at Northwood Tech, you can earn credentials each step of the way!

This is the program you're looking at.

CNC Technician

Technical Diploma
15 Credits / 1 Year Part-time
Potential Careers
CNC Machine Operator, CNC Set-up Operator, CNC Operator, Machinist
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You can continue your education to advance your skills.

Technical Diploma
32 Credits / 1 Year Full Time
Potential Careers
Machine Tool Operator, Apprentice Machinist, CNC Machinist, CNC Programmer, Maintenance Machinist
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Continue your education to earn your bachelor's degree.

Admissions and Tuition

Tuition and Fees

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

Learn More About Paying for College

Cost of Attendance

The Cost of Attendance (COA) is an estimate of the costs that you may incur while attending Northwood Technical College.

Learn More About Cost of Attendance

Estimated Total Program Tuition 2024-25*

CNC Technician

15 Credits | Less Than 1 Year


Grant funded for 2024/2025

$2,150 for tools, supplies and uniforms (Optional)

*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 Northwood Tech CNC Technician Program

Upon completing the program, you will earn a technical diploma in CNC Technician. Continue your education at Northwood Tech into the Machine Tool Operation - CNC technical diploma program.

Student studying at a computer

Transfer Center

Transfer your Northwood Tech credits to a four-year college to earn your bachelor's degree and beyond. 

View Transfer Center


Career Outlooks

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

View Career Options

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HOMES Grant 

Equal Opportunity

No person may be denied admission to, participation in, employment at, the benefits of, or be discriminated against in any service, program, course or facility of Northwood Technical College because of the person's political affiliation, age, race, creed, religion, color, handicap (disability), marital status, parental status, sex, national origin, ancestry, sexual orientation, pregnancy, arrest record, conviction record, service in the armed forces, genetic testing, or use or non-use of lawful products off the College premises during non-working or non-class hours.


The 3-year, $9.8 million Housing Opportunity & Mobile Education Solutions (HOMES) project is funded by the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development. Impact Seven will provide an additional $20 million for sustainable affordable housing options within the district. Northwood Technical College will provide an additional $1.25 million to conduct advanced manufacturing training for underemployed, unemployed, and special population individuals.


General demographic and job placement information of program participants will be used and reported to the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development as one measurement of success for this grant-funded program.


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

Rice Lake Admissions Contact

Nicole Messicci

Admissions Advisor



Ashland Admissions Contact

Jennifer Bednarik

Admissions Advisor



New Richmond Admissions Contact

Sherry Rehnelt

Admissions Advisor



Superior Admissions Contact

Anna Kalin

Admissions Advisor



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