Machining - Certificate - Quality Assurance

If you’d like a high-paying career upon graduating from BTC, then you should consider Precision Machining. You’ll be prepared to work right away as a machinist; with experience you can advance to positions such as journey level machinist, tool programmer, CNC operator/programmer or engineer.

You’ll learn how to use machine tools such as lathes, drill presses, and milling machines, plus blueprint reading, basic CNC programming and machine processes. Employers who hire graduates from the Precision Machining program include aircraft, boat, and automobile manufacturers, industrial machinery firms, and machine shops.

Employment Information

Data are provided on a program (not credential) level

81% BTC graduate placement rate1

$42,744 starting annual wage2
$56,181 average annual wage2
$80,309 potential annual wage2

  • Employment and Wage Data Sources

    1Employment data come from the Washington State Board for Community and Technical Colleges (SBCTC) and reflect WA/OR employment for students enrolled at BTC between 2017-18 and 2019-20. Students are included in the employment rate if they left with a credential. Rates are not shown for programs with fewer than 10 students meeting the above criteria.

    2Whatcom County and WA State wage data come from Washington State Employment Security Department (ESD) 2021 Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates and reflect 2018-21 employment. Wage data represent occupations that BTC faculty have identified as the most relevant career paths for program graduates. Note that these wages reflect employees with varying educational levels/credentials. For cases in which multiple occupations have been identified by faculty, a weighted percentile is calculated using each occupation’s percentile wage and employment size estimate. Wages are not shown for programs for which occupations do not meet the ESD’s minimum thresholds for publishing. If the program has wage data from the Washington SBCTC that involves shift work, these ESD wages reflect the same number of hours used in the annual wage calculation. Starting wage = 25th percentile, median wage = 50th percentile, wage potential = 75th percentile.

Estimated Program Costs

Entry Information

When Can I Start?

This is not a stand-alone certificate, students must meet all program level entry requirements.

What are the Minimum Entry Requirements?

Admissions application and assessment testing in Reading, Math and Writing is required. Your score on the test and/or your previous transcripts will determine where you begin your course sequence. Contact Admissions at 360.752.8345 or at for assistance with academic planning.

What are My Next Steps?


Total Program Credits: 19

  • Current Students: Learn how to use this page to register for classes

  • NOTE: The Quality Assurance certifcate is an embedded certificate and is not a stand alone enrollment.
  • Required Courses for Program

  • QA 110Introduction to Quality Assurance for Machining3 CR
  • QA 115Intermediate Quality Assurance for Machining3 CR
  • QA 120Advanced Quality Assurance for Machining3 CR
  • AENGL 100Applied English5 CR
  • AMATH 100Applied Occupational Math5 CR

Program Outcomes

After successfully completing the Quality Assurance certificate, students will be able to:

  • Read and interpret blueprints per industry standards with an emphasis on GD&T.
  • Validate parts using measuring equipments like calipers, micrometers, bore gages, electronic height gages, and CMMs.

Employment Outlook

Employment of machinists is expected to increase and employment of CNC operators is expected to increase. About 82 percent of program graduates are employed within nine months of graduation. The average annual wage in this field is $59,155, with an earning potential of about $90,542 per year.*

Criminal convictions may restrict or prevent student participation with internships and employment in this industry.

Although most program graduates work as machinists, with experience, graduates can advance to positions such as journey level machinist, tool programmer, CNC operator/programmer, manager, engineer and machine and shop tools sales and service representative.

In addition, some graduates are self-employed. Around the country, most machinists work in small machining shops or in manufacturing firms that produce durable goods, such as metalworking and industrial machinery, aircraft, or motor vehicles.

Faculty & Support

  • Degrees and Credentials

    Certificate, Professional Technical Education, Washington State

    AAS, Precision Machining, Bellingham Technical College

Jeff has ten years experience as a machinist in a wide range of specialties, from aerospace to musical instrument manufacturing. Jeff started his machining career as a CNC operator for JAMCO America in Everett. After six years at JAMCO, Jeff came to BTC as a student and is a proud graduate of the Precision Machining program. After earning his degree Jeff worked as a programmer/operator for custom door manufacturer Northstar Woodworks in Ferndale, and as a set-up machinist for ProCNC in Bellingham. Jeff is currently a contract Mastercam rogrammer/prototyper/consultant for acoustic guitar parts supplier Pacific Rim Tonewoods in Concrete. Jeff started at BTC in July, 2014.

  • Degrees and Credentials

    AAS, Precision Machining, Bellingham Technical College

    Certificate, Professional Technical Education, Washington State