Machining - AAS

If you’re interested in working with your hands to turn designs into the parts and products that make the world work, then a career in machining could be for you. Bellingham Technical College’s Machining program will give you training for top jobs in aerospace, manufacturing, fabricating, and CNC custom shops. You’ll be prepared to work right away as a machinist; with experience you can advance to journey-level machining, tool programming, CNC operating, or engineering.

Bellingham Technical College’s labs will train you for your career with high-tech machining equipment. In your classes, you’ll learn how to use machine tools such as lathes, drill presses, and milling machines, in addition to blueprint reading, basic CNC programming and machine processes. Employers who hire graduates from BTC’s 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

95% BTC graduate placement rate1

$46,426 starting annual wage2
$64,043 average annual wage2
$94,349 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 2016-17 and 2018-19. 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.

    2Wage data come from Washington State Employment Security Department (ESD) 2020 Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates (Washington State wage) and reflect 2015-2018 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 program typically admits students once a year in the Fall quarter.

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: 99

  • Quarter 1

  • MACH 101Machine Shop Fundamentals I3 CR
  • MACH 141Introduction to Manual Lathe5 CR
  • MACH 151Introduction to Manual Mill5 CR
  • AMATH 100Applied Occupational Math5 CR
  • Quarter 2

  • MACH 102Machine Shop Fundamentals II3 CR
  • MACH 142Advanced Manual Lathe5 CR
  • MACH 152Advanced Manual Mill5 CR
  • AENGL 100Applied English5 CR
  • Quarter 3

  • MACH 103Machine Shop Fundamentals III3 CR
  • MACH 171Introduction to CNC Machining6 CR
  • ENGR 180Parametric Modeling5 CR
  • CMST& 210Interpersonal Communications5 CR
  • Quarter 4

  • MACH 241Introduction to CNC Lathe Operation5 CR
  • MACH 251Introduction to CNC Mill Operation5 CR
  • MACH 261Introduction to CAD/CAM for Machining3 CR
  • QA 110Introduction to Quality Assurance for Machining3 CR
  • Quarter 5

  • MACH 242Advanced CNC Lathe Operation5 CR
  • MACH 252Advanced CNC Mill Operation5 CR
  • MACH 263Intermediate CAD/CAM for Machining3 CR
  • QA 115Intermediate Quality Assurance for Machining3 CR
  • Quarter 6

  • MACH 264Advanced CAD/CAM for Machining3 CR
  • MACH 273Advanced CNC Machining6 CR
  • QA 120Advanced Quality Assurance for Machining3 CR

Program Outcomes

  • Demonstrate competency in their ability to operate machine shop equipment: lathes, mills, grinders, and drills
  • Demonstrate competency in their ability to read and interpret blueprints per industry standards
  • Successfully demonstrate their ability to process and plan a piece part through the lab until completion
  • Demonstrate competency in CNC machine tool operation and programming
  • Demonstrate competency in CAM design and manufacturing

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

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.