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Computer Numerical Controls Operator

Career Studies Certificate

man using a Computer Numerical Control (CNC) machine

Train for a fast-paced career as a CNC operator

Learn in our new Precision Machining Lab

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What do you think of when you imagine a shift change at a factory? Unless you work inside one, chances are you think of a whistle, punch-cards and time-clocks, and thousands of workers pouring out of the gates.

Not today. We live in the era of advanced manufacturing, where workers with a high level of technical skills are needed to run and maintain complex machines, robots and computer systems.

Join this exciting field as a computer numerical controls (CNC) operator. CNC operators are in great demand to work with precision machinery from setup to operation to produce parts and tools from metal, plastic or other materials. CNC operators make adjustments to the machine to control speed, material feed and path of the cut, as well as make sure the machines are set up properly, working well and producing quality products.

At Tidewater Community College, you will have classes in numerical controls, machine shop practices, orientation to engineering and technologies and introduction to computer-aided manufacturing. In addition, you can learn in the field with a three-credit cooperative education internship during your final semester.

Certify your skills

Earn valuable industry credentials! Course work qualifies students to sit for one or more exams administered by the National Institute for Metalworking Skills (NIMS).

View program curriculum
What does this program cost?

TCC’s Career Studies Certificate in Computer Numerical Controls Operator consists of 2 semesters of part-time study, with classes held mainly on the Chesapeake Campus.

Estimated Program Cost*:
22 credits x $185.35 per credit = $4,077.70 (not including textbooks and supplies)
*Based on Fall 2018 in-state tuition. Your actual cost may differ.

Where can you go?

Continue your education by applying your credits toward TCC’s Associate of Applied Science in Mechatronics. Upon completion of the certificate, you will have the knowledge you need to obtain the National Institute for Metalworking Skills (NIMS) industry certification.

Is this program for you?

Yes, if you:

  • enjoy working with your hands
  • want to know how machines work
  • want to produce the goods and services that power today’s economy
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Veterans, transitioning military, spouses and dependents: TCC’s Center for Military and Veterans Education provides academic guidance and help in maximizing your GI Bill® and other educational benefits.

Learn more about the CMVE

Fanned-out money

Tuition assistance such as financial aid, scholarships, work-study, grants and loans can help you save money and reduce college debt.

Learn more about paying for college

Take part in a three-credit cooperative education internship

Connect one-on-one with professors who are industry pros and invested in your success

Program powered by an advisory committee with representatives from local manufacturers


Grad finds meaningful work in mechanical and electrical field


Meet Thomas Stout, dean of science, technology, engineering and mathematics on the Chesapeake Campus


"Everything you have in your house, some part of mechatronics has come in contact with"