Jun 02, 2023  
2023-2024 Course Catalog 
2023-2024 Course Catalog


CNC Operator/Programmer, Certificate

CNC Operators are entry-level jobs that require someone to interact with CNC machining equipment, loading and unloading parts with minor modifications to the machine settings or programming. The CNC Operator certificate provides students with the knowledge and skills needed for an entry-level CNC machine operator, or entry level programming position.

For more information about the CNC Operator /Programmer certificate, and for advising documentation, please visit our website at www.dmacc.edu/programs/toolanddie.

The classes listed below are for students interested only in the CNC Operator certificate. These classes are held in the evening. Each group of classes listed below is offered every other semester. Therefore, the order in which the classes are taken will be dependent on the semester the student begins. Please visit with an academic advisor to determine specific scheduling options.

Program Details

Location: Ankeny

Students start Fall or Spring semester

Program Entry Requirements

Obtain the following scores on the Accuplacer Next Gen Reading Test, 
Accuplacer Next Gen Writing Test, and ALEKS Math Placement Test: 

  1. Reading Accuplacer Next Gen test 220 or higher
  2. Writing Skills Accuplacer Next Gen test 240 or higher
  3. Math (Numeric) ALEKS placement 13% or higher

Graduation Requirements

To earn a CNC Operator/Programmer Certificate, a student must complete all required coursework as prescribed and maintain a 2.0 grade point average.


*Students may start with either Semester 1 or Semester 2 courses depending on class rotation and availablity. Please visit with an academic advisor to determine your class schedule.

Semester 1*

Visit with an academic advisor to determine if you will begin with Semester 1 or Semester 2 courses.

Semester 2*

Visit with an academic advisor to determine if you will begin with Semester 1 or Semester 2 courses.

Total Credits Required to Complete this Certificate - 18

Classes are not required to be semester-by-semester, but students must comply with corequisite requirements.

These credits are applicable toward the Machinist Technology diploma  and the AAS degree in Tool & Die Making  or Advanced Manufacturing  programs.

Fixed Costs

Tuition……………………………………………………………………………………..$185.00 per credit

The costs for each program are estimates and subject to change.

Varied Costs

Costs for books, supplies, etc., will be determined by course.  Some approximate expenses:

Tooling/Supplies  95
Books  250 new (used may be available)

Approximate total for program: $3,675**

**Program entry requirements are not included in the total approximate cost.

What Kind of Work Will You Do?

  • Operate CNC Machines and support equipment as it relates to production manufacturing
  • Inspect machined parts for quality related dimensions and tolerances
  • Read and Interpret Industrial Blueprints
  • Apply an entry level understanding of CNC programing
  • Perform basic set up on a CNC machine
  • Perform basic diagnostics and trouble shoot setups for tooling problems
  • Communicate with management and the other shifts about the day’s work

What Skills and Abilities Will You Need?

  • Apply math skills in specific machine setups and operations.
  • Organize your work, planning each step of the job from beginning to end.
  • Maintain a steady hand for precise movements and use your eyes for close work for long periods of time.
  • Be able to lift 25 to 50 pounds.
  • Demonstrate imagination and creativity on the various machine setups and operations.
  • Demonstrate a positive attitude and work closely with others.
  • Basic computer management skills.
  • Must be able to follow industry standard safety guidelines.
  • A quick reaction time is critical in this career field.  The ability to quickly respond (with the hand, finger, or foot) to a signal (sound, light picture) when it appears is necessary to avoid injury.

What Else Should I Consider about this Program or Career Choice?

  • There is danger of accidents due to the high-powered, fast-moving machine parts.
  • Most of the work will be done in a standing position.
  • Students planning to transfer to a four-year institution should discuss options with a DMACC advisor regarding requirements for credit transfer. 

Program Competencies

  1. Demonstrate the safe and effective procedures and method in the proper use of tools, machines, and measuring tools.
  2. Interpret data to industry standards.
  3. Create components using standard and advanced machining processes to industry standards.

Nondiscrimination Statement

Des Moines Area Community College shall not engage in nor allow discrimination covered by law against any person, group or organization. This includes in its programs, activities, employment practices, or hiring practices, and harassment or discrimination based on race, color, national origin, creed, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, age, disability, genetic information (in employment) and actual or potential parental, family or marital status. Veteran status in educational programs, activities, employment practices, or admission procedures is also included to the extent covered by law.

Individuals who believe they have been discriminated against may file a complaint through the College Discrimination Complaint Procedure. Complaint forms may be obtained from the Campus Provost’s office, the Academic Deans’ office, the Judicial Officer, or the EEO/AA Officer, Human Resources. ADA questions and concerns may be directed to the Section 504/ADA Coordinator at 2006 S. Ankeny Blvd, Bldg 6, Ankeny, IA 50023, phone 515/964-6857, dso@dmacc.edu. Title IX questions and concerns may be directed to the Title IX Coordinator at 2006 S. Ankeny Blvd, Bldg 1, Ankeny, IA 50023, phone 515/964-6216, Title9@dmacc.edu. Questions or complaints about this policy may be directed to the Director of the Office for Civil Rights, U.S. Department of Education, John C. Kluczysnki Federal Building, 230 S. Dearborn Street, 37th Floor, Chicago, IL 60604-7204, phone 312/730-1560, fax 312/730-1576, TDD 800-877-8339 Email OCR.Chicago@ed.gov.

DMACC offers career and technical programs in the following areas of study:
Agriculture, Natural and Environmental Science
Architecture, Engineering, and Construction
Arts, Design, and Visual Communication
Business, Management, and Marketing
Education, Public, and Human Services
Health Science
Hospitality and Culinary
Information Technology
Transportation & Logistics

Entrance requirements for specific programs can be found at https://www.dmacc.edu/admissions/Pages/checklist.aspx.(2021)