The Aerospace Joint Apprenticeship Committee (AJAC) is excited to offer a new CNC Programmer Apprenticeship this spring! This program combines on-the-job training (OJT) with evening classes one night a week. AJAC apprentices will take 1 class per quarter, 3 quarters per year, for 3 years (45 total credits). If you have not completed AJAC’s 4-year machinist apprenticeship program, this is a 3-year, 6,000 hour program. This program is accredited through a local community or technical college giving you the opportunity to earn college credits.

Become A Journey-Level Programmer

Students in the AJAC CNC Programmer Apprenticeship will learn to use CAD and CAM fundamentals to design for manufacturability (develop tooling). Students will gain a thorough understanding of the underlying manufacturing processes that are essential to developing a part program; they will know how to build a part and will understand the role of the CNC Programmer in a team and an organization. In Year 3, students will learn 2-axis, 3-axis, and 4-axis CAM tool paths for mill and lathe as well as advanced CNC Programming techniques.

Apprentice Eligibility

This program is designed as a training for journey level Machinists with two entry points. It has been structured as a 4,000 hour program for journey-level machinist graduates or those with a college certificate/degree.

For individuals with at least 5 years of proven machining experience, this is a 6,000 hour program to accommodate experienced Machinists achieving their journey level status through work experience but lacking formal academic preparation.

Based on subject matter experts and employer recommendations, the following is the candidate eligibility criteria:

  1. Industry Trained | 5+ Years of Proven Machining Experience. Eligible for participation includes requirement to take all 9 classes and complete 6,000 hours of OJT.
  2. College Certificate or Degree + Industry Trained | 5 Years of Experience/Certificate or Degree. Credit for up to 3 classes of the first year’s coursework and 2,000 OJT Hours.
  3. Apprenticeship Completion: Journey-Level Machinist. Automatically awarded first year course work (3 classes) and 2,000 OJT Hours.

CNC Programmer Entry Points

The following table is a breakdown of required (X) RSI Classes for each eligible participant category. View a PDF version of this table here.

Related Supplemental Instruction

CNC Programmer apprentices will take up to 9 college-level classes (450) hours designed by AJAC’s subject matter experts. Class is held one night a week for 4 hours during the fall, winter, and spring (summers off). Classes will vary between in-person and online learning. Each class is worth 5 college credits totaling up to 45 credits upon completion.

CNC Programmer Classes

This apprenticeship provides students the opportunity to learn critical programming skills covering the following subject areas:

  • Technical Drawings, GD&T, and Precision Fits
  • Shop Algebra, Applied Geometry and Trigonometry
  • CAD Fundamentals & Design for Manufacturability
  • Manufacturing Process Related to Project Management
  • Basic Tool Path for Mill & Lathe
  • Multi Axis/Indexing
  • Advanced CNC Programming Techniques

On-the-Job Training Competencies Learned

The graphic above is a guide of tasks and hours for the on-the-job training portion of the program. The 6,000 hours will be completed over the course of the apprenticeship.

We understand this may not be a full-time role for apprentices, as they will be splitting their time between shop and programming. Apprentices have flexibility over the course of the program to complete the guide of tasks and hours.  The apprentice shall be instructed and trained in all operations and methods customarily used on the various machines.

Cost & College Tuition

In Washington State, when you engage in apprenticeship, college tuition is reduced by 50%. In most cases that means classes cost around $275 per quarter, 9 classes total. Roughly $2,475 out-of-pocket cost per apprentice for the entirety of the program.

For AJAC machinist graduates, the cost will be around $1,650. 

Enroll Today!

To reserve your spot in AJAC’s first CNC Programmer Apprenticeship, please complete our online application. After you have submitted your information, an AJAC representative will contact you for next steps.