7 Best Online CNC Machinist Programs (Complete Guide)

The manufacturing industry has many computer numerically controlled (CNC) machines operated by CNC machinists.

While individuals are not legally required to have a certificate or degree to operate as a CNC machinist, companies look for those who do.

Those with a CNC machinist certificate are officially trained and have met certain standards for the field.

If you’re interested in becoming a CNC machinist but can’t find a local program, then don’t worry.

Plenty of online CNC machinist programs prepare students for entry-level positions.

Students who complete the online certificate will be rewarded with a certificate of completion.

Online programs are not created equal.

A handful of programs can teach the basics but won’t give you certification.

So, knowing what to look for before you sign up is important.

Below, we’ll teach you everything you need to know to find the best online CNC machinist programs.

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Best Online CNC Machinist Training Programs

As previously mentioned, online CNC machinist training programs aren’t designed equally.

Each program will teach the basics, but others will include more information that better prepares students to work more advanced roles.

Below, we’ll provide a few options for the best online CNC machinist training programs.

1. TPC Training

TPC Training provides online CNC Machinist training by offering individual courses.

The classes are offered completely online and can be used to achieve an entry-level machinist technician position.

They also provide more advanced training competencies for senior personnel.

There are 206 lessons offered, each that helps teach the fundamentals of becoming a machinist.

Each course includes 5 to 12 lessons and core components.

There is no registration for a “program” per se, but applicants must register for each online course individually.

2. ED2Go

Ed2Go is an online training program that partners with colleges.

The online program is designed to provide an intensive overview of work holding, math, inspection, safety, and more.

Students can expect to spend $2,245, with the option to pay monthly.

Monthly payments are made through Affirm and can be as low as $109 monthly.

Tuition rates will change depending on the student’s application for Affirm approval.

The program is available for up to 12 months; students can learn independently.

Ed2Go’s CNC machinist program has a total of 195 course hours.

Students can sign up at any time, as there is open enrollment.

What you will learn:

  • Production Floor Safety
  • CNC Controls and Programming
  • Metallurgy
  • Machining and Grinding Processes
  • Inspection Methods
  • Six Sigma, 5S, Lean, and TPM
  • Workholding Principles

Students who complete the course will be prepared for careers as CNC machinists, CNC machine operators, CNC lathe operators, CNC mill operators, CNC operators, machine operators, or machinists.

3. Tooling U-SME

Tooling U-SME, previously known as Tooling University, is a non-profit educational technology and blended learning organization that operates online.

The university’s CNC classes are designed to help manufacturers train effectively to join the modern workforce.

Each course emphasizes CNC machining and turning centers and ranges from basic to advanced techniques.

Currently, Tooling U-SME doesn’t list courses or prices.

Potential students must contact the site for more information or call 866-706-8665.

Alternatively, potential students can submit a form here to request more information.

4. America’s Cutting Edge (ACE)

America’s Cutting Edge is a company that provides free online and in-person training.

Their program is designed to train CNC machinists online and provide an in-person experience.

Of course, the in-person training is optional, but a good chance to get hands-on experience in the industry.

The online training program is completely free and is self-paced.

Students must register for the online course, or they won’t be able to access it.

Approximately six hours of videos and instructions need to be completed.

Some of the topics that the online course provides include:

  • Introduction to machining
  • CAM instruction
  • Introduction to Machining Dynamics
  • Additional CAM instruction using CAM+ (an application that simulates machining force and vibration)
  • Introduction to machining cost

Once students complete the online training, they qualify to attend ACE’s in-person training.

While not necessary, attending to gain additional insight is highly recommended.

The in-person training is 32 hours and is taught over one week or can be spread out over several days or weeks.

Students who complete the online training will receive a certificate of competition from the Pellissippi State Community College and the ACE CNC Machining Digital Credential from Credly.

5. UMKC TalentLink

The UMKC TalentLink pairs with WorkForge to help provide online CNC manufacturing training.

They offer students the ability to learn self-paced online for all of their courses.

Instead of the traditional learning method, students can choose which courses they want to take.

Here are the available classes:

  • Aerospace
  • Computer Numerical Control (CNC)
  • Food Safety and Production
  • Industrial Maintenance
  • Introduction to Manufacturing Careers
  • Robotics
  • Welding

Two CNC machinist courses can be taken, which include CNC Fabrication and CNC Lathe Operator.

The CNC Fabrication course is delivered online and has 16 total course hours.

Students will need to pay for tuition, which is $330.

The skills covered include:

  • Metalworking tools and uses
  • Machining tools and uses
  • Metal fabricating processes
  • Proper equipment for milling, drilling, boring, turning and grinding
  • Bulk metal forming and the tools for shaping, forging, and extruding metal

The CNC Lathe Operator course is also delivered online and consists of 17 course hours.

The course costs $340, and students will learn every component of the lathe system, operation, maintenance, and equipment.

The skills taught in the course include:

  • Introduction to CNC Lathes
  • Components of CNC Lathes
  • Auxiliary Systems
  • Deburring
  • Visual Testing

6. Titans of CNC

Titans of CNC provides free online CNC machinist training for those who want to learn at their own pace.

They provide various machining topics, including building blocks mill, rocket lathe, and the art of fixturing.

However, these are just some of the topics covered.

Students of Titans of CNC will create personalized portfolios and display their projects and certifications.

Their work will be verified by the Titan team, which will review models, simulate your program, and inspect your parts.

7. Coursera

Coursera offers online CNC training and is a good way to learn if you want a more flexible learning schedule.

Everything is self-paced; students can learn from industry experts and accredited universities.

Each of Coursera’s online courses provides a shareable certificate upon completion, which is recognized by most institutions.

Courses range from 19 to 25 hours, and students may need to take them in specific orders.

Each course is labeled as either beginner, intermediate, or advanced.

The courses can be confusing, but students can contact support to find a learning path that suits them.

In addition, all courses are self-paced and won’t require meeting times.

Students will need to work through each module and test their knowledge and skills at the end of the course.

Students who pass will gain a shareable certificate.

What Courses Are in an Online CNC Machinist Program?

Courses in an online program will vary from academic institution.

Training programs are designed to deliver the basics, but some programs include advanced courses to help enhance learning.

Generally, most online courses cover the same materials.

Here is a basic breakdown of the subjects:

  • Production Floor Safety
  • CNC Controls and Programming
  • Metallurgy
  • Machining and Grinding Processes
  • Inspection Methods
  • Six Sigma, 5S, Lean, and TPM
  • Workholding Principles
  • Blueprint reading
  • Using CAD and CAM software
  • Interpreting geometric dimensioning and tolerancing
  • Machine tooling
  • And more.

Aside from that, CNC machinists are required to interpret technical drawings and specs with little effort.

Students will also need to learn team-building, problem-solving, and communication skills.

These are all very important when working with a team.

Can You Earn a CNC Machinist Certification Completely Online?

Students can earn a CNC machinist certificate online at a qualifying institution.

Online programs are offered on Ed2Go, Coursera, and more platforms.

Students are best prepared to take courses from accredited universities or industry experts.

However, free resources are available online to help students study CNC Machining because no degree is required.

While completing an online program is possible, there are a few downsides.

First, you don’t get the same hands-on experience you would in a traditional setting.

While there are still interactive parts to online courses, there is a lack of genuine experience in a real-world setting.

That being said, students can compensate for this by gaining an internship or doing on-the-job training.

Many of the online courses also don’t provide any certificates.

Instead, they provide a completion certificate showing that you completed the course.

While most CNC machinist positions will be fine with this, many prefer students who attend well-known programs or study in person.

Alternatively, students can get on-the-job training.

So, while it is possible to get online CNC machinist training – it’s not recommended.

A lot goes into being a CNC machinist; the best pathway is to attend an online course and then follow up with in-person training.

Otherwise, you will find yourself lacking even in an entry-level position.

How Long Does it Take to Earn a CNC Machinist Certification Online?

Certification takes an average of two academic years to complete.

Programs are designed to provide beginner-level training, which allows students to apply for CNC Machinist jobs.

However, CNC machinist programs are not made equal.

Some students can attend online training, which only takes 12 months to master the basics.

These online programs cover the essentials of being an entry-level worker.

The downside is that many online courses do not fully prepare students to understand a CNC machinist job

Instead, students should apply for apprenticeships or on-the-job training to gain a better understanding.

Due to this, students tend to spend an extra year or two before they become fully trained.

A lot of being a CNC machinist is learned through trial and error.

So, it’s not something you can only learn about through online courses.

How Much Does an Online CNC Machinist Certification Cost?

The cost of a certificate for CNC machinists will vary on several factors, mainly the place you attend.

While some have reported paying upwards of $5,000, the average certification cost is $2,000.

This only factors in the cost of tuition and not any other fees or materials needed for the class.

So, students will need to factor in extras into the total price.

However, some students who attend online courses can get away with a certificate of completion for free.

Since there is a huge lack of CNC machinists in the industry, some companies provide free training to qualifying individuals.

These courses are excellent for anyone on a budget, as they will just need to fill out a form and sign up for the company’s website.

While they are free, the only issue is that most of the training is limited to online instruction and lacks hands-on experience.

Students should seek out paid apprenticeships to help them learn after attending an online course.


Becoming a CNC machinist is very exciting, as you’ll get to operate and program machines in a fast-paced setting.

It’s a highly technical job requiring lathes, mills, and grinders knowledge.

Students who don’t master the criteria may struggle in the field.

Moreover, online training is often lacking, as many CNC machinist positions require hands-on experience.

However, some places offer follow-up hands-on training, which is essential.

So, students should opt for that or pair their online learning with an apprenticeship or on-the-job training position.

More advanced CNC machinists can get away with just learning from a few courses.

If there are specific areas that they want to brush up on, then they can take a few courses and earn a certificate of completion.

As long as they demonstrate an in-depth understanding of concepts, jobs generally don’t mind online training for advanced positions.

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