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Precision Machining

Develop skills to produce one-of-a-kind and manufactured components using conventional hand-controlled methods.

A man bends over to take a closer look at the machinery he's working with.
Start Date:
Typical Length:
1 Year

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Machinists produce precise parts based on technical engineered drawings. You learn how to do this by operating conventional hand-controlled methods, including:

  • Lathes
  • Milling machines
  • Drill presses
  • Precision measurement tools 

Part of your training also involves how to diagnose mechanical malfunctions. 

While this program focuses on hand-controlled methods, you do learn the fundamentals of computer numerical control (CNC). With CNC, a computerized machine is programmed to do detailed work and automation. 

Machining is a critical part of industrial production. Many businesses rely on machinists to maximize overall performance and output.

Work experience

  • Field experience is a mandatory credit course, providing the opportunity to apply your knowledge and skills outside the classroom.
    • Opportunities are typically unpaid and last approximately 5 weeks.
  • Transportation, accommodations and other costs related to work experience courses are your responsibility.
  • For more information, visit work experience opportunities.

Choose NSCC

  • This program gives you the skills and knowledge to succeed in the machining industries. Your CNC training will build on the machine shop skills developed earlier in the program.
  • You study the theory and then put that theory into action with lots of practical, hands-on experience, plus a work term opportunity.
  • This program places a high importance on providing you with skills and knowledge to work safely in industry. To prepare for employment, you participate in safety awareness courses.

Other info

  • Many employers in this industry require a current, official criminal record check as part of the hiring process. A conviction on your criminal record may impact your ability to secure employment.

September 2024

Campus Full time/part time Delivery Availability
Akerley Campus
Full time In person
Delivered in-person. Some courses may have online elements.
Kingstec Campus
Full time In person
Delivered in-person. Some courses may have online elements.
Seats available

Admission requirements

Program requirements

  • Portfolio development – As part of your studies at NSCC, you develop a portfolio of your work; the portfolio captures your achievements and profiles your skills to employers.


Tuition amounts are for the 2024-25 academic year. Program costs and fees (textbooks, supplies, etc.) are additional.

Tuition (Domestic):
Tuition (International):

Tuition, fees and program costs

In addition to annual tuition, there are program costs (books, tools, etc.) and student fees for College services, health and dental plans, your student association and parking.

View detailed program fees page(s). Please note that amounts on these pages are meant for planning purposes only. They don't represent final amounts owing.

Career options

  • Graduates have careers in manufacturing and processing plants, refineries, pulp and paper mills, mines, shipyards and in private machine shops.
  • Learn more about labour market information. View career options

Future study options

  • Graduates may register as an apprentice with the Nova Scotia Apprenticeship Agency (NSAA) once employed. Apprenticeship is an optional but beneficial journey that combines on-the-job-learning with technical training.
  • Red Seal Endorsement - individuals who complete an apprenticeship program are eligible to write the inter-provincial exam. A Red Seal allows certified tradespeople to practice the trade in any province or territory in Canada where the trade is designated.

Courses may include

These are some of the courses offered in this program. It is not a complete list and courses are subject to change in advance of the academic year.

Recognizing prior learning / transfer credits
If you have previous learning (course, employment, etc...) that's relevant to your program, you may be able to apply to earn credit. Not all programs are eligible. Learn about our recognizing prior learning (RPL) process.

INDR 1010 - Industry Readiness
A crucial component of trade practice is the ability to share information. Explaining work, applying trade skills and meeting industry standards involves communicating effectively. This course introduces these skills with a trade focus and will help prepare students to contribute to employment and in the classroom. Course work may tie directly to projects and assignments happening elsewhere in the program and in its shops.

INDR 1020 - Working Effectively in the Trades
Almost all trades professionals will need to work well with others. Students in this course will learn to be effective team members and adapt and analyze how they share information with others. A selection of activities relevant to the particular trade will be used to practice collecting, analyzing and using trade information. Course work may tie directly to projects and assignments happening elsewhere in the program and in its shops.

PRMA 1000 - Safety, Tools and Basic Measurement
Safety is the first consideration in machine shop operations. This course will introduces learners to general shop safety, safe rigging practices, WHMIS and Occupational Health and Safety. Course activities enable learners to identify common machine shop hazards, perform safe rigging for the machine shop, and understand their rights in safety matters. This course will also cover safe use of the common hand tools and devices used in machine shop work. Learners will be taught how to select the proper tools and demonstrate the correct use and maintenance of those tools. Course material introduces the theory and use of common machine shop semi-precision and precision measuring tools, both metric and imperial. Care, maintenance, adjustment and calibration of these measuring tools are addressed.

PRMA 1001 - Drills, Drill Presses and Grinders
This course introduces machine shop drilling and grinding machines including sensitive, upright and radial arm, and drill presses, as well as the safe practice for the use of these machines and their attachments. Course materials include adjusting, repairing and maintaining these machines and their accessories, various drilling tools and drill sharpening. The course introduces the selection, handling and safe use of cutting fluids.

PRMA 1003 - Turning Operations I
This course introduces learners to metal cutting lathes and their operations. Course material covers lathe operation, set-ups, maintenance and machine construction. The course offers learners the opportunity to practice safe methods of operation of the lathe in the shop.

PRMA 1004 - Milling Operations I
This course introduces learners to basic milling operations. Course material includes milling machine operation, set up, maintenance and machine construction. Learners have the opportunity to apply safe methods of operation of the milling machine and practice milling operations in the shop.

PRMA 1005 - Engineering Drawings I
This course gives the learner an overview of engineered drawings and their use in the Machinist trade. Course material includes engineering lines and symbols, parts and types of drawings and their purpose. The course also introduces sketching. Learners develop the ability to interpret drawings for use in the accurate machining of parts.

PRMA 1006 - Mathematics I
This course will reinforce basic mathematical concepts and operations used in machining. The topic areas include whole numbers, fractions, ratio and proportion, rectangles and triangles, regular polygons and circles, solids and metric measure.

PRMA 1007 - Mathematics II
Learners are introduced to mathematical problems commonly encountered by machinists. Topics include formula applications, plane geometry, and trigonometry, with the emphasis on the solution of problems relating to a wide range of shop applications.

PRMA 1100 - Work Experience
The work experience component provides the learner with an opportunity to apply new skills and concepts appropriate for entry-level positions within the machining and manufacturing industry. Learners will assess their own performance and be evaluated by an industry partner. Learners will identify personal outcomes they wish to attain during the work experience and will keep a journal.

PRMA 2000 - Engineering Drawings II
This course is designed to provide learners with the technical skills to interpret detailed engineering drawings. Learners are instructed in the application of tolerances, fits, threads and sectional views for the production of machined parts.

PRMA 2001 - Introduction to Precision Measurement
This course builds upon Introduction to Measuring Tools I and covers of all forms of measuring devices and methods, both metric and imperial, used in machine shop work. Using all types of measuring tools with confidence and reliability is one of the machinist's primary skill sets. Course material covers the theory and use of machine shop precision measuring tools. Learners practice proper care, maintenance, adjustment, calibration and use of these measuring tools.

PRMA 2002 - Milling Operations II
This course builds on the skills and knowledge gained in Milling Operations I. Theory and project work will cover will cover information pertaining to indexable carbide tooling and more advanced work holding methods and set-ups.

PRMA 2003 - Turning Operations II
This course builds on the skills and knowledge gained in Turning Operations I. Theory and project work covers the use of the lathe and carbide tools in turning between centres and taper turning. Learners use common set-ups and procedures for lathe operation.

PRMA 2004 - Introduction to Computer Numerically Controlled Machining
This course provides a basic introduction to modern machining methods used with Computer Numerically Controlled (CNC) machine tools. Course material covers the operating principles and basic procedures, terminology and coordinate systems. Projects reinforce shop safety and add the safety considerations specific to CNC machine tools.

SAFE 1000 - Introduction to WHMIS (Workplace Hazardous Materials Information Systems)
This course offers learners basic overview of WHMIS principles and establishes a solid foundation to support workplace-specific training on the safe storage and handling of controlled/hazardous products. Upon successful completion of the course, students receive basic WHMIS certification.

SAFE 1001 - Introduction to NS OH&S Act
This course offers students an introduction to the Occupational Health & Safety (OH&S) Act of Nova Scotia, which is required by any person employed in a Nova Scotia workplace. This is a generic, introductory course that provides basic knowledge of the Act for students and is considered to be the basis from which more specific training can be given.

SAFE 1021 - Safety Basics – Hazard Identification
The learners are introduced to the types of hazards encountered in workplaces and the approach that should be followed when recommending and implementing appropriate controls. Two key elements of Hazard Identification are addressed: Hazard Assessment and Inspection. The Nova Scotia Occupational Health and Safety Act is discussed. The course material is to be infused throughout the curriculum and may be delivered in the classroom, shop or other opportunity as designed and developed by the instructor.

SAFE 1023 - Safety Basics – Lock-out Tag Out
Lock-out Tag Out introduces students to the hazards related to energized systems and procedures to ensure worker safety. Related legislation and risk management is discussed and the student is exposed to the various types of lock-out devices. The course material is to be infused throughout the curriculum and may be delivered in the classroom, shop or other opportunity as designed and developed by the instructor.

WORK 1100 - Workplace Mentoring I
This unit of instruction is designed to assist learners in managing their learning as an apprentice in the workplace. Learners will study their own experiences with learning new skills and identify their own learning preferences as an aid to developing learning strategies.

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