Manufacturing in Canada is increasingly automated, requiring workers who are up to date in digital technical skills. Computer Numerically Controlled (CNC) machine tools are used to manufacture a variety of parts and products across numerous industries to increase accuracy and precision, and eliminate errors.

Workers in the field use multiple machine types, including: drills, lathes, presses and other hardware that shapes metals and plastics into finished products. Operators must understand how to read blueprints before setting up CNC machines, loading materials or measuring and adjusting settings. MasterCam software is the most common program in use to convert CAD designs into machining instructions for automated parts creation by CNC machines.

This program provides students with skills and knowledge in Math, Blueprint Reading, Computer Aided Design (CAD) and Computer Aided Manufacturing (CAM).

Career Opportunities

Programming skills together with practical machining experience, provide graduates with potential employment as CNC programmers within a wide variety of industrial facilities that rely on flexible manufacturing systems. Smaller companies often require individuals with a combination of programming and operating skills. CNC mills and lathes are used extensively in the manufacturing of moulds and press tools. People with CNC skills are needed in most geographic regions of Canada.

Some common job titles in this field include:

CNC Programmer
Responsible for writing instructions used to run CNC machines and determining equipment settings according to product specifications.

CNC and Machine tool operators
Responsible for set up and operation of metal and plastic cutting, grinding, milling and lathing machines

Machining and tooling inspectors
Responsible for inspecting machined parts and tools to maintain quality control standards.

Metalworking and forging machine operators
Responsible for operating metalworking machines which shape and form sheetmetal, steel or other materials into parts or products.

Manufacturing industry sectors employing CNC operators include:

  • automotive and transportation equipment
  • aircraft and aerospace
  • biomedical devices
  • heavy machinery
  • oil, gas and nuclear energy
  • shipbuilding
  • printing
  • structural steel, boiler and platework

For more information on careers in the field, please visit:

Entry Requirements

Students without CNC experience should complete Seneca's Machine Shop certificate.

All students should have familiarity with the Windows operating system (Win 9x, Win NT, Windows XP or Windows Vista).

Students are responsible for ensuring they meet all course pre-requisites as stated in the course description, as knowledge of the pre-requisite material is assumed by the instructor.

Filter Classes: In Class     Online     Correspondence     Hybrid     Availability   

Due to COVID-19, all Part-time Studies courses are being offered online until further notice, in one of the following two formats: online virtual classroom and online self-directed. Click Availability below to see current offerings.


Core Courses (5)

CNC Programming - Basic


ABP094, MTH100 and one semester of MAC090 or proven industrial experience that includes knowledge of conventional vertical milling machine or faculty approval.

This course introduces basic CNC programming. Students learn to read and interpret existing CNC files and codes generated by software such as Mastercam, using common 'G' and 'M' codes and a simulator package to determine the value of outputs. This course is equivalent to CNC 101 in full-time studies.

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Mastercam Level I



This course is designed to provide students with the necessary skills to generate programs for CNC milling machines using the PC-based MasterCAM software. Topics covered include: the menu structure; interactive graphics; 2D-geometry creation and editing and tool path simulation. This course is equivalent to CNC 204 in full-time studies.

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Mastercam Level II



This course covers the more advanced features of the PC-based MasterCAM software. It includes a short review of 2D geometry creation before moving on to 3D surface modeling. Students assess the effectiveness of their work and program output using the built in verify functions.

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CNC Programming - Advanced



This course covers lathe programming using Mastercam CAM software. The subject includes a brief introduction to manual lathe programming. MasterCAM is then used to create part geometry, generate toolpaths and finally post-process files.

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CNC Set-up



This course provides students with the skills and knowledge to perform basic set-ups on 3 axis CNC Vertilcal Mill and 2 axis CNC Horizontal Lathe machines. The course features hands on training in setting up different jobs using HAAS and Fanuc controls and the opportunity to work with different cutting tools, instruments, jigs and fixtures.

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Note: Material fees are non-refundable.

Program Outcomes

Upon successful completion of all five (5) of the courses in this program, students will be able to:

  • Program CNC controlled milling machines and lathes using common 'G' codes and miscellaneous functions;
  • Construct 2D and 3D geometry using MasterCam software;
  • Generate toolpaths using MasterCam CAM software;
  • Post-process toolpaths to create codes for both CNC milling and turning centres.

Credit for Prior Learning

Prior Learning Assessment

Earn college credits for what you already know!
Prior Learning Assessment is a method of assessing and recognizing learning that is equal to college level learning, but has been gained outside a traditional classroom (through work experience, volunteering, outside study, etc.). If you can prove that the knowledge you have gained meets the outcomes of a Seneca course, then credit will be awarded.

How does the PLA process work?
Prior Learning is demonstrated through a "challenge" process. The process measures learning through a variety of methods which may include tests, portfolio assessment, interviews, demonstrations, essays, and work samples. The method used will be determined in consultation with a Program Coordinator.
For more information and to determine if you are eligible for PLA, please call the Program Coordinator.

The process may take from 6 to 8 weeks.

Note: Not all courses can be challenged. For more information go to PLA website or contact your Program Coordinator.

Transfer Credit

Many students who enter Seneca College will have earned academic credits in post-secondary educational institutions which they may be able to apply toward completion of a Seneca College program.

Requests for Transfer Credit must be for a specific course and must be accompanied by an official transcript and course outline. A minimum grade of "C" (60 percent) is generally required for a course to be considered for Transfer Credit.

Download a Transfer Credit Request form. An official copy of your transcript and applicable detailed course outlines should be attached and submitted. Please note it may take 4 to 6 weeks for a Transfer Credit decision.

More Information

Please visit the Office of the Registrar.


Recognition of Achievement

Upon successful completion of the program requirements, please submit a Request for Recognition of Achievement Form to the Faculty of Continuing Education and Training. There is no cost for this and your Recognition of Achievement will be mailed to you.

Program Contacts

Cherry Langlois
Program Assistant
416-491-5050 ext.22523

Mark Khani
Part-time Program Coordinator
416-491-5050 ext.22097

Tina Kotsiomitis
Academic Program Manager
416-491-5050 ext.22515

For more information about this program, fill out the following form.