Embark on a fulfilling career as a machinist, playing a pivotal role in manufacturing and repairing parts and components critical to industries such as manufacturing, transportation, energy and healthcare.  

This comprehensive 12-week Pre-employment Machinist program combines hands-on shop experience with theoretical knowledge curated by industry experts to address the unique demands of manufacturing environments. 

In this program, you will:  

  • receive rigorous training in standard safety protocols 
  • master the mathematical concepts and calculations essential for precision machining 
  • learn to operate computer numerical control (CNC) machines, understand programming and execution 
  • gain proficiency in using lathes for cutting, sanding, drilling, facing and turning 
  • acquire skills in operating drill presses for producing accurate holes in metal 
  • learn milling, grinding and other machining techniques. 
Once you graduate, you’ll possess the foundational skills to gain employment and register as an apprentice, positioning you ahead in the competitive field of machining.

With this program, you’re not just learning a trade - you’re setting the stage for a career as a machinist.

Machinists tend to be objective, innovative and methodical.  

You need: 

  • mechanical aptitude 
  • critical thinking and problem-solving skills 
  • the ability to use your hands skillfully and quickly 
  • the ability to estimate and measure sizes and distances accurately 
  • the ability to work alone on tasks that require concentration and physical effort.

You should enjoy doing creative work with machinery that requires a high degree of skill and precision.

This program aligns with the first period of Alberta Apprenticeship and Industry Training’s (AIT) Machinist curriculum.

Graduates are eligible to register as apprentices and challenge the first-period exam.

Once you pass the exam and complete the necessary training hours with an employer, you may register for SAIT’s Machinist apprenticeship program beginning in period two.

Graduates are also eligible to receive course credit for all first-semester classes in our Machinist Technology diploma program.

Upon successful completion of this program, you’ll receive a SAIT Pre-Employment Machinist certificate. 

Download program info

Careers and opportunities

Our graduates may work in the following occupations. Some careers require additional experience and education.

Associated National Occupational Classification (NOC) codes: 22302, 72010, 72100, 72405, 92023, 94105, 94106, 95101.


Career counselling and support

Unsure which career path is for you? SAIT offers career planning services to help you decide your future.

You can also get started by taking our online career finder quiz, which can help you narrow down your search based on your current skills and interests.

Finally, you can also head to Alberta alis for various tools and resources, including additional quizzes and labour market information to help you narrow down a career path.

Services and workshops


The Pre-Employment Machinist certificate requires credits (13.5 courses) to complete.

Course Credits

This course introduces you to the fundamentals of reading manufacturing blueprints, including sketching and dimensioning objects in an orthographic projection. You’ll explore isometric drawings and sections, and you’ll interpret machine shop drawings containing applied print reading terminology. You’ll also examine the use of manufacturing symbols, assembly drawings, and geometric dimensioning and tolerancing. Finally, you’ll learn how computer-aided design and manufacturing (CAD/CAM) is used for turning, and you’ll describe the use of fasteners and locking devices.


Provides the learner with the opportunities to develop skills in the safe and efficient use of hand tools for measurement, layout, metal cutting and assembly work. Learners will also operate pedestal grinders, drilling machines, power saws, engine lathes, drilling machines and milling machines. Basic heat treatment will also be included. Also, this course introduces safe working habits while working with and around oxy-fuel gas cutting and welding processes.


This course introduces you to the fundamental theory you’ll need to work safely and effectively as a machinist. You’ll begin by examining important safety regulations, as well as procedures for working with hazardous materials, and for climbing, lifting, rigging and hoisting. You’ll examine taper systems, screw threads and measuring tools, as well as the lubricants and cutting fluids used in the trade. You’ll also explore the types and operating procedures of a variety of tools and equipment, including oxy-fuel tools, hand tools, layout tools, drills, drilling machines, power saws, lathes and grinders.


This course introduces you to the fundamental mathematical principles that you will need to meet the requirements of the first period machinist apprenticeship program. You’ll explore the trade applications of whole numbers, fractions and decimals, as well as metric and imperial conversion and geometric problems. You’ll perform algebraic operations and use ratios, proportions and percentages to solve trade-related problems. You’ll also examine taper systems and their application in machining operations.


In this course, you’ll learn how to manually program and safely operate computer numerical control (CNC) turning centres, including using control panel functions, performing system setup and manipulating offsets. You’ll also get hands-on experience building and executing a series of lathe profiles to meet specifications.


In this course, you’ll learn the basic theory necessary to operate computer numerical control (CNC) turning centres. You’ll explore the safety procedures, basic concepts and applications of CNC machines, as well as the purpose of co-ordinate and reference points used for CNC machining. You’ll analyze the structure of the CNC format and code structure and you’ll execute and verify manual programs. Finally, you’ll examine CNC turning machine setups and offsets.



Students must attain a PGPA and/or a CGPA of 2.0 or better in each semester and pass the necessary prerequisite courses to progress through the program. To qualify for graduation, students must pass all courses, attain a CGPA of 2.0 or better and complete course requirements within the prescribed timelines.

Review our grading and progression procedure >

Admission requirements

Applicants educated in Canada

All applicants must demonstrate English language proficiency and meet the following requirements or equivalents.

  • at least 50% in Math 20-1 OR Math 20-2 OR Math 20-3, and,
  • at least 50% in English Arts 20-1 OR English Arts 20-2, and, 
  • at least 50% in Science 10

Or, a pass mark in the SAIT Admission Examination (level 4) or equivalent is accepted in lieu of the above requirements.

SAIT accepts high school course equivalents for admission for applicants educated outside Alberta.

All applicants who were educated outside of Canada must demonstrate English Language proficiency and provide proof they meet the program admission requirements with an international document assessment. Find out what educational documents are accepted and assessment options.

SAIT may also accept courses completed at certain international post-secondary institutions.


Academic Upgrading

Missing an admission requirement for this program? Upgrade your prior education to help you receive admission into one of SAIT's career programs.


English language proficiency

All applicants must demonstrate English language proficiency prior to admission, including students educated in Canada.

Learn more

Available intakes

Fall 2024

Start dates:

Domestic students: Open
  • Application deadline: June 28, 2024


2024/25 tuition and fees

The following estimated costs are effective as of July 1, 2024.

Domestic students

The estimated total cost of tuition and fees for domestic students is based on the recommended course load per year.
Year Number of semesters Tuition fees Additional fees Total per year
1 0.5* $7,006.50 $159 $7,165.50
Total cost:
*Less than a full semester of 16 weeks.

Books and supplies are approximately $1,000 - $1,500 per full-time year.

This is a bring-your-own-device program with a standard computer hardware and software requirement. See the specific requirements on our computers and laptops page.

Find your booklist on the SAIT Bookstore's website. The booklist will be available closer to the program start date.

Can’t find your program or course? The bookstore didn't receive a textbook list. Contact your program directly to determine if they’re still refining course details or if you're in luck; no textbook purchase is required this term.

2023/24 tuition and fees

The following costs are effective until June 30, 2023. They are an estimate of tuition and fees based on the recommended course load per year.

Domestic students

Year Number of semesters Tuition fees Additional fees Total per year
1 0.5* $7,006.50 $157 $7,163.50
Total cost:
*Less than a full semester of 16 weeks.

Financial aid

Paying for your education may feel overwhelming, but we have resources and programs that can help, including information about payment options, student loans, grants and scholarships.

Learn more

Application process

Ready to apply?

Follow our step-by-step guide to submitting a successful application.

Learn how to apply

Communication during admission

Email is the primary source of communication during the selection process. Ensure your personal email account is managed appropriately to receive our emails, files and communications. We recommend you add the ma.info@sait.ca domain to your safe senders' list or you risk missing critical email messages.


Begin your application

Apply now using the online application portal. 

Ensure you have a valid Visa or Mastercard to pay the non-refundable application fee of $120 for domestic applicants.

Apply now

Information sessions

Prepare for a strong start in your chosen program or get the details you need to decide your future path.

Our expert staff and faculty are ready to answer your questions and provide information about the following:

  • What sets SAIT apart
  • An introduction to the program and area of study
  • Admission requirements
  • Future career paths
  • Information on the earning potential and graduate employment rates.

Contact us

School of Manufacturing and Automation Advising