Northwest Tech offering new manufacturing technology certificates

People seeking training in manufacturing, production and automation technologies now have the ability to pursue four certificate programs through Northwest Technical College and the 360° Center of Excellence that can be completed almost entirely online.

The eTECH program, part of the 360° Manufacturing and Applied Engineering ATE Regional Center of Excellence housed at Bemidji State University, is offering a series of four certificate programs to help working professionals or students interested in manufacturing careers start a pathway to success. The program offers certificates in:
• production technologies
• machine technologist
• automation technologies
• welding technology

Tuition for the courses is $199 per credit plus any applicable fees and the cost of books or other supplies. Students interested in the programs should contact the admissions office at Northwest Technical College or visit

The four certificate programs provide students with an education pathway that can lead directly into two-year degree programs in applied engineering technology, automation technology or maintenance technology, and later to a bachelor’s degree in applied engineering or technology management. The two-year degrees will be available soon, while the bachelor’s degree programs are available now through Bemidji State University and can be completed entirely online.

“These four certificate programs support the Center of Excellence’s mission to increase the quantity, quality and diversity of technicians in Minnesota’s workforce,” said Jeremy Leffelman, the center’s assistant director. “Manufacturing advisory boards and councils have demonstrated a need for skilled employees in these types of positions. These certificates are meant to help incumbent workers to get the education they need to fill these positions while they are employed.”

The eight-week courses allow each of the four certificate programs to have five starting times per year, rather than two with a traditional semester-based academic program. There will be two sessions starting this fall, two sessions in the spring of 2014 and a fifth in the summer of 2014.

“The schedule is flexible,” Leffelman said. “That’s one benefit to an incumbent worker, or anyone trying to continue their education.”

Production technologies
The production technologies program provides students with foundational manufacturing knowledge needed before pursuing higher-level careers such as engineering technician, industrial maintenance and mechanics or manufacturing technical specialist.

The program is delivered in a series of eight-week courses, which includes technical mathematics, print reading, introduction to computers, safety awareness, manufacturing processes and production, quality practices and maintenance awareness.

Students who complete this certificate will gain the knowledge required to pass the Manufacturing Skills Standards Council’s production technician certification.

Machine technologist
The eTECH machine technologist program will give students the skills necessary to be employed as a machine operator. This certificate can serve as the base for future education to become a Computer Numerical Controlled system programmer, tool maker or operations technician.

The program is delivered in a series of eight-week courses, which includes technical mathematics, machine tool print reading, geometric dimensioning and tolerancing, maintenance awareness and an introduction to Computer Numeric Control

Automation technologies
The automation technologies program allows students to pursue a career in an automotive manufacturing setting or with a packaging machining manufacturer.

The program is delivered in a series of eight-week courses, which includes AC and DC power, analog circuits and motor controls.

Welding technology

Earning a certificate in eTECH’s welding technologies program will allow students to pursue work in a variety of welding technician positions.

The program is delivered in a series of eight-week courses, which includes courses in oxygen fuel, shielded metal arc, gas metal arc and gas tungsten arc welding, metallurgy and interpreting symbols.

The production technologies certificate is a 15-credit program that can be completed entirely online. The other three programs are 30-credit programs completed as a combination of online courses, including some modules from Tooling U, and on-site labs.

About 360°
360° Manufacturing and Applied Engineering ATE Regional Center of Excellence is a consortium of 10 institutions led by Bemidji State University which includes Northwest Technical College and eight other Minnesota technical and community colleges. 360° is designing a 21st century education system that prepares individuals for rewarding careers in manufacturing and meets the needs of the region’s manufacturing employers through an enhanced pipeline, industry-driven curriculum and authentic assessment. 360° is a member of the Minnesota State College and University system and received a National Science Foundation grant in 2012 to become an Advanced Technological Education Regional Center.

Jeremy Leffelman; assistant director, 360° Center of Excellence; (218) 755-4222
Admissions office, Northwest Technical College; (218) 333-6647,

About Northwest Technical College
Northwest Technical College, located in northern Minnesota’s lake district, is an open, inviting technological learning organization. For more than 40 years, the college has valued life-long learning and the worth and dignity of all people. Its open-enrollment policy, affordable tuition and high-quality education have attracted a diverse group of learners; today, the College serves more than 1,600 learners. The college offers more than 40 degree programs in areas such as business, health, human and protective services and environmental and industrial technology career programs. Classes are offered on the Bemidji campus, online, or as a combination of both. NTC is a member of the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system. For more, visit