nims cnc certifications

What is NIMS Certification? A Guide for Manufacturing Students

The National Institute for Metalworking Skills (NIMS) is a recognized non-profit organization that’s dedicated to preparing the next generation of manufacturing workers. This organization has developed new industry standards, practical training frameworks, and credentialing opportunities for anyone looking to launch a successful career in manufacturing and machining today.

You see, the manufacturing industry is in need of highly skilled workers. Technologies such as robotics and artificial intelligence have brought the field to new heights, but employers are now lacking enough trained, qualified professionals to fill open positions. The NIMS is looking to help individuals–students, apprentices, employees, and more–develop the skills needed to thrive in modern manufacturing. On top of training opportunities, the NIMS provides certifications for various specialties.

Read on to learn what NIMS certification is, why it’s important, and what types of credentials are available via the National Institute for Metalworking Skills (NIMS).

What is NIMS Certification?

A certification from the National Institute for Metalworking Skills (NIMS) is meant to validate your skills in advanced manufacturing. It showcases dedication to your professional field, highlights your education and training, and endorses your capabilities as a machinist or specialist.

NIMS certifications are portable and valued by employers throughout the country. It’s estimated that more than 6,000 manufacturing companies rely on the NIMS credentials in their recruitment processes. As stated by the NIMS, “Achieving a NIMS credential is a means through which an individual… can prove their abilities to themselves, to their instructors or employers, and to the customer.”

Why is NIMS Certification Important?

According to the NIMS, professional certification can help you stand out to employers. They explain, “By earning NIMS credentials… individuals secure a competitive edge when applying for jobs because they have demonstrated that their skills meet the industry established standards.”

However, this is not the only advantage of earning a NIMS certification. While standing out to employers and qualifying for more jobs is a great benefit, NIMS certification can also position you for a higher salary. The NIMS states that their credentialing enables “competency-based wage progression,” meaning that the skills and certifications you’ve earned can translate to higher wages long-term.

The more certifications you achieve, the more skills you can showcase to prospective employers, and the more compensation you can earn. Currently, there are more than 20 types of NIMS certifications you can pursue, each representing a specific set of proficiencies within machining or manufacturing. We break down some of the most popular NIMS certifications below.

What are the Types of NIMS Certifications?

The NIMS breaks down their credentials into six primary portfolios. Within these portfolios, you can pursue specific credentials around a skill or career of choice. The types of NIMS credentials include:

1. NIMS Machining Credentials

Are you interested in becoming an expert of computer-numerically controlled machines? Do you wish to become a master machinist or programmer, or specialize in a certain area of machine operation? The NIMS offers machining credentials around a variety of skillsets and machine types, such as:

  • CNC Mill operation
  • CNC Lathe Operation
  • Drill Press
  • Grinding
  • Turning
  • Milling
  • Moldmaking
  • Diemaking
  • Screw Machine Setup and Operations

This is just the beginning of certifications available. You can also become credentialed as a CAM Milling Programmer, CNC 5-Axis Milling Operator, CNC 5-Axis Milling Specialist, and more through the NIMS.

2. NIMS Metalforming Credentials

Are you interested in the mechanics of metalwork? Metalforming certifications through the NIMS can showcase your knowledge and skills in this area of study. Examples of metalforming credentials offered include:

  • Metalforming I
  • Press Brake Operations
  • Stamping Operations
  • Stamping Inspection and Quality Control
  • Stamping Setup and Operations

3. NIMS Additive Manufacturing Credentials

Are you interested in creating and designing 3D models to enhance the production of goods? Additive manufacturing is dedicated to this through the use of computer-aided design (CAD) software. The NIMS offers an AM Designer credential in their portfolio, validating one’s skills in engineering, prototyping, and testing manufacturing models.

4. NIMS Industrial Technology Maintenance Credentials

Maintenance technicians are needed at every corner of manufacturing to help ensure machinery is running efficiently and safely. If you are interested in the oversight of manufacturing machines, you may consider a NIMS certification in systems such as:

  • Basic Hydraulic Systems
  • Basic Mechanical Systems
  • Basic Pneumatic Systems
  • Electronic Control Systems
  • Electrical Systems
  • Process Control Systems

You may also specialize in these areas, pursuing credentialing and titles like Maintenance Operations Specialist, Mechanical Systems Specialist, and Hydraulic Systems Specialist through the NIMS.

5. NIMS Industry 4.0 Credentials

Industry 4.0 (I4.0) refers to a new wave of manufacturing technologies, amidst a fourth Industrial Revolution. To keep up with the times, the NIMS now offers an Industry 4.0 credential for the Smart Production Specialist title. These certified specialists operate, monitor, and troubleshoot networked equipment and make informed decisions based on the data obtained.

6. NIMS Dimensional Measurements Credentials

Are you detail-oriented and interested in the quality assurance side of manufacturing? If so, there are two NIMS credentials you can currently earn to showcase your skillsets. The NIMS offers a Quality Inspector credential, for those who inspect products, as well as a Quality Technician credential, for those who analyze the quality results of manufactured goods. Learn more here.

It’s worth noting that the above six categories of NIMS credentials are all obtainable for you. You can stack NIMS certifications to really develop and sell your skills. If you are interested in CNC machining, for example, you might explore a variety of certifications in the NIMS Machining category, as well as the Industrial Maintenance Technical credentialing options. The more certifications you obtain, the more leverage you will have for promotions, raises, and other benefits in your professional career.

How to Earn NIMS Certification

Anyone, anywhere, is eligible to pursue credentials from the National Institute of Metalworking Skills. However, they must be 18 years or older OR enrolled in a state-approved training program if they are younger than 18.

The specific credentialing requirements do vary depending on the certification, but generally involve:

  • A performance assessment, such as completion of an approved performance measure
  • A theory exam, which is an online test available through the NIMS website

Some manufacturing and machining schools, as well as some employers, offer direct pathways towards NIMS certification. Be sure to ask about the options available to you.

While postsecondary education is not required to pursue a NIMS credential, it’s highly recommended. Training through a career-focused manufacturing program can help you ace your performance and theory examinations and prepare you for more credentials, fast.

At Goodwin University, students leave well-prepared to pursue a variety of NIMS certifications, specifically those related to CNC machining, CAD technologies, industrial maintenance, quality control, and more. To learn about our array of manufacturing programs available and see how you can get started towards a successful career in this field, do not hesitate to reach out.

Request more information online today.