Two male technicians with a notebook computer next to large machinary

Career Prospects

The purpose of this program is to help graduates prepare for career opportunities in a variety of positions in field including automation, process control, PLCs, robotics, and motor control. Automation, computer-assisted manufacturing, and robotics have opened new fields in the planning, installation and service of automated equipment and systems. Many industrial companies are improving their production operations in order to meet changing technology, and as a result, there are many new jobs being created.

Automation technicians design, install, and maintain equipment used in modern industrial processes. They work on a wide range of systems, from the simplest fuses and motors to sophisticated electronic computer interface boards, motor drives, programmable logic controllers, solid-state devices and robotics. Automation technicians trouble-shoot, service and fix computerized systems and devices that are designed to reduce human interaction, such as robotic assembly devices, PLCs and computer-controlled building air-conditioning systems.

From robotics to mobile devices to automobiles and food processing, our graduates find employment opportunities in process control, PLC programming, packaging, power generation, mining, machine design, and building automated systems, maintenance, transportation, systems integration, component testing, technical sales, quality control and a host of other fields. Other career opportunities include areas as machine assembly, troubleshooting and testing, systems integration, application support, maintenance, component testing and assembly, automation programming, robot maintenance and programming, technical sales and services. Alternate job titles include field technician, bench technician, robotics technician, PLC technician, production support technician and maintenance technician.

Typical job-related activities may involve:

  • assembly
  • installation
  • maintenance
  • testing
  • troubleshooting
  • repair
  • programming

Being employed as an Automation Technician can be a profitable and enjoyable career. Hourly rates go from $65 to $125 for an experienced Automation Technician. Individuals who graduate from this program of study have the entry level skills required to succeed in a growing market. Students must develop logical thinking skills, problem solving skills, and trouble shooting skills in order to be successful both in the program and in the field after graduation.

Working conditions are generally excellent for Automation Technicians with very good pay and benefits including health and pension plans for graduates finding employment in this fast-growing field. Automation Technicians involved programming PLCs, robots, or SCADA systems generally work in clean, well-lighted, air-conditioned surroundings with high quality tools for design, testing and analysis.

Experienced Automation Technicians with advanced training may become specialists or troubleshooters who help other technicians diagnose difficult problems, or work with engineers in designing equipment and developing maintenance procedures. Graduates with leadership ability also may eventually become maintenance supervisors or service managers. Due to the highly specialized skills and knowledge required, there are many opportunities available to graduates in the service sector where there is a great demand for contract and sub-contract work with smaller manufacturing and distribution companies. Some experienced Automation Technicians open their own design, installation and maintenance companies. They can also become wholesalers or retailers of automation equipment, including inside and outside sales of automation equipment and systems. Because of their familiarity with the electronic equipment, Automation Technicians are particularly well qualified to become manufacturers' sales representatives. Other related opportunities include customer service, quality-control, quality-assurance and consulting.