This program of study is planned to prepare students to work in the rapidly expanding field of industrial automation and control. It incorporates technical skills from the electrical, mechanical, computer, and manufacturing disciplines. Industrial automation in industry is providing jobs for technically trained people who can build, program, integrate, service, maintain and operate programmable logic controllers (PLCs) The PLC Technician certificate program will provide the basic technical skills and knowledge necessary to work with electrical control systems typically found in an industrial environment. The program investigates the operation of various control systems including both discrete and analog control devices. Emphasis is placed on the use and programming of PLCs in a complex industrial control system.
Programming PLCs can be a profitable career. Hourly rates go from $65 to $125 for an experienced programmer. Individuals who graduate from these programs of study have the entry level skills required to succeed in a competitive 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. PLC Technicians install and repair industrial electronic equipment including I/O networks, data highways, variable speed drives, process control equipment, and write PLC programs for a wide variety of automated control systems ranging from simple on-off control to robotics. In addition to installing and maintaining programmable controllers, PLC Technicians also find employment in the industrial engineering field where they are actively involved in the design and implementation of PLC control systems.
Working conditions are generally excellent for PLC Technicians with very good pay and benefits including health and pension plans for graduates finding employment in this fast-growing field. PLC Technicians involved in design or repair of industrial control equipment generally work in clean, well-lighted, air-conditioned surroundings such as an office or testing and repair facility.
Experienced PLC 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 PLC Technicians open their own design, installation and maintenance companies or become wholesalers or retailers of PLC equipment. Other career prospects include inside and outside sales of PLC. Because of their familiarity with the electronic equipment, PLC Technicians are particularly well qualified to become manufacturers' sales representatives.
The Era Of Industrial Control
Automation in the manufacturing industry can improve production output and reduce costs. A modern, competitive workforce must be technically literate and know the ins and outs of programmable controllers. New state of the art electrical and electronic devices and equipment use PLCs to increase manufacturing flexibility, simplify processes, and improve safety. Automation also allows a better quality of life for workers while maintaining quality, efficiency, and a market for the product produced.
The PLC Technician program offers a course of study to introduce the concepts of PLCs and explain how they can be used in a plant or manufacturing system. The program is based on practical applications and experience in using programmable controllers in the workplace. This program enables students to make use of PLCs to solve machine and process control problems. A systems approach to training is used because the PLC is one major component of a much larger manufacturing system.
First Time Users
The course is designed for first time users to make a safe and quick start in getting to know the fundamentals of PLCs. A study of the program learning materials and a succession of hands-on exercises, practical applications, and case studies, will allow the user to become familiar with the concepts common to all PLCs.