Instrumentation Technology School and College Program Overviews

In instrumentation technology degree programs, students learn about the design, operation and application of equipment and instruments through traditional coursework and direct experience opportunities.

Essential Information

Instrumentation technicians assist equipment engineers in various industries like food processing, electricity and petroleum. For those interested in this career role, degree options at the undergraduate level include an associate's in instrumentation technology and a Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in Engineering. These programs emphasize automation and instrumentation design, electronics theory and applied mathematics, and culminate to a capstone project or cooperative education experience. Associate's coursework is usually 2 years long and covers topics such as calibration, automated equipment and report writing. Bachelor's curriculum takes 4 years to complete and trains students how to apply engineering principles and technical skills to develop vital control and measurement systems. For either degree path, applicants must have a high school diploma or General Education Development (GED) equivalent and acceptable Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) and American College Testing (ACT) scores for admission.

  • Program Levels: Associate's and bachelor's
  • Program Fields: Engineering
  • Prerequisites: A high school diploma or equivalent and appropriate standardized test scores
  • Program Length: An associate's takes 2 years, while a bachelor's takes 4 on average
  • Other Requirements: Completion of a senior project and practicum for graduation

Associate's Degree in Instrumentation Technology

Associate's-level instrumentation technology programs involve intensive studies in mathematics, applied sciences and technology. Some examples of core course topics are:

  • Applied mathematics
  • Electronics theory
  • Physics
  • Data collection and analysis

Bachelor of Science in Engineering

A bachelor's degree in engineering includes advanced courses in the design of electronic instruments used in the facility operations of factories, hospitals, power plants and the like. Sample class subjects include:

  • Testing and scheduling
  • Automated equipment
  • Applied industrial tasks
  • Report preparation

Employment Outlook and Salary Info

Only bachelor's level graduates are able to work as instrumentation engineers; an associate's degree only qualifies students for engineering assistant positions. Depending on which field they work in, instrumentation engineers can also be known as electrical and electronic engineering technicians and industrial engineering technicians. These positions are typically found in industries that require automated processes, like chemical or manufacturing plants. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), electrical and electronic engineering technicians earned a mean salary of $60,330 as of May 2014, while industrial engineering technicians made $55,660. Also, industrial engineering technicians are expected to see employment decline at a rate of 3% over 2012-2022.

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