Control systems technicians work with control systems in a myriad of industries. Typically, these technicians complete some form of certificate or degree program in controls technology. After having worked in the field for a number of years, control systems technicians can seek varying levels of certification.
Control systems technicians design, maintain, repair and install electronic, hydraulic and pneumatic control systems in a variety of industries. Some are HVAC technicians, while others work in wastewater treatment facilities. Control systems technicians are certified at different levels, depending on their education and years of experience in the field. The educational requirements vary for this position, those most technicians complete some postsecondary education in electrical control systems, advanced instrumentation and controls technology or industrial control systems.
|Required Education||Variable; completion of diploma, certificate or degree programs|
|Projected Job Growth (2014-2024)*||14% (for heating, air conditioning, and refrigeration mechanics and installers)|
|Median Annual Salary (May 2015)*||$45,110 (for heating, air conditioning, and refrigeration mechanics and installers)|
Source: *United States Bureau of Labor Statistics
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Education Requirements for Certified Control Systems Technicians
Control systems technicians gain knowledge and skills through diploma, certificate and degree programs. The certification examination is administered through the International Society of Automation. Certificate and degree programs should focus on fundamental, technical and automation skills.
Electrical Control Systems Diploma
The diploma program is designed to prepare a student for work in the electrical control systems field. Students learn about instrumentation, programmable logic controllers (PLC) and electrical controls. Coursework introduces students to computers, control circuits, direct current and alternating current motors, industrial instrumentation and safety procedures. Electives are taken. Completion of the course gives a student the knowledge to sit for the International Society of Automation (ISA) certification exam.
Advanced Instrumentation and Controls Technician Certificate
The certificate program introduces students to electrical and programmable control systems. Focus of the program is on the industrial sector. Students learn how to install, calibrate and maintain electronic instruments. Students learn about proper grounding of control equipment and noise considerations.
Associate of Applied Science in Industrial Control Systems
This associate's degree program teaches students basic skills in a variety of systems, including electromechanical, electropneumatic and electrohydralic. Students learn how to analyze and document systems performance. Graduates of this program have the necessary skills to effectively communicate with technical staff or upper-level engineers in the reporting of data analysis and observations.
The International Society of Automation oversees the certification examination. The examination is given at three levels, depending on the total of combine years of experience, training and education. Level I certification requires five years total. Certification at level II requires seven years total, including two years work experience in instrumentation, control and measurement. Level III certification requires 13 years total, which includes five years work experience in measurement, instrumentation and control. In all cases, an applicant may use the completion of a degree program as part of the years requirements (up to four years).
Control systems technicians may face varying levels of educational requirements depending on what jobs they apply to, but they generally benefit from an associate's degree or completion of a certificate program. The more experience these technicians gain in the field, the more job opportunities they will gain.