Instrumentation and Control Technology - AAS

Instrumentation and process control technicians install, maintain, repair, and adjust the measuring and controlling instruments that make plants run safely. Bellingham Technical College’s Instrumentation & Control program will give you training for a career as an instrumentation technician for high-tech industries such as power generation plants, water treatment facilities, chemical manufacturing plants, canneries, aerospace plants, bio-pharmaceutical plants, semiconductor manufacturing plants, and pulp and paper mills.

BTC’s classes in the Instrumentation & Control program will train you to maintain, repair, and troubleshoot instruments and control systems in industries that increasingly rely on automation. Instrumentation & Control is a great program choice if you’re looking for a high-wage career with employment potential across the nation and beyond.

Employment Information

85% BTC graduate placement rate in all states*
57% BTC graduate placement rate in WA and OR

$55,557 starting annual wage
$65,510 average annual wage
$77,012 potential annual wage

*Many Instrumentation & Control Technology students are employed outside of WA & OR. According to BTC faculty records, 85% of 2014-15, 2015-16 and 2016-17 graduates were employed in their field of study within 9 months of graduation.

  • Employment and Wage Data Sources

    BTC graduate employment rates:
    The graduate employment rate reflects placement rates of students who graduated from BTC in 2014-15, 2015-16, and 2016-17. The Washington State Board for Community and Technical Colleges Data Linking for Outcomes Assessment database pulls from Unemployment Insurance (UI) data across Washington and Oregon. UI data do not reflect BTC graduates who (a) are employed in states beyond those listed above or outside of the United States, (b) are self-employed, (c) are active duty members of the armed forces, (d) continued on to another educational institution, and/or (e) did not provide a social security number while enrolled at BTC.

    Wages:
    Washington State Employment Security Department 2018 Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates ( esd.wa.gov) reflect 2014-2017 employment

    Starting annual wage = 25th percentile
    Average annual wage = 50th percentile
    Potential annual wage = 75th percentile

Estimated Program Costs

Entry Information

When Can I Start?

This program admits students approximately two times a year.

Students are encouraged to have their high school diploma or GED by graduation, because many employers require this credential as a condition of employment.

What are the Minimum Entry Requirements?

Admissions application and assessment testing in Reading, Math and Writing is required. Your score on the test and/or your previous transcripts will determine where you begin your course sequence. Contact Admissions at 360.752.8345 or at admissions@btc.edu for assistance with academic planning.

Pre-Program Course Requirements

Completion of Intermediate Algebra (MATH 099) or placement into Pre-Calculus (MATH&141) is a required prerequisite for enrollment in this Program.

What are My Next Steps?

Classes

  • Quarter 1

  • INST 100Direct Current 14 CR
  • INST 106Direct Current II4 CR
  • INST 110Alternating Current I4 CR
  • INST 115Alternating Current II4 CR
  • MATH& 141Precalculus I5 CR
  • Quarter 2

  • AENGL 100Applied English5 CR
  • INST 120Semiconductors 15 CR
  • INST 125Semiconductors II5 CR
  • INST 130Op-Amps I3 CR
  • INST 135Op-Amps II3 CR
  • Quarter 3

  • CMST& 210Interpersonal Communications5 CR
  • INST 140Digital I5 CR
  • INST 141Motor Controls4 CR
  • INST 142PLC Programming4 CR
  • INST 143PLC Systems4 CR
  • Quarter 4

  • INST 200Introduction to Instrumentation2 CR
  • INST 240Pressure and Level Measurement6 CR
  • INST 241Temperature & Flow Measurement6 CR
  • INST 242Analytical Measurement5 CR
  • Quarter 5

  • INST 205Job Preparation I1 CR
  • INST 250Final Control Elements5 CR
  • INST 251PID Control5 CR
  • INST 252Loop Tuning4 CR
  • Quarter 6

  • ENGT 134AutoCAD I5 CR
  • INST 206Job Preparation II1 CR
  • INST 260Data Acquisition Systems4 CR
  • INST 262Digital Control Systems5 CR
  • INST 263Control Strategies5 CR
  • Electives

  • INST 233Protective Relays4 CR
  • INST 290Internship5 CR
  • INST 292Internship10 CR

Program Outcomes

  • Communication - Communicates and expresses thoughts across a variety of mediums (verbal, written, visually) to effectively persuade, inform, and clarify ideas with colleagues.
  • Time Management - Arrives on time and prepared to work; budgets time an meets deadlines when performing technical tasks and projects.
  • Safety - Complies with national, state, and local safety regulations when repairing, calibrating, and installing instruments.
  • Diagnose and Repair Existing Instruments - Assesses, diagnoses, and repairs faulty instruments in measurement and control systems using logical procedures and appropriate test equipment.
  • Install and Configure New Instruments - Builds, configures, and installs new instrument systems according to plans, applying industry construction standards, and ensuring correct system operation when complete.
  • Process Control Optimization - Improve system functions by evaluating control system performance; implements strategies to tune and stabilize control systems.
  • Instrument Calibration - Assesses instrument accuracy and correct inaccuracies using appropriate calibration procedures and test equipment.
  • Documents Instrument Systems - Interprets and creates technical documents (electronic schematics, loop diagrams, and P&IDs) according to industry (EIA, ISA) standards.
  • Self-Directing Learning - Selects and researches relevant information sources to learn new principles, technologies, and techniques.
  • Career Development - Researches and seeks opportunities for promotion and job advancements in work and career settings.

Employment Outlook

The average annual wage in this field is $65,510 with an earning potential of about $77,012 per year.* The need for industry to reduce operating expenses requires continual investment in automation, which means more jobs for instrumentation technicians.

Most program graduates work as instrumentation and process control technicians in bio-pharmaceutical manufacturing facilities, oil refineries, food processing, pulp/paper mills, power plants, metal smelters, systems integrators, research and development or water/sewage treatment facilities. Opportunities also exist in medical instrumentation, chemical plants, canneries, aerospace, sales and communications.

Faculty & Support

Photo of Matthew Ziels
Matthew Ziels
Instrumentation & Control Technology