Instrumentation and Control Technology

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

Data are provided on a program (not credential) level

65% BTC graduate placement rate1

$59,847 starting annual wage2
$72,689 average annual wage2
$86,252 potential annual wage2

  • Employment and Wage Data Sources

    1Employment data come from the Washington State Board for Community and Technical Colleges (SBCTC) and reflect WA/OR employment for students enrolled at BTC between 2016-17 and 2018-19. Students are included in the employment rate if they left with a credential. Rates are not shown for programs with fewer than 10 students meeting the above criteria.

    2Wage data come from Washington State Employment Security Department (ESD) 2020 Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates (Washington State wage) and reflect 2015-2018 employment. Wage data represent occupations that BTC faculty have identified as the most relevant career paths for program graduates. Note that these wages reflect employees with varying educational levels/credentials. For cases in which multiple occupations have been identified by faculty, a weighted percentile is calculated using each occupation’s percentile wage and employment size estimate. Wages are not shown for programs for which occupations do not meet the ESD’s minimum thresholds for publishing. If the program has wage data from the Washington SBCTC that involves shift work, these ESD wages reflect the same number of hours used in the annual wage calculation. Starting wage = 25th percentile, median wage = 50th percentile, wage potential = 75th percentile.

Estimated Program Costs

Entry Information

When Can I Start?

This program admits students in the Fall, one time per 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.

Early 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

Total Program Credits: 118

  • 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