Automation for Industrial Systems

Student doing hands-on work in the automation lab

Automation for Industrial Systems

Unique in the State

Associate Degree

64 Credits | 2 Years

Financial Aid-Eligible

New Richmond

Career Cluster: Manufacturing

Graduates install, troubleshoot, program and repair electrical, light mechanical and computer systems used in industry to control and automate machines or processes.  

The equipment you will use controls machines used in manufacturing and equipment used to control continuous processes. Examples include power utilities, petrochemical and chemical, paper, plastics, municipal water and wastewater, food and beverage, pharmaceutical, renewable energy, and control equipment support by vendors and engineering firms.  

As a graduate, you can secure employment as Field Service Engineers, Automation Engineers, Instrumentation Technicians, Control Systems Programmers, Control Systems Designers, Process Operators, and Maintenance Technicians. 

Program Overview

Process and manufacturing plants employ technicians to keep their machines and processing running, and install and maintain equipment. In this two-year associate degree program, you will be prepared to be employed at the technician level or higher on computers, industrial computer networks, programmable logic controllers (PLCs), and process instruments. You will have both classroom and hands-on laboratory instruction with several systems to gain an understanding of computer and PLC interfacing, control systems, network installation and network administration.

Program integrates advanced manufacturing (Industry 4.0) competencies to meet the regional need for skilled employees.

Program Outcomes

Employers will expect Automation for Industrial Systems graduates to be able to:

  • Support basic computer networks
  • Support client systems
  • Utilize network operating systems
  • Apply basic IT security principles
  • Demonstrate safe practices and techniques
  • Perform installations of controls hardware/software/cabling
  • Perform installations and supportive functions for LAN/communication busses
  • Perform programming and configuration of Programmable Logic Controllers (PLCs) and Distributed Control Systems (DCSs)
  • Integrate control systems
  • Troubleshoot hardware/software of PLCs, instrumentation and control systems
  • Develop system documentation

This program is unique in the state, so you'll obtain a unique set of skills that no other school in the state can provide. 

Technology in the automation lab

Information is presented in a classroom setting and then applied in the lab. Equipment used in the lab is kept current to match what is being used in industry.

Student working with technology in WITC's automation lab

Employers need graduates to replace retiring baby boomers and to grow their business. 

Technology in the automation lab

You will spend much of your first year learning IT skills so you can hit the ground running. 


Automation for Industrial Systems program classes are offered at the New Richmond campus in a traditional classroom and lab format. 

Career Pathways

As an Automation for Industrial Systems student at WITC, you can earn credentials every step of the way! Graduates of the program earn an IT Network Technician technical diploma, an Industrial Systems Specialist technical diploma and an associate degree in Automation for Industrial Systems.

Club Activities

You can join the ISA Club and participate in fieldtrips and regional competitions. Other clubs include Veteran’s Club and Student Senate.

100% of Grads Employed

According to the recent Graduate Survey Responses, 100 percent of Automation for Industrial Systems graduates were employed within six months of graduating. 


Program specific subjects covered include process control, instrumentation, PLC programming and supervisory control. Other classes include Industrial networking, power electronics, and supervisory and distributed control concepts.  

Explore the Curriculum

Featured Automation for Industrial Systems Courses

| 3 CR
Cisco CCNA 2 Routing and Switching Essentials (RSE) covers the architecture, components, and operations of routers and switches in a small network. Students learn how to configure, device management, switch ports, security, VLANs, Static and Dynamic routing, DHCP (v4 and v6), NAT and ACLs on routers and switches. At the completion of this course student may achieve a discount voucher for the CCENT certification exam. PREREQUISITE: 10150111 Cisco CCNA 1 Introduction to Networks.
| 3 CR
PLC Programming and Interfacing offers students a hands-on approach to implementing industrial control by integrating typical plant floor electrical components with microprocessor-based controllers. Students will learn to identify and connect field inputs and outputs; communicate with, and program microprocessor-based controllers. Students will also connect, communicate with, and develop displays for computer-based operator interfaces. PREREQUISITE: 10605167 Electricity 1.
| 2 CR
The Industrial Power Electronics course is a hands-on course dealing with the electronics that are used to control, power, and operate machines and processes in the modern manufacturing plant. The course includes the study and use of the oscilloscope and digital multimeter, thyristors, ICs, and AC, DC, stepper and servo motor drive systems. PREREQUISITE: 10605167 Electricity 1 or equivalent.

Automation for Industrial Systems is Part of a Career Pathway

As an Automation for Industrial Systems student at WITC, you can earn credentials each step of the way. 

Download the Career Pathway Map

This technical diploma is embedded in the Automation for Industrial Systems program.

IT - Network Technician

Technical Diploma
19 Credits / Less than 1 Year; Part-time options available
Potential Careers
Computer Technician, Network Technician
Range of Yearly Salary
$35,357-$43,000, annually
Arrow pointing down

You could take this first and get a credential.

Technical Diploma
26 Credits / 1 Year Full Time
Potential Careers
Field Service Technician, Instrumentation and Controls Technician (I&C), Electrical and Instrument Technician (E&I), Service Technician, Electrical Maintenance Technician
Range of Yearly Salary
$33,277-$41,600 annually
Arrow pointing down

This is the program you’re looking at.

Associate Degree
64 Credits / 2 Years Full Time; 3 Years Part Time
Potential Careers
Control Systems Technician, Instrument Technician, Programmable Logic Controller (PLC) Technician, Industrial Automation Technician, Computer Technician, Network Technician, Controls Engineer, Automation Engineer
Range of Yearly Salary
$41,597-$61,000 annually
Arrow pointing down

Continue your education to obtain a bachelor's degree. 

Admissions and Tuition

WITC has a simple admission process that can be completed in one visit. To start the process, simply fill out an application form along with a $30 application fee. After you’ve successfully submitted your application, your next step is to schedule an admissions meeting with a WITC counselor to discuss your goals and expectations. That’s it!

Tuition and Fees

WITC breaks down the cost of education, so you'll have a good idea of how much your education will cost.

Financial Aid

Financial aid is available to help you pay for your education. It can come in the form of grants, loans, federal work study, military and veterans benefits, division of vocational rehabilitation benefits and scholarships. 

Learn More About Paying for College

Estimated Total Program Costs 2020-21*

Automation for Industrial Systems

64 Credits | 2 Years


$700 for tools, supplies and uniforms

*Tuition is an estimate and does not include any miscellaneous fees for various courses, tools, books, supplies or uniforms. Program book costs are in addition to tuition and fees and vary depending on course selection and where the books are purchased or rented. 

After the WITC Automation for Industrial Systems Program

Upon completion of the program, you will obtain technical diplomas in IT-Network Technician and Industrial Systems Specialist and an associate degree in Automation for Industrial Systems.

Student studying at a computer

Transfer Options

Transfer your WITC credits to a four-year college in Wisconsin to obtain your bachelor's degree and beyond. 

View Transfer Options

Career Outlooks

WITC's graduates experience success. Learn more about the types of careers you can get after graduation.

View Career Options

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Choose a campus to view contact information, or for general assistance, please contact us.

Rice Lake Admissions Contact

Shawn Larson

Admissions Advisor

800.243.9482 ext. 5220


Ashland Admissions Contact

Jennifer Bednarik

Admissions Advisor

800.243.9482 ext. 3195


New Richmond Admissions Contact

Jodi Saliny

Admissions Advisor

800.243.9482 ext. 4339


Superior Admissions Contact

Mary Glad

Admissions Advisor

800.243.9482 ext. 6243


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