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

Automation uses a wide range of technologies to control systems. After just two years, a career awaits in this fast-growing and high-paying industry! In this career, you will install, troubleshoot, program and repair automated machines or processes. According to Northwood Tech's recent survey results, 100% of grads in the Automation for Industrial Systems program were employed within six months of graduating. You could also continue your education with one of Northwood Tech's university transfer options. 

Program Overview

After successful completion of this two-year program, you will be prepared to work with computers, industrial computer networks, programmable logic controllers (PLCs) and other automated processes. 

You will have both classroom and hands-on labs to gain an understanding of computer and PLC interfacing, control systems, network installation and network administration.

This 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

Automation for Industrial Systems is unique in the state. You will obtain a unique set of skills that no other school in the state can provide. 

Student working with technology in the automation lab

Work with state-of-the-art equipment that is used in the industry. 

Technology in the automation lab

A high-paying career in a growing industry. 

A student doing hands-on work in the automation lab

You will spend much of your first year learning IT skills.


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 Northwood Tech, 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 International Society of Automation 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 Northwood Tech, 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
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Earn a technical diploma.

Technical Diploma
28 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
$37,818 annually
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Continue your education to achieve an associate degree.

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
Insufficient data to report
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Upon successful completion of the Automation for Industrial Systems program, you could transfer your credits and obtain a bachelor's degree. 

Admissions and Tuition

Northwood Tech 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 Northwood Tech counselor to discuss your goals and expectations. That’s it!

Tuition and Fees

Northwood Tech 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 Northwood Tech 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 Northwood Tech credits to a four-year college to obtain your bachelor's degree and beyond. 

View Transfer Options

Career Outlooks

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

View Career Options

An employee write notes work in production control room. There is a computer in the control of machinery at feed mills.


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

Rice Lake Admissions Contact

Tia Dietz

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

Rachel Lee

Admissions Advisor

800.243.9482 ext. 6243


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