Have you ever wondered what’s inside your cell phone? Ever thought about taking apart your PlayStation or Xbox game system to see how it works? How about building a robot?

If you answered yes to any of the above questions, you may enjoy a career in the automation sciences. Learn what you can do in elementary school and high school to understand if this is the career for you!


Automation FAQ

Why is the automation professional so important?
What is automation?
How do I prepare for a career in automation?
What can I earn?
What should I start doing now?
ISA/ Resources

Why is the automation professional so important?

Think about the cell phone and computer you use every day to do your job. Think about the car you drive every day. Think about the television you watch, video games you play, or music system you listen to. Think about the food you eat; water you drink; and clothes you wear. Just about anything you can think of is the result of complex processes. Without talented individuals to design, build, improve, and maintain these processes, these technological advances would never have occurred and future innovations would be impossible. Without automation professionals, our world and our future would be very different.

Automation professionals are responsible for solving complex problems in many vital aspects of industry and its processes. The work of automation professionals is critically important to the preservation of the health, safety, and welfare of the public and to the sustainability and enhancement of our quality of life.

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What is Automation?

Automation  is “the technique of making an apparatus, a process, or a system operate automatically.”

In the case of manufacturing, automated machines or devices have ‘controls’ that allow something to work or happen without being directly controlled by a person.

Virtually all industry uses some form of automation. Some examples:

  • Manufacturing, food and pharmaceutical, chemical and petroleum, pulp and paper
  • Transportation, automotive, aerospace, and rail
  • Utilities, water and wastewater, oil and gas, electric power, and telecommunications
  • Facility operations, security, environmental control, energy management, safety, and other building automation
  • Cybersecurity, process measurement and control, sensors, wireless applications, systems integration, test measurement
Automation involves a very broad range of technologies including robotics and expert systems, telemetry and communications, electro-optics.

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How do I prepare for a career in automation?

More math, computer and electronics skills are required in today’s manufacturing jobs/careers.

There are few degree programs in the U.S. available in automation engineering. Therefore, most Automation Engineers earn their bachelor’s degrees in mechanical or electrical engineering and then learn the intricacies of automation engineering on the job. Automation technology is advancing so rapidly that it takes one to three years for graduates of other engineering disciplines to perform at a professional level in the automation field.

Automation Technicians require a high school diploma or GED, though many employers prefer an associate’s degree in a related field. Certification is available for the specific profession as well as for pieces of equipment from specific manufacturers.

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What can I earn?

Automation Engineers earned an average of $106,000 per year while Automation Technicians had a median salary of $53,000. (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2015 data)

Automation is constantly being added to make processes more reliable, efficient, streamlined, safer, faster and less costly. This allows continuous improvements and competitiveness of our electric power systems, transportation systems, manufacturing operations, and industry as a whole.

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What should I start doing now?

Students in Elementary School & High School:

Students in High School:

Take classes at Lehigh Career and Technical Institute to learn the basics and have the option to go directly into the workforce, or continue on to get a 4 year engineering degree at a college.

LCTI classes:

  • Apply for an internship at local companies while taking the above mentioned classes. Get paid to learn.


Post High School:

2 year programs (graduates go directly into workforce or transfer to a 4 year college)…

Northampton County Community College:

Lehigh Carbon Community College:

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About ISA

The International Society of Automation ( is a nonprofit professional association that sets the standard for those who apply engineering and technology to improve the management, safety, and cybersecurity of modern automation and control systems used across industry and critical infrastructure. Founded in 1945, ISA develops widely used global standards; certifies industry professionals; provides education and training; publishes books and technical articles; hosts conferences and exhibits; and provides networking and career development programs for its 40,000 members and 400,000 customers around the world.

ISA owns, a leading online publisher of automation-related content, and is the founding sponsor of The Automation Federation (, an association of non-profit organizations serving as “The Voice of Automation.” Through a wholly owned subsidiary, ISA bridges the gap between standards and their implementation with the ISA Security Compliance Institute ( and the ISA Wireless Compliance Institute (

Additional information/resources…

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