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Is GBC’s Automation Technician Program Right For You?


In the past few decades, automation has rapidly disrupted and changed industries by redefining responsibilities of existing jobs, and introduced new fields and roles. For example, consider the evolution of Amazon’s warehouses—self-organizing robotic shelves now work with workers to fulfil a high volume of orders quickly and efficiently for rapid delivery, which would not have been possible decades ago! With these changes comes numerous exciting and rewarding career opportunities, as there is high demand for the skills and knowledge to design, install and maintain these automated systems.

Are you considering the Automation Technician Certificate? Let’s discuss what you’ll learn and some factors to consider prior to enrolling.

The Automation Technician Certificate Program

Colin Simpson, the Dean of Continuous Learning at George Brown College School of Distance Education explains that the online Automation Technician Certificate program was developed to provide a “comprehensive knowledge of electricity, electronics, electro-mechanics, robotics, and automation (PLCs)”. As this program is multi-disciplinary, it incorporates content ranging from distributed control system applications to robot programming, to DC motors. It is a great introduction and foundation to understanding industrial automation in general.

Our Automation Technician program is unique because:

  1. No background in automation or post-secondary academic prerequisites are required prior to enrollment, whereas other certificate programs may require working knowledge of automated processes prior to starting.

  2. The LogixSim simulation software, which is included with the program, combines 4 simulators in one offering unlimited possibilities in the design, testing and debugging of control systems and automated equipment as well as circuit schematics and systems.


What You’ll Learn in the Program

Students in the Automation Technician Certificate program will learn electromechanical, programmable logic controllers, and robotics content. The program contains 18 modules—5 modules focus on electromechanical content, 8 modules focus on PLCs, and 5 modules focus on robotics.

Content covered includes a wide range of applications and practical examples of automated manufacturing, both theory and function of digital and industrial electronics, hydraulics and pneumatics, robotic systems, programming languages, alarm management, distributed control systems (DCS), and SCADA systems. The simulation training software in the program, LogixSim (which includes CircuitLogix, RoboLogix, PLCLogix, 3Dlab) allows students to design, program, install, troubleshoot industrial electronic, robotics, and PLC equipment to gain hands-on-experience.

Important Factors to Consider

There a few factors to consider prior to enrolling in the program:

1. Your level of education and experience working with electronics, PLC, and/or robotics

The Automation Technician Certificate program is an introduction to industrial automation and is better for those who want to learn about the automation field as a whole. After certificate completion, students can specialize and pursue a certificate in electronics, electromechanics, PLC, or robotics. Module exemptions can be applied while completing another technical certificate, which will reduce the number of modules students will have to complete for another certificate. Here is a guide to the Automation Technician program module exemptions.

2. Your education and career goals

Identifying the knowledge and skills you want to obtain and what type of manufacturing environment and equipment you plan on working with is important in determining which program would best benefit you.

3. Your current workplace environment

What types of skills and knowledge are in demand within your organization, and are you considering training for them? As well, consider what process control system your current workplace uses. Is there more than one type of process control system? If your workplace works with one process control system, a technical training program for that particular system may be what you need. However, if your company works with multiple control systems (e.g. distributed control systems, PLC, SCADA), and has robotics and electromechanical responsibilities, consider the Automation Technician Certificate program as it provides a broad overview of these areas.

Regardless of your level of education and experience with industrial automation, the Automation Technician Certificate program helps prepare students for an exciting career in automation, process control, PLCs, robotics, and motor control upon completion.

In Conclusion

The Automation Technician Certificate program is a great introduction to the field of industrial automation. Students learn about electromechanical systems, programmable logic controllers, and robotics, and can choose to pursue further studies in these individual fields after program completion. Graduates complete the program in an average of about 32 weeks, and will have received their preliminary training on how to design, install, and maintain electronic equipment used in industrial processes and work on a wide range of control systems.

If you’re still considering the automation program and would like to know more, contact us! You can speak to a Program Consultant toll-free at 1 888-553-5333 or email us at


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