Penn College’s new automation technology degrees

For more than a century, Pennsylvania College of Technology and its predecessor institutions have adapted to industry needs, so students are prepared to be tomorrow makers upon graduation.

That tradition continues with two new baccalaureate degrees — automation engineering technology in mechatronics and robotics or automation. Applications are being accepted for the majors, which will begin in Fall 2020.

“Both programs reflect the growing demand for advanced skills in automation,” said David Cotner, dean of Penn College’s School of Industrial, Computing and Engineering Technologies.

Advisory committees, consisting of in-field professionals, partner with faculty to ensure that the college’s academic portfolio is relevant and responsive.

“Dedicated faculty, who are vigilant regarding industry trends, and professionals currently working in the field, who contribute their time and expertise, are essential for our curriculum to meet current and future needs,” Cotner said.

Students seeking the mechatronics degree will learn the mechanical and electrical aspects of automation, thanks to 1,000-plus hours of work in state-of-the-art labs and classroom presentations.

Robotics and automation students also will benefit from the mix of hands-on and theoretical instruction to understand the complex automated systems used in the manufacturing of products.

Both majors will share courses focusing on advanced automation concepts in software, robotics and vision and control theory. It’s anticipated that mechanically-inclined individuals will be interested in the mechatronics degree, and those who enjoy electronics and software will choose the robotics and automation option.

Students may first earn an associate degree in electronics and computer engineering technology: Robotics and automation emphasis or mechatronics technology before seamlessly transitioning to either new baccalaureate major.

Potential careers for graduates of both programs overlap. Typical job titles include technical sales, automation integrator, controls technician, mechanical technician, instrumentation or electrical mechanic and controls engineer.