PLC technician questions?

Discussion in 'Career Advising' started by pfelectronicstech, Jun 17, 2012.

  1. pfelectronicstech

    Thread Starter Member

    Jan 18, 2012
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    Hello everyone, its been awhile since I have posted on here. I have been hard at work on my Electronics tech. course. 12 more exams, 30 something more books and I graduate with a ET diploma. I am looking at more training that might help with gaining employment and commanding better pay. I have been reading up on how PLC technicians are in demand. There is a local college that is actually very respectable that offers a PLC course online. Great idea? Will it help gaining employment and making more money? Are PLC's really, really hard to learn? Thanks for the help, I appreciate any help you may have.
     
  2. strantor

    AAC Fanatic!

    Oct 3, 2010
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    PLC technician? Is that the title of a real job? That's like "3 way valve technician" - what use would a 3 way valve technician be? It's assumed you'd need a plumber, who carries knowledge of 3 way valves along with the rest of a water system.

    So yeah, training on PLCs wouldn't hurt, but why stop there? Where there are PLCs, there are usually VFDs, motors, pumps, hydraulics, pneumatics, computer networking, electrical controls, and mechanical power transfer going on as well.

    specialization is for insects
     
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  3. pfelectronicstech

    Thread Starter Member

    Jan 18, 2012
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    Thanks and I see what your saying but I don't want to be in school forever, I want to get out and start working with my ET training and PLC training. Thanks for the suggestion, hydraulics actually interests me, so that might be training I might go into as well.
     
  4. strantor

    AAC Fanatic!

    Oct 3, 2010
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    Not all things require schooling. I didn't even receive any formal training on PLCs, I was field taught, mostly by trial & error all by myself. If I had the opportunity I would probably take the PLC training. You're in a good position already. It's easier to teach an ET how to turn wrenches than it is to teach a mechanic how to program a PLC or troubleshoot a control system. If you want to get a small taste of what PLCs are like, here's a tutorial I wrote about ladder logic. It doesn't go into anything PLC specific, just focuses on the physically wired relay circuits, which is what PLCs are mocked up to be like.
     
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  5. GetDeviceInfo

    Senior Member

    Jun 7, 2009
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    Can't agree with this. I'm a career mechanic, and my understanding of the dynamics of motion has made a tremendous impact on my abiltiy to comprehend controls and systems. For me, it was my mechanical background that created interest in controls, which then led to an interest in electrical/electronics. During my early days, most controls/instrumentation were of a mechanical nature.

    PLCs are not difficult to comprehend if you have some programming knowledge. A lot of todays' PLC allow code in forms other than ladder. PLCs are often much like any other piece of equipment, and as such, you won't see wage increments because they fall under your watch.

    Implementing PLCs however fall under an entirely different scope, which can often command higher wages.

    But you need to start somewhere. My suggestion would be to get hands on over online.
     
  6. #12

    Expert

    Nov 30, 2010
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    Therein lies the rub. It is easy to find mechanics that won't even try to learn programming. Then again it is easy to find electronics nerds that refuse to get their hands dirty.

    Old joke: How many mainframe operators are needed to change a transistor?
    None. That's a hardware problem.
     
  7. strantor

    AAC Fanatic!

    Oct 3, 2010
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    I'll always defer to what you say because I know you've been doing this a lot longer than me and seen more, but honestly (with yourself) when you think across the whole field of people who are excellent machine troubleshooters with both electronic & mechanical skills, which side did they come from? I suspect you're a minority. I only know one guy who went from mechanic to controls and several who went the other way around.
     
  8. pfelectronicstech

    Thread Starter Member

    Jan 18, 2012
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    Ok guys thank you for the info, I appreciate it. I just read it was smart for an ET to get this training and ET's with PLC training can make $65,000 and up. Accurate or not? Is it hard to break into a first ET/PLC job?
     
  9. strantor

    AAC Fanatic!

    Oct 3, 2010
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    Sure that's about what I make, but I work 60+ hrs/week. If I worked straight 40hrs, I would make about 40,000. In my previous job (oil field service technician) I was travelling all over the world and making 6 figures. I'm not sure how hard it would be for you, because I came a different route - military. So results will vary. might be easier for you. look around and see whats out there, check out monster, careerbuilder, etc. and staffing agencies/headhunters. I get weekly emails of jobs that meet the criteria I selected.
     
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  10. pfelectronicstech

    Thread Starter Member

    Jan 18, 2012
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    Thanks again, I check employment agencies everyday and I see jobs that pay 25 to 30 an hour, sometimes even more but they all want two years experience at least. After my graduation of the ET course and PLC course should I apply to the those "2 years experience" jobs anyway to see what happens? Anyway I've got some time before I can apply anyway, thanks again for the help.
     
  11. gerty

    AAC Fanatic!

    Aug 30, 2007
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    In my class I teach Electronics and Industrial Electricity. All students get some training on PLC's. We are not a programming school, all we teach is how to connect with RSLogix, and monitor inputs and outputs. A student also has to write a few small programs to demonstrate the fact that he understands addressing and I/O types. Students must also understand how I/O wiring is connected.
     
  12. GetDeviceInfo

    Senior Member

    Jun 7, 2009
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    you don't get if you don't ask.
     
  13. strantor

    AAC Fanatic!

    Oct 3, 2010
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    I've been watching the trend as unemployment looms. I guess there's more fish in the sea so the companies can be more picky about who they hire. When I hired on at my last job (mid 2008), I hired on with a guy who used to be an operator in an ice cream factory. He got the job (as a technician) because of his experience in an industrial setting. Now they are asking for assosciates degrees and 5 yrs experience for the same job. I've seen technician jobs posted with engineer requirements.

    I say this not to depress you, but to illustrate the difference between what they're *asking for* and what it really takes to fill the position. The person doing the interviews and the hiring on 6/18/2012 is probably the same person who was doing the interviews and hiring prior to 2008, so he has put lesser qualified people (those with <2yrs exp) into that position before and he has a feel for who is going to perform well in the position. So if he's impressed with your knowledge he may well hire you anyway.
     
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