HOUSTON - LSC-University Park’s mechatronics program is bridging the gap between education and employment through course offerings that can be tailored to a student’s individual career goals. The program offers three degree paths, from immediate workforce training to an associate degree that can be applied towards a bachelor’s degree.
Mechatronics is an area of study that combines mechanical engineering, robotics and computer technology. Positions in this field manage the automation of processes in oil drilling, auto manufacturing and other high-tech industries where machines are integral and where employers often lack skilled personnel.
“Part of being the community’s college, is providing the educational foundation to help our students reach their individual career goals while meeting the workforce needs of Houston’s major industries,” said Dr. Shah Ardalan, LSC-University Park president. “There is a great demand for skilled workers in the field of mechatronics, both locally and beyond. Our program is helping build the workforce to fill those positions.”
Students who want to learn the essential skills needed for entry-level manufacturing positions can take advantage of the 12-week Pre-Apprentice Mechatronics Workforce Certificate program at LSC-University Park’s Energy & Manufacturing Institute. To earn the certificate, students complete nine classes that encompass core skills they can apply in any industrial environment.
In addition to the fast-track certificate program, LSC-University Park offers a Mechatronics Technician Certificate two-year program, and a Mechatronics Technician Associate of Applied Science (AAS) degree that leads to a bachelor’s degree at a four-year college or university.
“Allowing students the opportunity to customize their education and adapt it to their needs is part of how we ensure that we provide a unique and relevant learning experience to each student,” said Steven Kahla, dean of instruction. “We know that every student has different goals and that businesses look for employees with diverse skills, and it is our responsibility to supply each of them with the necessary resources to be successful.”
An automated manufacturing line system will be installed this spring to further help students apply what they learn in class in a real industrial setting. The $1 million investment enables students to fully experience the manufacturing and assembly logistics that go into new product development. The hands-on experience will make them more marketable when they apply for positions where employers value candidates who are already familiar with the equipment and technology they will use in the workplace.
Students can take advantage of the many financial aid opportunities available to complete their program of study with little or no debt. Annual salaries in mechatronics range from $35,000 with the Fast-track Pre-apprentice Workforce certificate, to more than $60,000 with the Mechatronics AAS degree, depending on position and industry.
Norman White, an LSC-University Park student in his final year of the Mechatronics Technician AAS program, plans to be a mechanical/electrical service technician in the oil field industry. He enrolled at LSC-University Park to take courses he could use in his career now and apply to a higher degree in the future.
“I like that these are hands-on classes in which I learn skills that I can really use in the field,” said White. “I also become more familiar with the material, so I can complete the mechanical engineering degree. It’s a wise investment that will put me ahead.”
For more information, please visit www.LoneStar.edu/WF-Energy-Manufacturing-Construction, or call 281.655.3788.