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Hydraulic and Pneumatic Automation

We look forward to becoming a part of your educational journey. If you are interested in machine automation, and you enjoy learning about science and technology, a career as a fluid power technician could be an excellent path for you.

In this program, you’ll learn to repair, maintain and help design pneumatics (compressed air) and hydraulics (pressurized oil) systems. Through hands-on learning in the lab, you’ll develop skills in advanced fluid power circuits and circuit design, machine shop tools, component repair, programmable controllers, arc welding, hydraulic component testing, and fluid line fabrication.

As a graduate of the program, you’ll be ready to take the test to become nationally certified by the Fluid Power Society. Whether you want to stay in the Northwest or work overseas, this program positions you for opportunities in manufacturing, mining, fishing, wood products, food processing and other industries that use automated technologies.

Useful Links

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Here are a few organizations to contact for more information about hydraulic and pneumatic automation technology:

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  1. A thorough knowledge of individual hydraulic and pneumatic components, the application and proper installation of each, preventative maintenance procedures and potential service problems.
  2. Read and understand hydraulic and pneumatic schematics as they relate to machine operation.
  3. Have hands-on experience in hydraulic systems fluid line layout and installation.
  4. Read and interpret electrical schematics as they relate to machine sequence of operation.
  5. Working knowledge of the use of electrical control to sequence solenoid valves and control machine functions.
Students who successfully complete the second year of this program will:
  1. Repair hydraulic and pneumatic components.
  2. Lay out manifolds and understand the use and application of cartridge type valves in manifolds.
  3. Understand complex automated machine operation using programmable controller and relay logic.
  4. Troubleshoot automated machinery using electrical, pneumatic and hydraulic schematics.
  5. Use computer for word processing and database for parts inventory control, invoicing and back ordering.
  6. Use CAD programs for making schematic drawings and designing hydraulic manifolds.
  7. Understand the uses of programmable controllers to sequence and monitor machine functions on automated equipment.
  8. Install and maintain complex electronic controlled hydraulic equipment.
  9. Write and troubleshoot PLC programs for precision machine operation.
  10. Understand basic motion control.

Graduates from the Hydraulic and Pneumatic Automation Technology program have developed skills to qualify for employment in hydraulic and pneumatic sales, automated equipment fabrication or plant machinery maintenance work.

Activities in sales and distribution vary from warehousing, inside sales, purchasing, outside sales, power unit fabrication to field service work. Each area offers challenging work, with most employers providing on-the-job training for product familiarization and developing the special skills required for sales and service in pneumatic automation products.

Activities include equipment or circuit design, shop assembly, installation of complex electro-hydraulic systems, field installation of new equipment or servicing existing equipment. Field service can involve world travel with a lot of time away from home. Activities in industrial plant maintenance vary from installing new equipment to troubleshooting and repairing existing equipment. This requires developing analytical procedures and certain mechanical abilities or skills to improve equipment performance and reliability.

A 2.0 GPA or better must be maintained in all hydraulic and pneumatic automation technology coursework before advancing to the subsequent quarter. Students not meeting this minimum requirement may repeat the course(s) one time before progressing. A student who is below the minimum 2.0 GPA may seek a one-time waiver with the approval of the division dean.

Breaking Ground on Your Pathway


Math placement is not required for this program.
English placement is not required for this program.

Plan Your Courses

Meet with our counselors to customize this plan just for you. You can also search the quarterly schedule for class days and times.

Program Map for


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Total Program Credits: 116

Program Courses

First Quarter

Course ID
Course Title
Introduction to Computers for Technology  
FLPT 121
Pneumatic Theory  
FLPT 122
Drawing Fundamentals  
FLPT 123
Machine Controls  
Total Credits

Second Quarter

Course ID
Course Title
FLPT 111
Hydraulic Calculations  
FLPT 112
Hydraulic Basics and Theory  
FLPT 113
Blueprint Reading  
FLPT 114
Basic Hydraulics Lab  
Total Credits

Third Quarter

Course ID
Course Title
Applied Written Communication   1
FLPT 131
Hydraulic Systems  
FLPT 132
Fluid Line Fabrication  
FLPT 133
Fluid Line Connectors  
FLPT 134
Shop Drawing  
FLPT 135
Fluid Line Sizing Calculations  
Total Credits

Fourth Quarter

Course ID
Course Title
Leadership Skills for Business and Industry   1
FLPT 230
Advanced Pneumatics Theory  
FLPT 231
Advanced Pneumatics Lab  
FLPT 232
Mechanical Drive Systems Theory  
FLPT 233
Mechanical Drive Systems Lab  
FLPT 234
Velocity and Load Calculations  
FLPT 243
Advanced Machine Controls  
Total Credits

Fifth Quarter

Course ID
Course Title
Employment Preparation   1
FLPT 251
Hydraulic Circuits  
FLPT 252
Hydraulic Component Repair  
FLPT 253
Fluid Line Layout and Assembly  
FLPT 254
Advanced Hydraulics Lab  
FLPT 279
Proportional Valves  
Total Credits

Sixth Quarter

Course ID
Course Title
FLPT 264
Fluid Power Computer Applications   2
FLPT 265
Hydraulic Circuit Design   2
FLPT 268
Fluid Power Application and Sales   2
FLPT 269
Hydraulic Manifold Design   2
Total Credits
1 This related education requirement may be met by any course or combination of courses approved by the instructional dean.
2 Sixth quarter courses may be substituted with the following courses with department permission: FLPT 266 (1 credit) and FLPT 267 (1-16 credits).
  • Tuition

  • Resident

  • Non-Resident

  • International

  • Avg. Books

  • Estimated Course Fees


Costs for completing a degree or certificate can vary. For more information about costs, visit our How Much Does it Cost? page.

  • George Hollwedel
    George Hollwedel
    Fluid Power Technology
    A.A.S., Spokane Community College; B.A., Eastern Washington University; M.P.A., Eastern Washington University
  • John Norman
    John Norman
    Fluid Power Technology
    A.A.S., Spokane Community College; Certified Pneumatic Technician; Certified Pneumatic Specialist; Certified Fluid Power Instructor

Hydraulic and Pneumatic Automation Technology positions exist with companies all over the world, and there are more jobs than graduates to fill them. Women and nontraditional students have excellent placement in the fluid power industry.

Although the job market in Spokane is highly competitive, most of our graduates remain in the Northwest and work in manufacturing, mining, fishing, wood products and food processing industries.

Graduates may specialize in distributor sales, system design, plant maintenance and troubleshooting, and the manufacture and installation of automated machinery.

Please visit the Career Services page for more information on finding employment. 

We graduate approximately 15-20 students each year. If you would like to hire one of our graduates, please contact John Norman at 509-768-2593.

We offer a two-year Hydraulic and Pneumatic Automation Technician Associate in Applied Science degree (A.A.S.) and a one-year certificate. The degree option takes six quarters to complete, and the certificate takes four quarters.

Hydraulic and Pneumatic Automation Technician students concentrate their studies in one of two areas:

Mechanical installation and repair of hydraulic/pneumatic components prepares students for jobs in industrial plant maintenance and field service. This area is ideal if you enjoy working with your hands to repair equipment or to fabricate and assemble new machines.

Technical sales and design prepares students for inside technical sales, outside technical sales and hydraulic/pneumatic circuit design. This area is for you if you like working with customers to decrease machine downtime or to increase a machine's speed and efficiency. The work involves creating new circuits to match customer needs and calculating or sizing circuit components to meet speed and force requirements.

Hydraulic and Pneumatic Automation Technology Specialist students develop a background in the electronic control of hydraulic and pneumatic valves so they can assist in the design and assembly of electronically-controlled fluid power systems. They become qualified to troubleshoot and maintain these automated systems.

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