Fluid Power Technicians
Education and Training Requirements
If you are considering a career in fluid power, you should take as many courses as possible in computer science and mathematics. Physics, shop, drafting, and English classes will also provide a solid background for this type of work.
In the past, you could become a fluid power technician with only a high school diploma and, perhaps, some related technical experience. Technicians were trained in fluid power technology by their employers or by taking short courses or workshops. Today, however, most employers prefer to hire fluid power technicians who have at least two years of post-high school training, such as that offered by community and technical colleges.
There are relatively few technical training programs that focus primarily on hydraulics and fluid power technology—fewer than 15 schools in the United States offer certificates or associate's degrees. Visithttp://www.fpef.org/schools/schools-with-fluid-power for a list of schools that offer fluid power courses and degrees. A student enrolled in one of these programs might expect to take classes on very specialized topics, such as fluid power math, process and fabrication fundamentals, hydraulic components and accessories, pneumatic components and circuits, and advanced systems calculations. They will also participate in an internship or co-op with a fluid power company. If it is not possible to attend one of the schools that offer programs in fluid power, training in a related field (such as mechanical or electrical technology) can provide adequate preparation for employment.
Other Education or Training
The International Fluid Power Society offers classes, workshops, and web seminars on mobile hydraulics, industrial hydraulics, industrial mechanics, industrial pneumatics, electrical theory, AC/DC motors and drives, and other topics. The National Fluid Power Association offers continuing education opportunities online and at its conferences. Contact these organizations for more information.
Certification, Licensing, and Special Requirements
Certification or Licensing
Certification for fluid power technicians is voluntary. The International Fluid Power Society offers several certifications, including the fluid power certified technician and the fluid power certified mechanic designations. To receive either designation, applicants must pass a written examination and an on-the-job performance test. These certifications may help technicians find jobs, obtain more advanced positions, or receive higher pay.
Experience, Skills, and Personality Traits
Students should obtain as much experience in the field as possible by participating in summer internships, co-ops, and part-time jobs at fluid power-related employers.
Technicians must be able to understand and analyze mechanical systems. In order to do this well, you should have both mechanical aptitude and an analytical mind-set. Because you will often work as a member of a team, an ability to work well and communicate easily with others is important. Finally, you should enjoy challenges and the process of troubleshooting problems.