AJAC automation technician apprentice

Automation Technician

2-YEAR | 2,000 HOURS

AJAC Automation Technician occupation

What is an Automation Technician?

AJAC’s Automation Technician Apprenticeship is a 2,000 hour program designed for high school juniors and seniors to develop career-ready skills in the advanced manufacturing industries.

This apprenticeship programs combine paid on-the-job training at an AJAC employer and college-level classroom instruction which can lead to a high school diploma and journey-level card.

Automation technicians repair and maintain the computer-controlled systems and robotic devices used within industrial and commercial facilities to reduce human intervention and maximize efficiency.

Their duties require knowledge of electronics, mechanics, pneumatics and computers.

Complete the Youth Apprenticeship Application
AJAC Automation Technician enrollment

Enrollment Process

Each winter, AJAC begins recruitment for our Youth Apprenticeship programs. Recruitment is done in conjunction with the high schools and school districts that have agreed to partner with AJAC.

Prospective students are encouraged to attend our information sessions to better learn about the benefits of becoming a Youth Apprentice. AJAC has partnered with nearly 300 advanced manufacturers to provide supervised and structured on-the-job training. Youth Apprentices can only work for companies that agree to hire them.

Prior to enrollment, AJAC will help schedule interviews for employers to hire the Youth Apprentices. Youth Apprentices will work 10-20 hours per week during the school year and full-time during the summer. Pay will vary by employer and number of hours worked.

Your Pathway to Youth Apprenticeship

AJAC has developed 3 pathways for prospective students interested in participating. These pathways provide flexibility to our school districts, students, and employers for different levels of engagement.

3 Pathways to Becoming an Automation Technician
AJAC Automation technician bootcamp
Option 1: Bootcamp
Each July, AJAC will conduct a week-long virtual Youth Apprenticeship bootcamp to ensure our apprentices are prepared for classroom instruction and on-the-job training. Bootcamp will cover OSHA-10 safety, CPR/First-Aid certification, employment readiness training, industry knowledge, and apprenticeship exposure.
AJAC Classes for automation technician occupation
Option 2: AJAC Classes
Youth Apprentices will begin taking AJAC's apprenticeship classes in the fall at their school or skill center. For this, apprentices will take three of the following classes: technical drawings, mechanical systems, fluid power, and welding
Option 3: Apprenticeship
Youth Apprentices will tour local manufacturing facilities, interview with AJAC's partnering employers, and if they are hired, they will begin logging their 2,000 on-the-job training hours. Simultaneously, apprentices will attend their high school classes full-time while finishing their three AJAC apprenticeship classes.

On-the-Job Training Competencies

The table below is a schedule of tasks and hours designed as a guide. The 2,000 hours will be completed over the course of the apprenticeship. The apprentice shall be instructed and trained in all operations and methods customarily used on the various machines. Each company will adhere to the schedule as closely as facilities will permit in order to provide the apprentice with well-rounded experience and practice on all relevant equipment and processes in the shop.

OJT CompetencyApprox. OJT Hours
Basic Machine Operation700
Installation of Production Machinery & Equipment100
Preventative Maintenance of Machinery & Equipment200
Repair of Production Machinery & Equipment200
Inspection, Troubleshooting, Customer Service & Bench Work800

Apprenticeship Classes

AJAC has identified specific apprenticeship classes for school districts to utilize for the Automation Technician Youth Apprenticeship program. Each school that participates must choose three of the four options to implement.

Technical Drawings

Learn to read and interpret engineering drawings and schematics, as well as practice basic drafting. Drawings studied in this class will come both from the text and from industry, and will include machining, fabrication, assemblies, and fluid power systems (only for Automation/Maintenance program).

Maintenance Welding

Explore theory and practice for cutting processes such as oxyfuel cutting, plasma cutting, and ironworker operation. Apprentices will practice welding techniques using the following processes: GMAW (MIG welding), SMAW (stick welding), and OAW.

Mechanical Systems

Learn to maintain all of the elements of a mechanical system.  Apprentices will begin by exploring mechanical fundamentals such energy, mechanical forces, and simple machines. Apprentices will learn to troubleshoot, assemble, and maintain couplings, gears, pulleys, chains, sprockets, and brakes.

Fluid Power Systems

Apprentices will explore the fundamentals of fluid power systems, including structures and components, operation, safety, as well as interpreting related standards, symbols, and diagrams. Hydraulic fluid types, properties, handling, and maintenance topics will be covered.

Automation Technician apprentice at Magic Metals

Where Will I Work and How Much Will I Earn?

AJAC has partnered with 300+ advanced manufacturers to provide supervised and structured on-the-job training.

Youth Apprentices can only work for companies that agree to hire them.

Youth Apprentices will work 10-20 hours per week during the school year and full-time during the summer. Apprentices will have the option to work full-time during school breaks. Pay will vary by employer and number of hours worked.

Employer We Partner With
Automation technician classes

Where Are Classes Held?

Classes will be held one or two days a week either at a partnering high school or skill center.

Depending on the school district, Youth Apprentices will take their classes either during the school day or after school.

During this time, apprentices will learn the theory behind the art of advanced manufacturing from the industry’s top instructors.

Schools We Partner With

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How Much Does the Program Cost?

AJAC’s Youth Apprenticeship is a no-cost program for qualified apprentices or employers.

What Does It Take To Succeed?

You should be detail-oriented, a problem-solver and capable of working independently and as part of a team. You should also have a good work ethic, basic math skills and an interest in working with your hands.

Will I Earn College Credits?

All Youth Apprentices have the opportunity to earn 15 tuition-free college credits from a local community or technical college once they are working and logging on-the-job training hours in a manufacturing facility. 

Why Apprenticeship and Advanced Manufacturing?

Apprenticeships are the ideal vehicle to teach young adults job-ready skills through mentorship while providing quality education and creating productive, lifelong learners.

What is the Job Market in Advanced Manufacturing?

Over the next decade, nearly 3.5 million manufacturing jobs will likely be needed across the United States. Locally here in Washington, there are 1,400 aerospace companies and over 6,500 manufacturers.

Is STEM Incorporated in Youth Apprenticeship?

Yes! STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) principles are integrated throughout the advanced manufacturing industry as well as AJAC’s college-level classes. Youth Apprentices will learn about metallurgy, advanced technology used in industry, engineering drawings and blueprints, and math for manufacturing.

Youth Apprenticeship badge

Minimum Qualifications


Prior to enrolling in one of our programs, it’s important to know whether or not your high school and/or school district has partnered with AJAC. Not too sure? Check out the schools currently using our Youth Apprenticeship program.

To launch your career as an Automation Technician, you will need to meet the minimum qualifications:

  • You must be a high school junior or senior enrolled in a school district AJAC has partnered with
  • A minimum grade point average (GPA) of 2.0
  • Recommended by a teacher from a school AJAC has partnered with
  • Completed and passed Algebra Level 1
  • Must have transportation to and from work site
  • If you have met the minimum qualifications, you can apply via our online application.

Get Started & Apply Today!