Electrical Power Systems at College of San Mateo - Frequently asked Questions
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Electrical Power Systems
Frequently Asked Questions

What kinds of technical jobs are available in the utility industry?
The utility industry has several technical job categories that are essential for proper operation of the Bay Area's electrical system, the water distribution system, and the wastewater collection system. These jobs include:
  • Electrical technician
  • Instrument and control technician
  • Apprentice system operator
  • Electrical workers I, II, and III
  • Maintenance technician
All of these job categories include the following essential skills:
  • Working with electronics and electrical/electronic equipment
  • Designing, repairing, testing, and troubleshooting
  • Working with computers
  • Reading diagrams and blueprints
  • Working with tools and technology
Will there be jobs for graduates of the Power and Electrical Systems program?
Within the next decade employers anticipate that they will have more jobs than qualified candidates in the energy and water/wastewater industry. Why? Retirements by current employees in power & electrical systems jobs are projected to be as high as 50%. East Bay Municipal Utility District (EBMUD), Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E), and San Francisco Public Utility Commission (SFPUC) have a commitment to hire locally and support the efforts of community colleges to provide employment training to prepare local residents for our jobs.

What does the certificate training program at College of San Mateo teach me to do?
This 19 semester unit program will prepare students for green power & electrical jobs and has been designed to increase students’ competitiveness to enter into union apprenticeship or employer training programs for electrical/instrument technicians, systems operator, and line worker. Electric Company (PG&E), and San Francisco Public Utility Commission (SFPUC) assisted College of San Mateo with the design of the curriculum for the Electrical Power Systems & Instrumentation certificate training program.

The program's curriculum combines customized classroom instruction and hands-on lab sessions, including classes covering: AC & DC fundamentals, electronics fundamentals, three-phase power and rotating machines & drives, instrumentation & control systems, and basic design, maintenance & trouble shooting of electric systems. Instruction will also include a complete introduction to Power and Electrical Systems industries and industrial safety.

Why enroll in this training program now?
Students who complete College of San Mateo’s Certificate training program will gain essential knowledge and skills and increase their competitiveness for entry-level electrical and power jobs. As a large number of experienced workers prepare to retire from the energy and water/wastewater workforce, CSM students will gain the advantage of entering the industry at ground level for employment opportunities such as electrical and instrument worker, line worker, utility worker and apprentice systems operator. Salaries range from $50,220-$71,884 annually at entry level with potential salary, after successful completion of the entry-level training steps, ranging from $52,968-$88,860 annually at journey level.

How long is the program, when is the program offered, what classes do I take, and how much does it cost?
The program is four semesters long. Beginning classes are available in Fall, Spring and Summer each school year.

Classes are offered in the day, usually between 8 am and 1 pm, and in the evening, usually between 6 and 10 pm.

The online schedule of classes is available at WebSMART. Click on the WebSchedule tab. Select the desired semester. Select CSM. Type in the keyword Electronics. Finally, select Search All Classes.

To begin the program, you should enroll in ELEC 111 Fundamentals of Electronics and ELEC 231 Electronics Math 1.

The cost of the program is $46/unit plus college fees, books and student supplies.  Assume that course textbooks will run about $125/class. Notebooks, writing materials, and a scientific calculator will run about $50.

What is College of San Mateo's admissions and registration process?
If you are a new student at College of San Mateo, before registering for classes you must:
  1. Complete the enrollment process.
  2. Attend the mandatory orientation meeting. Register for a meeting and print an admission ticket
  3. Finally, pick your class schedule and register for classes online at WebSMART.
What are the general College of San Mateo and Power and Electrical Systems program requirements?
Students will be expected to have minimum math skills at the level of algebra. New and continuing students may enroll in P&E Systems courses, but all students must attend a mandatory Power & Electrical Systems Program Orientation scheduled as indicated on the Orientation page before they will be accepted into these P&E Systems courses.

What should you expect during the mandatory Power and Electrical Systems program orientation?
  • Meet College of San Mateo training program professors
  • Receive an overview of training program and curriculum
  • Learn the details of what you will need to successfully complete the program
  • Take a sample math quiz
  • Tour Electronic Department lab
If I have specific questions or concerns, who can I contact?
Email your questions to electricalpowersystems@smccd.edu. A faculty member or academic advisor will reply within 24 hours.