All posts by Fred Tucker

Project Management Career Outlook

project management word cloud

Do you dream of managing a team of employees? Do you enjoy increasing the efficiency of a project? Do you find yourself analyzing and developing processes to make your work and home life easier? Have you been running projects in your current job or in your volunteer work? If you answered yes to any of these questions, then a career in project management could be right for you.

What Does a Project Manager Do?

A project manager is an expert multi-tasker and communicator. They oversee all facets of a large project, communicate with all stakeholders and ensure the project is completed successfully. Project managers also need a strong understanding of computer systems and software. These are often used to keep track of project timelines, budgets, and personnel.

Project Management Careers and Salary Potential

This is a growing field, and is projected to remain strong with many opportunities in the years ahead. By 2020, there’s anticipated to be 6.2 million jobs for certified project managers. This represents a 12 percent increase from today’s market, according to the Project Management Institute (PMI). Additionally, project managers with a PMP certification earn approximately 22 percent more annually than project managers without one. This percentage increases with experience.

How to get Certification and Training

At SPC’s Workforce Institute, we offer project management certification exam prep classes. This includes training for non-degree seeking students in the Tampa Bay area. Students can focus on the Project Management Professional (PMP) Certification or the Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM) Certification. These classes are designed to prepare professionals to sit for and pass the PMI Certification exam(s).

In order to sit for one of PMI’s certification exams, you must meet certain minimum criteria. A key criteria requirement is to meet a specific amount of hours of project management education. One of the best ways to receive this education is by attending a certification exam prep class in your area. These hours count!

Additionally, If you are new to project management, SPC offers a 2-day Project Management Fundamentals course. This course begins by answering the question “What is project management?” Next it outlines the roles and value of project management in today’s business world. You’ll cover topics such as project stakeholders, scope, budget, schedule, communications and risk. There is a specific focus on leadership and best practices in project management.

Click here to see upcoming class dates

St. Petersburg College also offers a Project Management Bachelor’s Certificate.  Click here for more information.

About SPC’s Workforce Institute

At SPC’s Workforce Institute, we pride ourselves in offering a trusted suite of services.  These courses are both affordable and accessible to individuals and organizations.

For goal-oriented individuals and businesses committed to accelerated professional growth, the Workforce Institute has lots to offer. This includes training, continuing education, industry certifications, licenses  and career pathways. Industry experts teach you the skills that local employers are looking for to get ahead in many career fields.

Funding assistance and payment plan options may be available.  To learn more about SPC’s Workforce Institute, please contact us at or (727) 341-4445.

Follow us on Instagram or Twitter at #careerspc#spcintern, and #workforcespc.

New PLC Course in Mechatronics Launches at SPC Workforce Institute

Mechatronics student at workstation

The Workforce Institute at St. Petersburg College has launched the first course of its new Mechatronics Program. The 30-hour Programmable Logic Controllers Certification Program is a hybrid program providing 12 hours of online courseware, 15 hours of intensive hands-on lab activities, and three hours of online preparation for the Association for Packaging and Processing Technologies or PMMI exam.

What is mechatronics?

Mechatronics, also known as Advanced Manufacturing or Electromechanical Technology, is the synergistic application of mechanical, electrical, and controls. According to a 2015 report by the National Manufacturing Institute and Deloite, the skills gap is widening, and over the next decade, 3.4 million manufacturing jobs will likely be needed.  The study estimates 60 percent of these positions are likely to be unfilled due to the talent shortage.   As a result, only 1.4 million out of 3.4 million positions are expected to be filled, implying that the U.S. manufacturing sector is likely to suffer a shortfall of 2 million workers over the next decade.  The good news is that all the factors seem to add up to new manufacturing opportunities for the next generation in several areas.

One opportunity worth exploring is the industrial application of Programmable Logic Controllers or PLCs.  According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the job outlook in this field is expected to grow 16 percent by 2024.

SPC’s first course of its new Mechantronics Program was developed in response to this need.

What is a Programmable Logic Controller (PLC)?

A Programmable Logic Controller  is used to control machines that are part of many devices in a wide variety of industries. The device is a miniature computer (having a microprocessor qualifies it as a computer) with a custom operating system built in.

PLC’s use a system of sensors that read input data to tell them when an event needs to occur, and then signals output to make the event happen. The entire sequence occurs in real time and repeats in a loop until the input changes. The PLC tells the machine what to do and when to do it. Think of a PLC performing the computer version of an orchestra conductor.

What jobs are related to PLCs?

PLC technicians install and repair industrial electronic equipment including I/O networks, data highways, and variable speed drives, process control equipment, and write PLC programs for a wide variety of automated control systems ranging from simple on-off controls to robotics.

A PLC technician’s duties would also include keeping the controllers operating to minimize interruptions, monitoring and reacting to issues when they arise, identifying and facilitating repairs as needed, and performing preventive maintenance at regular intervals.

Average salary for a PLC technician

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook, the median pay of a programmable logic controller technician is just over $60,000 annually. The number will vary according to industry, geography, and education.

Landing a job like this requires a background in electronics or a related field and of course some teaching in either electronics or automation technology. Official certification or a degree is almost a must for many potential employers. Programs are available at community colleges and vocational schools that cover the basics. Companies are usually more comfortable with applicants who have some experience, so your best chance when lacking any is acquiring an education respected by hiring managers.

Upcoming PLC classes at SPC:

The Workforce Institute at St. Petersburg College

Upcoming Course Dates:

  • Nov. 8 – Dec. 10, 2017
  • Jan. 8 – Feb. 4, 2018

The five-day, hands-on lab classes are conducted at the BRAAS Company, 230 Douglas Road, Oldsmar, FL 34677

Lab times:

  • 1-4 PM or 5-8 PM
  • (Monday – Friday)

Register today by going to these links:

*PMMI Exam fee not included in course price

Three hours of course credit can be articulated to AS Engineering degree program.

For more information on PLC course offerings, please call Fred Tucker at 727-791-2409.

For information on all other training, please visit SPC’s Workforce Institute page or contact us at 727-341-4445 or

Want to fly a drone? SPC offers training in growing industry

Photo of a drone

With so many technological advancements in the field of pilotless aircraft, UAVs (“Unmanned Aerial Vehicles” that are better known as drones) are poised to play a much larger part in the business model of a variety of different industries, as well as become common in our everyday lives. Over the next 10 years, Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) or drones are expected to create more than 100,000 jobs with an economic impact of $82 billion. Florida stands to benefit more than almost any other state as new regulations will bring 3,000 new jobs and $632 million in economic impact to the state by 2017, according to the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International. That’s a lot of opportunities.

Drone Jobs and Tech Industry Growth

So can we expect an aerial army of Amazon and Fedex drones within the next couple decades? Perhaps, but drones have the potential to transform the way many other companies do business as well, and not necessarily in all the ways you might expect. These sectors stand to reap just as many of the benefits of drone technology in the not so distant future:

  • Delivery and Fulfillment: Thanks to Amazon’s efforts, the highest profile potential use for commercial drones is customer fulfillment. The possibilities are endless here; just about anything that can be carried by a delivery person can also be carried by a drone. This isn’t just limited to items we usually think of when we want something delivered to us, like pizza or Chinese food; drones could also bring groceries from the supermarket and prescription drugs from the pharmacy right to our doorstep.
  • Logistics: In addition to delivery, they can also be used as a part of a larger logistics infrastructure, with larger, heavy-duty drones traveling between warehouses for inventory management. Not only could this speed up the warehousing process, but it could also free up our roads and highways from delivery trucks.
  • Public Safety: Drones have the potential to complement or completely replace wall-mounted security cameras or even security guards. They could be especially useful in patrolling large commercial buildings such as factories, office parks, and power plants. On the law enforcement side, police could make use of security drones to supplement their presence at large public gatherings and events like sporting events and fairs.
  • Journalism, Filmmaking, and Photography: Hobbyists are already using drones to take incredible aerial video and photographs. Professional filmmakers have used drones to film several of Hollywood’s blockbusters such as Skyfall, The Wolf of Wall Street, and Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. Locally, a drone was used to film scenes from Dolphin Tale 2. The same principles would apply to journalists, who could use drones to capture footage they wouldn’t otherwise be able to obtain, such as in war zones or disaster areas.
  • Aid Efforts and Disaster Recovery: Because drones can go places that humans can’t, they could be ideal for search and rescue operations and delivering much-needed relief supplies to remote locations or disaster areas. Fire departments could send a drone in to initially assess the damage from a chemical spill without putting lives at un-needed risk.
  • Agriculture: The Environmental Protection Agency is already using drones to monitor and manage livestock farms, the technology that could easily be applied to commercial farms. Farmers could also use drones to spray for pests and diseases, analyze irrigation coverage, as well as deliver parts to their machines out in the fields without having to halt harvesting operations.

Upcoming Drone Training at SPC

Responding to growing interest in and the use of drones, the Workforce Institute at St. Petersburg College has partnered with the nation’s premier UAS Training and Certification Center to provide online courses and certifications. Additionally, the college has partnered with a local aviation group to provide Private Pilot Ground School training and certification courses. The Tampa Bay Times recently reported about drone training at SPC.