UTILITY SYSTEMS TECHNICIAN – CURRICULUM AND CLASS DESCRIPTIONS

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UTILITY SYSTEMS TECHNICIAN – CURRICULUM AND CLASS DESCRIPTIONS

State Technical College of Missouri provides this unique program to serve the employment needs of the outside plant communications and other utility industries.  Due to the need to expand and upgrade utility systems in the United States, job demand is high.

Students will gain skills in the construction and maintenance of underground, buried, and overhead broadband systems.  The program also familiarizes students with other utility systems such as natural gas distribution, oil pipeline transmission, wastewater, and water to prepare them for careers with a variety of utility contractors and public utilities.  Course work includes topics such as underground utility location, fiber optic technology, and industry regulations.  Students learn to operate equipment such as digger/derrick and bucket/basket aerial platform trucks along with directional boring machines and hydrovacs.  Communications, computational, and troubleshooting skills are also developed.

Students who are admitted to the Utility Systems Technician program should be aware that some industry equipment safety requirements specify a weight limit of 350 pounds or less including required clothing, gear, and tools.  The inability to meet this safety requirement will prevent participation in and completion of pole climbing, equipment operation, utility construction, and internship courses that are required to complete the Utility Systems Technician Associate of Applied Science degree.  It may also prevent employment in positions that require the use of equipment with these safety specifications.

Students are prepared to earn Fiber Optic Technician certification through The Fiber Optic Association (FOA), Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) 10-hour training, CPR, First Aid, Flagger, Excavation & Trenching, and Confined Space Entry certifications.  Safety and code requirements are stressed in all classes.

Due to industry employment requirements, to enroll and remain enrolled in the Utility Systems Technician program, students are required to receive and maintain at all times a current, valid Class A Commercial Driver’s License (CDL).  The CDL training and licensing require students to:  1) maintain a driving record that is eligible for a Missouri Class A CDL, 2) obtain a complete, current, and valid Medical Examination Report and Certificate for Commercial Driver Fitness Determination, and 3) successfully pass drug screen(s).

It is a graduation requirement of the Utility Systems Technician (UST) program for students to earn a grade of “C” or better in all "Core Curriculum" and "Program Requirements" courses; due to state licensing requirements, students must earn a grade of “B” or better in the CDL classes.

Program Mission

The mission of the Utility Systems Technician program is to provide the students the knowledge and technical skills required to succeed in the outside plant communications and other utility industries.

Program Goals

The goals of the program are to provide the opportunity for students to develop:

  • Safe work practices based on Occupational Safety and Health Administration regulations and other industry standards.
  • Aerial, underground, and buried utility construction skills needed to gain entry-level employment in the outside plant communications and other utility industries.
  • Effective communication skills and employment readiness.
  • Mathematical skills necessary to perform calculations required for utility construction.
  • Analytical problem solving and critical thinking skills necessary for utility construction.

 
  CORE CURRICULUM  
      Credit  Hours
UST 100 Customer Service for Utility Professionals 1
UST 120 Safety and Accident Prevention I 1
UST 123 Telecommunications Concepts 3
UST 125 Safety and Accident Prevention II 1
UST 150 Equipment Operation I 3
UST 155 Equipment Operation II 3
UST 160 Climbing Skills 3
UST 170 Construction of Overhead Broadband Lines 6
UST 173 Fiber Optic Technology 3
UST 180 Water and Wastewater Systems 3
UST 185 Gas and Oil Pipeline Systems 3
UST 190 Underground Utility Location 3
UST 215 Utility Internship 5
UST 260 Construction of Underground Utility Systems I 5
UST 265 Construction of Underground Utility Systems II 3
UST 270 Blueprint Reading 2
UST 280 Job Site Management 2
    SUB-TOTAL 50
     
  GENERAL EDUCATION REQUIREMENTS  
General Education Requirements 19
   
May Not Include:  
ASC 104 Human Anatomy and Physiology with Lab I 4
ASC 106 Human Anatomy and Physiology with Lab II 4
  SUB-TOTAL 19
       
    PROGRAM REQUIREMENTS  
HEO 151 Basic Commercial Driver License 1
HEO 152 Basic Commercial Driver License Lab 1
    SUB-TOTAL 2
       
    GRADUATION REQUIREMENTS  
COM 125 Job Search Strategies 1
    SUB-TOTAL 1
       
    It is a graduation requirement of the Utility Systems Technician (UST) program for students to earn a grade of “C” or better in all “Core Curriculum” and “Program Requirements” courses; due to state licensing requirements, students must earn a grade of “B” or better in the CDL classes.  
       
    PROGRAM TOTAL 72

 

UST  100  Customer Service for Utility Professionals.  This course provides insights into the concepts and skills related to customer service for utility professionals.  The course begins with an overview of the customer service environment and market trends, then focuses on specific skills needed to provide ethical customer service such as verbal and non-verbal communications, listening, and problem solving.  Utility industry case studies involving service breakdowns will be used to challenge students to apply the concepts and skills learned to implement service recovery strategies.  This course will also cover basic sales techniques when interacting with customers.  1 credit hour.

 

UST  120  Safety and Accident Prevention I. This course teaches the hazards associated with current-carrying utility systems.  The student will be able to implement proper climbing techniques, safety rules, and safe work practices from the American Public Power Association Safety Manual.  The student will learn Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) rules and regulations associated with this industry, reporting requirements, and the penalties that pertain to these regulations.  Students will be prepared to earn OSHA 10-hour, CPR, and First Aid certifications.  1 credit hour.

 

UST  123  Telecommunications Concepts.  This course covers the history of telecommunications, services available, and new and emerging technologies.  Students will learn basic copper splicing and explore more advanced copper splicing.  Students will also research telecommunications career opportunities.  3 credit hours.

 

UST  125  Safety and Accident Prevention II.  This course continues instruction on the hazards associated with utility systems.  The student will be able to implement the proper climbing techniques, safety rules, and safe work practices from the American Public Power Association Safety Manual.  The student will learn Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) rules and regulations associated with utility industries, reporting requirements, and the penalties that pertain to these regulations.  Students will be prepared to earn Flagger certification.  Prerequisite:  UST 120 with a grade of “C” or better.  1 credit hour.

 

UST  150  Equipment Operation I.  This course teaches the various operations of digger/derrick and bucket/basket aerial platform trucks used in the construction of utility systems.  The student will be familiarized with the basic operation of trencher/backhoe equipment.  This class also covers units on mobile hydraulic systems, vehicle maintenance and inspection, safety rules, rigging and lifting capacities, vehicle grounding practices, and the hands-on operation of digger/derrick and bucket/basket aerial platform trucks.  3 credit hours.

 

UST  155  Equipment Operation II.  This course teaches various operations of directional boring machines and hydrovac trucks used in the construction of utility systems.  The student will be familiarized with the basic operation of excavators and related excavation equipment.  This course also covers units on hand, power, pneumatic, and hydraulic tools; equipment maintenance and inspection; safety rules; and the hands-on operation of directional boring machines and hydrovac trucks.  3 credit hours.

 

UST  160  Climbing Skills.  This course teaches the proper care of climbing tools and climbing wood structures.  Upon completion of this course, the student will also be able to determine the proper aspects of pole inspection and be able to recognize the hazards of climbing.  Students will successfully complete timed pole top rescue using two different methods.  An introduction to aerial pole framing is included.  Prerequisite:  UST 150 with a grade of “C” or better.  3 credit hours.

 

UST  170  Construction of Overhead Broadband Lines.  This course develops a working knowledge of communication line construction specifications.  Students learn to recognize by sight and definition the different types of materials used in the construction of various types of communications systems.  Students will be required to demonstrate working specification knowledge both in aerial and ground situations as well as installation, repair, and removal of conductors, guy assemblies, and additional pole hardware.  Students will also be introduced to the different sizes and types of overhead and underground communication conductors.  Basic line staking principles and National Electric Safety Code clearances will be included.  Prerequisite:  UST 160 with a grade of “C” or better.  6 credit hours.

 

UST  173  Fiber Optic Technology.  This course will provide instruction in fiber optic technology including theory, safety, installation, splicing and testing techniques. Upon successful completion, the student may receive Fiber Optic Technician Certification from the Fiber Optic Association.  3 credit hours.

 

UST  180  Water and Wastewater Systems.  This course provides an overview of the types of water and wastewater systems.  It includes real world applications and quality issues.  3 credit hours.

 

UST  185  Gas and Oil Pipeline Systems.  This course provides an overview of the types of gas and oil pipeline systems.  It includes real world applications and quality issues.  3 credit hours.

 

UST  190  Underground Utility Location.  This course teaches proper methods to locate existing communication, electrical, gas, oil, wastewater, and water utility facilities.  The student will be familiarized with the basic operation of underground utility location equipment.  Missouri One Call procedures will also be taught.  3 credit hours.

 

UST  215  Utility Internship.  This internship provides students with exposure to the day-to-day operations of a working utility.  Students will be required to complete a minimum of two written assignments and fill out the required forms provided by the instructor.  The instructor will check with students on the job to be sure that the requirements for the internship are being met.  Prerequisites:  UST 125, UST 150, UST 155,  UST 170, UST 173 with a grade of “C” or better and HEO 152 with a grade of “B” or better.  5 credit hours.

 

UST  260  Construction of Underground Utility Systems I.  This course develops a working knowledge of the construction specifications for buried and underground communications systems.  Students will learn to recognize by sight and definition the various types of materials used in the construction of these systems.  Students will be required to demonstrate working specification knowledge as well as correct procedures for the installation, repair, and removal of cables, conduit, utility pedestals, and access points.  Students will also be exposed to fundamentals of natural gas pipeline systems.  Site restoration is also covered.  Safety procedures are emphasized and students are prepared to earn OSHA certifications such as Excavation & Trenching and Confined Space Entry.  Prerequisites:  UST 155, UST 170, and UST 190 with a grade of “C” or better.  5 credit hours.

 

UST  265  Construction of Underground Utility Systems II.  This course develops a working knowledge of the construction specifications for water and wastewater systems. Students will learn to recognize by sight and definition the various types of materials used in the construction of these systems. Students will be required to demonstrate working specification knowledge as well as correct procedures for the installation, repair, and removal of pipe, tracer wire, meters, valves, and access points. Site restoration is also covered. Safety procedures are emphasized and students are prepared to earn OSHA certifications such as Excavation & Trenching and Confined Space Entry.  Prerequisites:  UST 155, UST 170, and UST 190 with a grade of “C” or better.  Corequisite:  UST 260 with a grade of “C” or better.  3 credit hours.

 

UST  270  Blueprint Reading.  This course is designed to develop students' ability to interpret utility system job design information such as blueprints, staking sheets, and maps.  This course also covers elevation profiles, offsets, and cut and fill profiles.  Students will learn how to stake a project, select an effective approach to complete a project, and document changes for as-built project blueprints.  2 credit hours.

 

UST  280  Job Site Management.  This course teaches job site management skills such as safety management; communicating with other employees, landowners, and on-site contractors; verifying permitting documents; performing site inspections; and completing required documentation.  2 credit hours.

 

UST  299  Special Topics in Utility Systems.  Special Topics in Utility Systems may include instruction on topics not covered in other Utility Systems Technician (UST) courses.  Topics covered in other UST courses may also be covered in more depth in this special topics course.  Projects may be undertaken in any area related to the major program with credit hours determined by the level and amount of involvement.  The minimum involvement required for one credit is 30 contact hours.  The specific topic(s), objectives, plan of instruction, and evaluation criteria must be documented in the syllabus; approved by the Department/Division Chair; and filed in the Academic Records Office.  Students may complete more than one Special Topics course, provided that the credits earned in this manner do not exceed a total of four (4) credits.  1-4 credit hours.