What Does an Instrumentation Technician Do?

Instrumentation technicians monitor atmospheric and environmental changes in industrial areas and buildings. They use a variety of instruments and devices to record and report these changes. Read on to learn more about their job duties, educational requirements and career outlook. Schools offering Electrical Engineering degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Job Duties

As an instrumentation technician, you will test, calibrate, install, repair, and inspect monitoring devices. You'll also perform general maintenance on the equipment and design new measuring and recording equipment. On a typical day, you will work with scientific and analytic computer software, calculators, voltage and current meters, and electronic probes in order to diagnose faults in circuitry.

Important Facts About Instrumentation Technicians

Required Education High school diploma, or equivalent; associate's degree preferred
Key Skills Strong mathematics foundation, reading comprehension, problem solving, critical and analytical thinking, close listening, clear written and spoken communication, clear judgment and decision making
Work Environment Architectural, engineering, and related firms; semiconductor and other electronic component manufacturing companies; navigational, measuring, electromedical, and control instruments manufacturing; federal government; the postal service
Similar Occupations Electrical and electronics engineers; electrical and electronics installers and repairers; electromechanical technicians; mechanical engineering technicians

Industries

Instrumentation technicians work in chemical plants, petroleum refineries, canneries, and food processing plants as well as other businesses that control and monitor air and water pollution. These industries require extremely precise measuring and monitoring equipment to regulate flow and pressure rates, keep track of production, manage power use, and ensure safety.

Certification

The National Institute for the Certification of Engineering Technologies (NICET) offers a certification program for instrumentation technicians at four different levels (www.nicet.org). If you wanted to become certified, you'd choose a level of certification based on your professional experience, knowledge, and skill level. You'd then need to pass the organization's exam which covers your knowledge of electrical and pneumatic instrumentation systems, systems maintenance, installation, and record keeping.

Level I certification is designed for entry-level technicians who work under constant supervision, while Level II certification is available for technicians who receive general daily supervision. Intermediate level technicians are eligible for Level III certification and require little to no supervision. Senior-level technicians can earn Level IV certification and are responsible for supervising others.

Salary Info and Job Outlook

According to PayScale.com, the majority of instrumentation and controls technicians earned between $44,184 and $89,607 a year, as of September 2015. Although the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS, www.bls.gov) does not provide information specific to the field of instrumentation technology, the BLS did project that the employment of electrical and electronics engineering technicians will likely grow little, if at all, between 2014 and 2024.

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