What Does an Instrument Engineer Do?

Manufacturing firms and processing plants employ instrumentation engineers to create, monitor, and troubleshoot complex instrumentation to optimize productivity. Read on to learn more about the job responsibilities of an instrument engineer. Schools offering Electrical Engineering degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Job Description

Instrument engineers manage, design, and install the machines or control systems used in highly technical fields. Manufacturing, chemical, and other industries with automated processes hire instrument engineers to optimize the dependability, safety, and productivity of their systems.

Many industrial and manufacturing plants use instrumentation systems to monitor their facilities. These instruments measure temperature, pressure, radiation, voltage, and other variables. Instrument engineers design these instruments, monitor their performance, and troubleshoot existing devices to ensure that effective repairs are made. Instrument engineer technologists also set up and maintain complex computer-controlled equipment driving instrumentation.

Important Facts About This Occupation

Licensure Not typically required for electrical and electronic engineers, though it can benefit individuals who provide services for government agencies
Key Skills Mathematical ability, computer skills, effective verbal and written communications
Annual Salary As of 2019, most earn between $57,000 and $119,000
Similar Occupations Some choose careers in IT, computer manufacturing, or telecommunications

Source: PayScale.com

Work Environment

Instrument engineers work in a variety of industrial facilities that specialize in manufacturing, oil and gas production, energy production, and the processing of food or chemicals. Many facilities are monitored by agencies that require them to meet standards for lower emission levels. To meet these requirements, oil and gas refineries, power generation facilities, food processors, and chemical plants upgrade their instrumentation. Employers of instrument engineers include:

  • Food and chemical processing plants
  • Manufacturing firms
  • Oil and gas refineries
  • Energy companies
  • Aerospace programs
  • Pharmaceutical development and production companies

Job Outlook

Although the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics does not provide information specific to the field of instrumentation engineering, it did project that the employment of electrical and electronics engineers will likely grow as fast as average, or about 7%, between 2016 and 2026.

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