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Instrumentation and Controls Technician: Qualifications, Certifications & Apprenticeship

Instrumentation and controls technicians install, repair, and maintain measurement and control devices. Read further to learn about this career which is integral to the manufacturing process.

Career Overview

Instrumentation and controls technicians are responsible for the installation, repair, and maintenance of devices used for measurements and to maintain control during the manufacturing process. They are also responsible for ensuring these devices remain calibrated. The chart below shows the education requirements, job duties, and salary of instrumentation and controls technicians.

Education Required High school diploma or GED, associate's degree may be preferred
Training Apprenticeship programs
Key Responsibilities Install, maintain, and repair measuring and control devices used in the manufacturing process
Mean Salary (2019) $64,585*
Career Growth (2018-2028) 1% (electrical and electronics repairers, commercial and industrial equipment)**

Sources: *Payscale.com; **U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Are The Requirements To Become An Instrumentation and Controls Technician?

Employers usually prefer that an instrumentation and controls technician have an associate's degree in a major such as electrical or mechanical engineering. However, it is possible to be hired as an instrumentation and controls technician with a high school diploma and three to five years of experience. Experience can be gained through an apprenticeship.

What Are The Duties Of An Instrumentation and Controls Technician?

Instrumentation and controls technicians are responsible for ensuring measurement and control devices are functioning properly. This means the devices have to regularly calibrated and maintained. If devices are not regularly maintained they may break and require repairs. Instrumentation and controls technicians are responsible for repairs when a measurement and control device breaks. Additionally, instrumentation and controls technicians interpret blueprints and circuit diagrams so they can properly install, calibrate, and maintain measurement and control devices.

How Can I Become An Apprentice?

Apprentices are hired by companies and governments to work while they train as instrumentation and controls technicians. Apprentices are often required to have graduated from high school or earned a GED and gained vocational training. An associate's degree is an excellent way to gain vocational training prior to becoming an instrumentation and controls technician. Additionally, apprentices are paid during the course of their apprenticeship. Apprenticeships are analogous to on-the-job training, similar to a paid internship. Once an apprentice has completed their apprenticeship they can either be hired by their company or another organization, typically for a higher salary.

What Certifications Does An Instrumentation and Controls Technician Need?

ISA, the International Society of Automation, offers a Control Systems Technician certification. This provides training in pneumatic, mechanical, and electronic instruments. However, depending on the company you work for, you may need other certifications such as a water operators certification. Gaining certification in specific areas, such as water operators certification, can open new career opportunities.

What Personal Traits Does An Instrumentation And Controls Technician Need?

Instrumentation and controls technicians need to have an eye for detail. Since they are responsible for maintenance of systems it is imperative they do not let issues escape their notice lest they become major problems that require repair in the future. Instrumentation and controls technicians must also be able to think logically as they troubleshoot issues that arise. This will make their work more efficient.