Precision Systems Repair and Maintenance

Professionals who specialize in precision equipment repair and maintenance help us capture our memories, create beautiful sounds, save our lives and make sure that we're always on time. To learn how you can pursue a career repairing cameras, musical instruments, medical equipment and watches, read on.

Is Precision Systems Repair and Maintenance Right for Me?

Career Overview

Clocks, watches, cameras, medical devices and musical instruments rely on miniscule, intimate components and precisely attuned technology to operate with efficiency and accuracy. For example, an escapement, which is the component that energizes the movement of a clock's hands, must be reliable in order to keep correct time. Experts in the precision systems repair and maintenance industry apply their knowledge and skill with minute details to the repair and upkeep of numerous products. There are four main categories associated with precision systems repair and maintenance, including camera and photographic equipment, medical equipment, musical instruments and watches.

Career Options and Duties

As a repair and maintenance professional working with precision instruments, you'll diagnose or troubleshoot equipment problems, disassemble components, do repairs and recreate or replace damaged parts. Depending on your industry, you may need to source parts from older equipment; for example, repairing a 19th-century watch or an early 20th-century camera may require that you find antique parts or recreate your own replacements.

Camera Repairers

Photographic equipment repairers may work with digital and film cameras and video equipment. As a digital camera technician, you'll need to be knowledgeable about computer circuitry and have expertise in electronics.

Medical Equipment Repairers

Biomedical equipment technicians or medical equipment repairers work on life-saving equipment. This can include medical imaging devices, defibrillators and heart monitors.

Jewelry and Watch Repairers

If you specialize in watch repair, you'll inspect, clean and adjust watches that have moving pieces. As a jewelry repair technician, you'll use magnifying glasses to see parts and facilitate the replacement and repair processes.

Musical Instrument Repairers

Electronic and traditional musical instruments require meticulous maintenance and repair work to create precise sound. If you enjoy musical instruments, you can work in the musical instrument fabrication and repair industry as a piano technician, electric organ repairman or a hand carver.

Salary Information

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) in May 2013, the median annual wage for equipment repairers who worked on cameras and photographic equipment was $37,430, while watch repairers earned $35,460. As of May 2013, medical equipment repairers had median annual incomes of $44,180, while musical instrument repairers and tuners earned $31,750 (www.bls.gov).

How Can I Work in Precision Systems Repair and Maintenance?

Educational Requirements

Educational requirements for professionals employed in precision systems repair and maintenance vary according to the field and position. A high school diploma is the minimum requirement, with many employers seeking candidates with some postsecondary education. For example, you can pursue a certificate or an associate's degree in biomedical equipment technology or medical equipment repair. Coursework typically includes topics in soldering, mathematics, computer fundamentals and medical terminology.

Several colleges offer repair and construction programs by instrument type, such as band instruments or guitars. Coursework typically covers repair fundamentals, computer basics and soldering. Through an online watch repair school, you can learn how to maintain and repair timekeeping devices. Training topics might include hairsprings, micro-mechanics, chronographs and machining parts.

Other Training Options

Apprenticeships may be available in musical instrument repair and maintenance, which typically combine hands-on training with coursework. You can also learn your selected craft through on-the-job training.

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