Information on Becoming an Instrumentation Technician

An instrumentation technician is a highly skilled professional who installs, maintains, calibrates, troubleshoots, and repairs instrumentation systems used in the manufacturing and production industry. These technicians work on instrumentation that operates facilities such as power plants, chemical plants, paper processing plants, food processing factories, and industrial construction sites.

The instruments that technicians are tasked with maintaining and operating are used to measure and control various production factors such as temperature, pressure, level, flow, and composition. The proper function of these instruments plays a vital role in safety and production quality.

Instrument Technician Career Information

Job Duties

The duties of an instrument technician are extensive. They assess multiple conditions in order to select the right type of instrumentation for the job. They then install and calibrate instruments to perfectly measure or control different factors. After this, the technician must maintain, troubleshoot, repair, and modify the instrument as needed. This can be very involved and requires skill and attention to detail.

Many technicians must work in what is known as a “clean room” due to the special care that must be taken with electronics. In a “clean room”, temperature, humidity, and dust in the air are being continually monitored and controlled. Workers must wear full body suits, including masks and gloves, in order to control what comes into contact with the electronic components of the instruments.

Education and Training

There are several ways to get into a career as an instrument technician. However, first it is recommended to take advanced science, math, and physics classes in high school.

A popular option is to take an apprenticeship training program. This involves on-site job training coupled with some classwork. Apprenticeship programs allow students to train faster, learn more, and increase the likelihood of finding a job right after graduation. These programs are favored due to the on-the-job experience gained during training, which is often sought by future employers.

It is also possible to attend a community college or university to obtain an associate’s or bachelor’s degree in instrumentation technology.

Instrument Technician Salary and Career Advancement

The average salary of an instrument tech is $42,600 per year. Salary can, however, vary greatly depending on experience, job duties, and employer. After two to four years of experience, technicians can expect to earn an average of $52,000 per year, with some jobs paying up to $70,000 per year.

Instrument technicians can advance their career in several ways. If an employee demonstrates determination, skill, and leadership, it is possible they may be promoted to manage or supervise other instrument technicians. Continuing formal education also opens up more job opportunities and allows the instrument technician to demand a higher wage.