What Does an Instrumentation Technician Do?
Have you always wondered what instrumentation technicians do for a living? Their job is actually rather complex and involves monitoring atmospheric and environmental changes in industrial areas and buildings. Industrial technicians must know how to use a variety of instruments and devices to record and report these changes. Schools offering Electrical Engineering degrees can also be found in these popular choices.
If you'd like to work as an instrumentation technician, you may do so in a variety of 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.
Duties and Responsibilities
As an instrumentation technician, you will test, calibrate, install, repair, and inspect monitoring devices. According to California's Employment Development Department, you'll also perform general maintenance on the equipment and design new measuring and recording equipment (www.edd.ca.gov ). 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.
If you're interested in becoming an instrumentation technician, you should focus on degree programs that are related to mathematics and physics. Employers seek individuals with a minimum of an associate's degree and career training from a technical school.
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 earn between $43,894 and $88,630 a year, as of January 2014. 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 2012 and 2022.
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