Instrument technicians are highly skilled professionals who maintain, troubleshoot and repair a variety of instrumentation tools used in industrial settings. Their duties include monitoring instrument performance, maintaining preventive maintenance schedules, identifying problems, making repairs and updating their knowledge of new instrumentation technology as it emerges.
Instrument technician jobs require the ability to interpret technical manuals and diagrams in order to both learn how to operate new instruments as well as decipher when an instrument is not working properly.
To become successful instrument technicians, individuals need a background in electronics or engineering (or sometimes both) along with hands-on experience repairing or installing equipment.
Many entry-level positions do not require a college degree, but individuals will likely need some formal education along with certification from relevant industry associations such NICET, ETA, NCCER and PTCB.
Skills Needed To Be An Instrument Technician
As an instrument technician, you will need to be able to work with a variety of tools and instruments. You must be able to read and interpret technical manuals and diagrams in order to both learn how to operate new instruments as well as decipher when an instrument is not working properly.
Many instrumentation techs must all be able to solder and braze in order to make repairs as well as install new equipment. Because many of the instruments are computerized, you will also need to have basic computer skills.
You must be able to work independently as well as part of a team. You will often be working with other technicians, engineers and scientists in order to ensure that all of the equipment is working properly.
Duties Of An Instrument Technician
Instrument technician responsibilities can vary depending on the specific industry in which they are employed. In general, however, most instrument techs are responsible for maintaining and repairing a variety of electronic and mechanical instruments. This includes calibrating instruments, troubleshooting issues and replacing parts when necessary.
What Working Conditions Can An Instrument Tech Expect?
Instrumentation technicians work in a wide variety of environments ranging from laboratories and manufacturing plants to oil rigs and offshore platforms. They often need to travel for their jobs, as well — sometimes even internationally.
Frequently Asked Questions
How Much Do Instrumentation Technicians Make?
The salary for an instrument tech varies based on a number of factors, including where they are employed and what type of instruments they are responsible for maintaining.
According to The Bureau of Labor Statistics: on the low end, instrumentation techs earn less than $37,000 while the top earners make over $90,000.
The average hourly rate for an instrument tech is around $25 per hour. Some companies may offer higher rates, while others may pay less.
What Are the Most Common Skills Needed to Be an Instrument Tech?
Instrument techs need to be skilled in a wide range of areas, including electrical systems and wiring, pneumatics, hydraulics, etc. They need mechanical skills, experience in electrical engineering and of course, good oral communication skills. Instrument techs should also have some formal training and certifications beyond a high school diploma, although this is not always necessary.
What Degree Do You Need To Be an Instrumentation Tech?
There is no formal degree required to become an instrument tech, although some employers do prefer to hire those with a 2-year or 4-year degree in a related technical field.
How Do You Find an Instrument Tech Job?
To become an instrument technician, you need to find openings for instrument tech jobs, which you can do on many different websites (like LinkedIn) and job boards. Networking with other professionals in the industry is also a good way to find out about open positions.
What Does an Instrument Technician Do in a Hospital?
An instrument technician in a hospital setting is responsible for maintaining, troubleshooting and repairing all of the medical instruments in the facility. This can include everything from blood pressure monitors to X-ray machines.
What Does an Instrument Technician Do in an Oil Rig?
An instrument technician working on an oil rig is responsible for maintaining, troubleshooting and repairing all of the instruments used in the drilling and extraction process. This can include everything from pressure gauges to gas chromatographs.
What does an Instrument Technician Do in a Laboratory?
An instrument technician in a laboratory is responsible for maintaining, troubleshooting and repairing all of the complex equipment used to analyze samples and perform various types of research. This can include everything from microscopes to mass spectrometers. Some common duties of an instrument technician in a laboratory may include calibrating instruments, performing quality control checks, manipulating sample materials, and diagnosing and fixing any issues that arise with the equipment.