Instrumentation Technician

Job Duties

Instrumentation technicians are experts on working with instruments that measure and record changes in different types of industrial environments. These systems are crucial to the operation of canneries, chemical plants, petroleum refineries, and other facilities. Technicians test, certify, install, repair, inspect, maintain, and develop systems that measure things like temperature, pressure, humidity, altitude, pH, stress, as well as many other elements. They create graphs and reports and present them to industry personnel. They develop equipment that is nonstandard for specific tasks using engineering and equipment limitation data. They also install and calibrate telemetering and recording circuits.

They may design and build such related equipment as jibs, fixtures, and instruments. They may make sure that new devices created by other workers are acceptable. They often troubleshoot, repair, and perform preventative maintenance. Some work in the field, installing and maintaining equipment at job sites. These field service technicians provide preventative and corrective maintenance, and they give advice to customers regarding proper use of equipment. Sometimes they may train employees to use the equipment themselves.

Job Skills

Instrumentation technicians may need to have good manual dexterity also need to have quality, color vision. Because they may require to prepare written reports and give verbal presentations, they need to have excellent written and oral skills. They should have an aptitude for electronics work.


According to BLS the instrumentation technicians may make between $9 and $12 per hour. Journey-level workers may earn $11 to $20 per hour. Those in senior positions can make over $25 per hour. Most technicians may work a standard 40-hour workweek, Monday through Friday. Many work swing and night shifts as well. Field technicians have the option of unlimited overtime because they usually work on an on-call basis.

Training and Education

Most employers of instrumentation technicians may require either an Associate of Arts or Science degree, 2 or 3 years of work experience, or graduation from a private technical school program. Many community colleges and technical schools may offer training in this specific occupation. Students study electronics and electrical circuitry theory, as well as may gain hands-on experience in the laboratory. Some technicians may be eligible for becoming certified through the Institute for the Certification of Engineering Technicians, as well as other organizations.

Usually, candidates may need to graduated from a qualified technical school to be eligible for certification. High school students interested in the occupation should take courses in mathematics, general physics, and laboratory science. Instrumentation technicians can advance to supervisory positions and, if they earn a bachelor of science degree, they can advance to a number of professional engineering positions. Visit this page about trade schools for more information on related careers.

Job Outlook

As per the BLS between 2002 and 2012, employment of instrumentation technicians is expected to increase about as fast as the average. This will be due mostly to the continued need for industry to modernize, install labor-saving systems, and replace old systems with new technologies. Opportunities will be best for those with associate or bachelor of science degrees.