What is an Instrumentation Technician?
Instrument technicians install, maintain and repair the measuring and control instruments used in industrial and commercial processing. Instrument technicians work with a wide variety of pneumatic, electronic and microcomputer instruments used to measure and control variables such as pressure, flow, temperature, level, motion, force, and chemical composition.
In general, they:
- Consult manufacturers’ manuals to determine test and maintenance procedures
- Use pneumatic, electrical and electronic testing devices to inspect and test instrument and system operations, and diagnose faults
- Consult with and advise process operators
- Repair, maintain and adjust system components or remove and replace defective parts
- Do risk assessments
- Calibrate and maintain components and instruments according to manufacturers’ specifications
- Work with engineers on basic design
- Install and maintain instruments on new or existing plant equipment and processes.
Skills & Abilities
Instrumentation is most rewarding for those who enjoy security, problem solving, developing an area of expertise, and working with little direction or supervision.
To be successful in the trade, instrument technicians need:
- The ability to pay careful attention to details
- Good communication and reading skills,
- Manual dexterity and patience
- The ability to lift between 11 and 25 kilograms
- Good mathematical, scientific, mechanical and logical reasoning abilities
- The ability and desire to keep up-to-date with technological developments in the field
The term of apprenticeship for an instrument technician is 4 years (four 12-month periods) including a minimum of 1500 hours of on-the-job training and 8 weeks of technical training in the first and second year, and a minimum of 1425 hours of on-the-job training and 10 weeks of technical training in the third and fourth year.
An applicant who previously completed courses of study or work experience related to the Instrument Technician trade or holds a related journeyman certificate and has the employer’s recommendation, may qualify for credit that could reduce the term of apprenticeship.
A person who has previous training or work experience in the trade and wants to determine their level of skill and knowledge for entry or advanced standing in an apprenticeship program may apply for a Prior Learning Assessment.
To find answers to your questions and learn more about a career as an Instrument Technician, contact Electrical Workers Local 424 or Plumbers and Pipefitters Local 496 or UA Local 488 Plumbers & Pipefitters.
For a quick summary of a career as an instrumentation technician, ask about the instrumentation technician trade card.