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Industrial Instrumentation Technician

What They Do

Insider Info

Industrial instrumentation technicians (IITs) inspect and test the operation of instruments to diagnose faults, repair and adjust system components, replace defective parts, calibrate components and instruments and schedule preventive maintenance.

Good instrument technicians know everything about the instruments they're repairing.

"I value an instrument tech who's knowledgeable of the whole loop, right down to the physics, math and theory of operation of each and every component," says Bob Whitney. He is an Oregon-based IIT in the wastewater treatment field. "A good tech also can operate any system that he works on or calibrates."

Instrumentation technicians work in the pulp and paper, mining, crude petroleum and natural gas and wood industries. They also work for public utilities, manufacturing companies and industrial instrument servicing firms. Companies may employ their own technicians or contract services through an instrumentation maintenance company.

Good hand-eye coordination, mechanical aptitude and excellent computer skills are musts in this field. Good eyesight and color vision are needed to inspect and work on small, delicate parts. And good hearing is necessary to detect malfunctions revealed by sound.

Common shop injuries and cramped conditions when performing repairs are constant threats. Though accidents caused by instrument failure are no one's fault, technicians may feel a considerable amount of responsibility.

"There may have been no way to detect the failure, nor reason to suspect one, but the IIT responsible for that instrument will still suffer emotional stress," says industrial electronics technician Shaun Karr.

At a Glance

Keep gauges going

  • Good hand-eye coordination is important
  • This work requires expertise in a range of technical subjects
  • You'll need specialized training and usually a college degree