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