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What Does a Corrosion Technician Do?

Corrosion technicians inspect and repair metal pipelines.
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  • Written By: Amy Rodriguez
  • Edited By: Jessica Seminara
  • Last Modified Date: 26 October 2014
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A corrosion technician inspects, repairs, and regulates a metal pipeline's structural integrity. Metal pipes are used in numerous water and gas transport applications. The technician must ensure that the pipeline's connections and wall construction adhere to particular specifications for the health and safety of nearby communities.

Corrosion occurs when dissimilar metals are matched together, such as at a pipeline connection point. The corrosion technician commonly supervises the cathodic protection system attached to the pipeline. This system runs direct electrical current along the pipeline's structure to alter the metal's magnetic polarity. In response to the polarity change, the metal is less prone to corrosion and damage.

The technician must consistently monitor all portions of the pipeline. Many corrosion technicians must move around a job site in a vehicle to reach all pipeline parts. Some technicians need to access the pipeline underground, requiring the employee to climb ladders and work in enclosed spaces. Multiple job sites may require a corrosion technician's attention, necessitating a lot of travel time during the work day.

The corrosion technician may be involved with future pipeline design, depending on the employer. Surveys of the soil and surrounding land will be recorded and analyzed by the technician. This individual may also work alongside other qualified corrosion personnel to collaborate on the best future pipeline construction placement.

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A four year college degree is not normally required of a corrosion technician, but he or she must be licensed by the National Association of Corrosion Engineers (NACE). Many employers also insist that a technician have 2 to 5 years of experience in corrosion control.

A pipeline breakdown can occur at any time. A corrosion technician will typically be expected to work weekends and holidays if the pipeline's corrosion control is failing. The employee must be flexible with his or her time to comply with the employer's needs, especially if flammable gas is involved.

A successful corrosion technician documents issues with as many details as possible. Corrosion repair defects can be solved faster — with less equipment down time — with proper documentation of the resolution process. Future repairs can be avoided with preventative maintenance administered by the technician, based on past documented problems.

The technician position is mainly a mechanical and hands on work role, but the worker must be able to work with computers as well. Information gathered from documented repairs must be entered into a computer for future analysis and improvements. The ability to manipulate spreadsheets and other software is highly beneficial for a corrosion technician.

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