An instrumentation technician generally works on devices that are used in the medical and engineering fields, setting up, testing and operating the equipment. He or she might repair or design the devices that are used in mechanical procedures and surgery, for example. Musical instruments also can be an area on which an instrumentation technician focuses.
Part of the testing of the devices includes communicating the data to engineering workers so that they are better able to make design decisions and evaluate those decisions. The type of equipment tested might include structural, mechanical or electrical equipment. He or she might also develop specifications for equipment according to the test data.
Another aspect of the job of an instrumentation technician includes selecting, installing, checking and recording the instrumentation devices. He or she might also sketch and build fixtures or instruments. In addition, he or she might verify the functionality of devices that were created by other workers.
Testing is an important aspect of the instrumentation technician's job. For example, he or she might install or tell people how to install a unit in a testing facility. He or she might also operate the test device in order to record the effects of certain conditions, such as temperature, humidity and altitude. Vibration, stress, pressure and acceleration are other conditions that the instrumentation technician might also test.
After the testing of devices is completed, the instrumentation technician analyzes the data and converts it into a form that other people can use. This often requires the use of math formulas. In addition, the data might be produced in terms of graphs or written reports. These help the technician to translate the test results for other personnel.
Although there are many areas in which an instrumentation technician might work, most specialize in one specific area, which might be medical devices or musical instruments, for example. There are many certifications for different fields. Certification is often offered through different associations, which might also offer courses and resources so that a technician can become certified in this area.
There are different certifications, depending on the area of specialization, and many instrumentation technicians receive multiple certifications so that they can work in a variety of fields. They often start out as an assistant to a professional technician and can work their way up. Local or regional licenses might also be required for specific jobs.
Many devices that instrumentation technicians work on are very small, so an eye for detail is very important. Good vision and dexterity are also crucial for this position. Some instrumentation technicians open their own repair shops, and interacting with customers requires strong communication skills.