Instrument Tech Job Description

Instrument techs install, repair, and maintain instruments and equipment, usually medical or electrical in nature. Factories, laboratories, medical facilities, and businesses that have complex instruments and equipment hire instrument techs to work flexible schedules that may include night, weekend, and on-call hours. Instrument techs report to a technician supervisor and work in a team environment within the facility itself, rarely traveling off-site to perform their normal duties.


Instrument Tech Duties and Responsibilities

Daily duties for instrument techs are varied, depending on the types of equipment at the hiring facility and the amount of instruments that require maintenance. However, the core duties are universal in all work environments.

Install Instruments

Instrument techs install instruments, ensuring that they all function properly at peak levels.

Troubleshoot and Repair

Instrument techs troubleshoot and isolate instrument problems, and make repairs to bring instruments back to full functionality.

Maintain Safety

Instrument techs maintain a safe work environment for themselves and all other co-workers by adhering to safety protocols.

Perform Daily Checks

Instrument techs check instruments and equipment daily to make necessary calibrations to keep everything operating precisely.

Answer Maintenance Requests

Instrument techs answer requests for maintenance work on all instruments and equipment.

Read and Interpret Blueprints

Instrument techs read and interpret blueprints, schematics, and work orders to repair and install instruments.


Instrument Tech Skills and Qualifications

Instrument techs are mechanically-minded individuals with strong attention to detail who install and service complicated instruments and equipment to keep it all functioning at peak levels. Facilities that hire instrument techs look for professionals who can display all the skills that are essential to this job.

  • Mathematics – instrument techs make precise calibrations of instruments, which requires excellent mathematics skills
  • Mechanical skills – instrument techs use strong mechanical skills to work with their hands installing and repairing complex instruments
  • Communication skills – instrument techs use verbal and written communication skills to respond to maintenance requests
  • Physical ability – instrument techs bend, squat, and stand for hours at a time working on equipment, activities that require physical ability
  • Analytical skills – instrument techs use analytical skills to troubleshoot problems with tools and equipment
  • Computer skills – as many instruments have digital controls, instrument techs use computer skills to complete their daily tasks


Tools of the Trade

Instrument techs regularly work with the following tools:

  • Hand tools (wrenches, screwdrivers, crowbars, cutters, hammers, punches, pliers)
  • Power tools (drills)
  • Measuring tools (calipers, measuring tape, gauges, manometers)


Instrument Tech Education and Training

Employers have varying education requirements for instrument techs, depending on whether they work on medical or electrical tools. A majority of employers accept candidates who have a high school diploma or equivalent. However, instrument techs who work on electrical instruments additionally need to have an electronics technician certificate. This certification can be obtained through job training or trade school completion.

Training is provided to instrument techs in all fields, the length of which varies by employer and by the career field. During training, instrument techs work closely with a supervisor and perform their duties while being closely monitored.


Instrument Tech Salary and Outlook

According to statistical data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), electro-mechanical technicians earned $56,740 median annual pay, or $27.28 hourly, in 2017. Their data shows that electro-mechanical technicians occupied more than 10,000 jobs in 2016, a number they expect to rise by four percent through the year 2026. This is slower than the national job growth average. Electro-mechanical technicians test all types of electromechanical equipment, performing duties similar to the regular job duties instrument techs perform. According to PayScale, instrument techs earn $20.26 median hourly salary.

Full-time instrument techs typically receive all insurance coverage from employers that includes health, dental, vision, life, and short-term disability. Paid holidays and vacation days are usually also offered in these benefits packages. Instrument techs also receive retirement planning benefits. Some employers offer additional employee perks such as free parking, free meals, wellness program enrollment, and continuing education reimbursement.


Helpful Resources

Browse these books and websites to find job tips, career advancement advice, and work strategies for instrument techs in all fields:

Calibration: A Technician’s Guide (ISA Technician) – this comprehensive guide provides practical tips for instrument techs when it comes to calibration. The text covers different types of calibration as it relates to various type of instruments, and includes spec sheets, diagrams, and examples.

Electronics Technicians Association International – find out more about certification programs, search for jobs, and learn how to be successful as an electrical instrument tech with the resources at this website.

Learner’s Guide to INDUSTRIAL INSTRUMENTS TECHNICIAN – written for beginners, this book provides questions and answers for instrument techs who are just getting started on this career path.

Association for the Advancement of Medical Instrumentation – visit this website to look for jobs in the medical instrument career field, explore professional development resources, and get up-to-date news and industry information for medical instrument techs.

Instrument Technician RED-HOT Career Guide; 2544 REAL Interview Questions – use this book to find the best ways to answer common interview questions posed to instrument techs during the job-seeking process and discover tips to continue impressing employers after being hired.

Instrument Contracting and Engineering Association – this website provides information about certification programs, upcoming event dates, and information for instrument techs in all industries.


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