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Become An Instrument Specialist

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Working As An Instrument Specialist

  • Repairing and Maintaining Electronic Equipment
  • Inspecting Equipment, Structures, or Material
  • Interacting With Computers
  • Getting Information
  • Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events
  • Make Decisions

  • $79,000

    Average Salary

What Does An Instrument Specialist Do

Electrical and electronics engineering technicians help engineers design and develop computers, communications equipment, medical monitoring devices, navigational equipment, and other electrical and electronic equipment. They often work in product evaluation and testing, using measuring and diagnostic devices to adjust, test, and repair equipment. They are also involved in the manufacture and deployment of equipment for automation.

Duties

Electrical engineering technicians typically do the following:

  • Put together electrical and electronic systems and prototypes
  • Build, calibrate, and repair electrical instruments or testing equipment
  • Visit construction sites to observe conditions affecting design
  • Identify solutions to technical design problems that arise during the construction of electrical systems
  • Inspect designs for quality control, report findings, and make recommendations
  • Draw diagrams and write specifications to clarify design details of experimental electronics units

Electrical engineering technicians install and maintain electrical control systems and equipment, and modify electrical prototypes, parts, and assemblies to correct problems. When testing systems, they set up test equipment and evaluate the performance of developmental parts, assemblies, or systems under simulated conditions. They then analyze test information to resolve design-related problems.

Electronics engineering technicians typically do the following:

  • Design basic circuitry and draft sketches to clarify details of design documentation, under engineers’ direction
  • Build prototypes from rough sketches or plans
  • Assemble, test, and maintain circuitry or electronic components according to engineering instructions, technical manuals, and knowledge of electronics
  • Adjust and replace defective circuitry and electronic components
  • Make parts, such as coils and terminal boards, by using bench lathes, drills, or other machine tools

Electronics engineering technicians identify and resolve equipment malfunctions and then work with manufacturers to get replacement parts. They also calibrate and perform preventative maintenance on equipment and systems.

These technicians often need to read blueprints, schematic drawings, and engineering instructions for assembling electronic units. They also write reports and record data on testing techniques, laboratory equipment, and specifications.

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How To Become An Instrument Specialist

Electrical and electronics engineering technicians typically need an associate’s degree.

Education

Programs for electrical and electronics engineering technicians usually lead to an associate’s degree in electrical or electronics engineering technology. Vocational–technical schools include postsecondary institutions that serve local students and emphasize training needed by local employers.

Community colleges offer programs similar to those in technical institutes but include more theory-based and liberal arts coursework. Some of these colleges allow students to concentrate in computer electronics, industrial electronics, or communications electronics.

Prospective electrical and electronics engineering technicians usually take courses in ANSI C, C++ programming, Java programming, physics, microprocessors, and circuitry. The Technology Accreditation Commission of ABET accredits programs that include at least college algebra, trigonometry, and basic science courses.

Important Qualities

Logical-thinking skills. Electrical and electronics engineering technicians must isolate and then identify problems for the engineering staff to work on. They need good reasoning skills to identify and fix problems. Technicians must also be able to follow a logical sequence or specific set of rules to carry out engineers’ designs, inspect designs for quality control, and put together prototypes.

Math skills. Electrical and electronics engineering technicians use math for analysis, design, and troubleshooting in their work.

Mechanical skills. Electronics engineering technicians in particular must be able to use hand tools and soldering irons on small circuitry and electronic parts to create detailed electronic components by hand.

Observational skills. Electrical engineering technicians sometimes visit construction sites to make sure that electrical engineers’ designs are being carried out correctly. They are responsible for evaluating projects onsite and reporting problems to engineers.

Problem-solving skills. Electrical and electronics engineering technicians create what engineers have designed and often test the designs to make sure that they work. Technicians help to resolve any problems that come up in carrying out the engineers’ designs.

Writing skills. These technicians must write reports about onsite construction, the results of testing, or problems they find when carrying out designs. Their writing must be clear and well organized so that the engineers they work with can understand the reports.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations

The National Institute for Certification in Engineering Technologies (NICET) offers certification in electrical power testing. This certification would benefit those technicians working in the electric power generation, transmission, and distribution industry.

ETA International also offers certifications in several fields, including basic electronics, biomedical, and renewable energy.

The International Society of Automation offers certification as a Control Systems Technician. To gain such certification, technicians must demonstrate skills in pneumatic, mechanical, and electronic instrumentation. In addition, they must demonstrate an understanding of process control loops and process control systems.

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Instrument Specialist Career Paths

Instrument Specialist
Field Service Technician Service Manager Operations Manager
Senior Operations Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Field Service Technician Service Manager General Manager
Operations Vice President
11 Yearsyrs
Field Service Technician Service Manager Project Manager
Product Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Account Executive Manager Production Manager
Manufacturing Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Account Executive Team Leader Quality Assurance Lead
Quality Assurance Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Account Executive Consultant Senior Engineer
Engineering Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Electrician Maintenance Supervisor Chief Engineer
Engineering Director
13 Yearsyrs
Electrician Maintenance Supervisor Maintenance Manager
Facilities Maintenance Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Electrician Foreman Superintendent
Quality Control Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Owner Vice President Chief Information Officer
Chief Technology Officer
11 Yearsyrs
Owner Maintenance Manager Production Manager
Technical Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Owner Maintenance Manager Engineering Manager
Senior Engineering Manager
12 Yearsyrs
Account Manager Project Manager Information Technology Project Manager
Engineering Program Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Account Manager Owner/Operator Project Superintendent
Project Engineering Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Account Manager Property Manager Compliance Manager
Controls Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Sales Specialist Consultant Senior Systems Analyst
Systems Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Sales Specialist Consultant Senior Engineer
Engineering Supervisor
6 Yearsyrs
Sales Specialist Analyst Chemist
Laboratory Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Instrumentation Engineer Electrical Engineer Manufacturing Engineer
Manufacturing Engineering Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Instrumentation Engineer Commissioning Engineer IC Technician
Senior Instrument Technician
8 Yearsyrs
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Do you work as an Instrument Specialist?

Instrument Specialist Demographics

Gender

Male

73.6%

Female

18.2%

Unknown

8.2%
Ethnicity

White

60.0%

Hispanic or Latino

17.5%

Black or African American

10.4%

Asian

7.8%

Unknown

4.2%
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Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

51.6%

French

16.1%

Chinese

9.7%

German

9.7%

Italian

6.5%

Japanese

3.2%

Mandarin

3.2%
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Instrument Specialist Education

Schools

University of Phoenix

12.0%

University of Houston

7.2%

Purdue University

7.2%

San Jacinto College District

7.2%

University of Wisconsin Extension

6.0%

Community College of the Air Force

6.0%

Michigan State University

4.8%

Florida Institute of Technology-Melbourne

4.8%

University of Arizona

4.8%

University of New Orleans

3.6%

Tennessee State University

3.6%

University of Cincinnati

3.6%

University of Wisconsin - Stevens Point

3.6%

Ashford University

3.6%

Glendale Community College

3.6%

Arizona State University

3.6%

Conservatory of Recording Arts and Sciences

3.6%

University of Akron

3.6%

Texas A&M University

3.6%

University of Puerto Rico - Rio Piedras Campus

3.6%
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Majors

Electrical Engineering

17.9%

Business

12.9%

Chemistry

8.8%

Music

7.9%

Biology

7.4%

Electrical Engineering Technology

6.7%

Geology

5.3%

Electromechanical Instrumentation And Maintenance Technologies/Technicians

5.0%

Management

3.3%

Marketing

3.1%

Physics

2.9%

Communication

2.6%

Engineering

2.6%

Computer Science

2.4%

Medical Technician

2.4%

Psychology

2.1%

Education

1.7%

Environmental Science

1.7%

Political Science

1.7%

Mechanical Engineering

1.7%
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Degrees

Bachelors

38.4%

Other

21.9%

Associate

18.3%

Masters

12.7%

Certificate

3.9%

Doctorate

2.7%

Diploma

1.4%

License

0.7%
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Job type you want
Full Time
Part Time
Internship
Temporary
Average Yearly Salary
$79,000
View Detailed Salary Report
$41,000
Min 10%
$79,000
Median 50%
$79,000
Median 50%
$79,000
Median 50%
$79,000
Median 50%
$79,000
Median 50%
$79,000
Median 50%
$79,000
Median 50%
$152,000
Max 90%
Best Paying Company
Exxon Mobil
Highest Paying City
Coon Rapids, MN
Highest Paying State
North Dakota
Avg Experience Level
3.9 years
How much does an Instrument Specialist make at top companies?
The national average salary for an Instrument Specialist in the United States is $79,995 per year or $38 per hour. Those in the bottom 10 percent make under $41,000 a year, and the top 10 percent make over $152,000.

Real Instrument Specialist Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Instrument Specialist Chevron Corporation Houston, TX Jun 17, 2013 $196,494
Instrument Reliability Specialist Dow Corning Corporation Carrollton, KY Sep 18, 2015 $95,971 -
$100,000
Instrument Reliability Specialist Dow Corning Corporation Carrollton, KY Sep 05, 2014 $94,141
Instrumentation Specialist SBM Atlantia, Inc. Houston, TX Oct 03, 2011 $90,563 -
$95,000
Eao/Jcmt Scuba-2 Instrument Specialist Research Corporation of The University of Hawaii Hilo, HI Apr 01, 2015 $90,022 -
$115,000
Instrument Specialist Veolia Water Technologies, Inc. Plainfield, IL Feb 18, 2015 $88,000
Instrumentation Specialist SBM Offshore USA, Inc. Houston, TX Oct 01, 2014 $83,387 -
$97,000
GPI Instrument Specialist Assoc. of Universities for Research In Astronomy/ Santa Cruz, CA Sep 26, 2012 $76,107 -
$80,000
Instrumentation Specialist Ardent Mills LLC Denver, CO Jun 15, 2015 $74,318
GPI Instrument Specialist Assoc. of Universities for Research In Astronomy/ Hilo, HI Nov 01, 2011 $70,000 -
$80,000
Instrument Specialist MKEC Engineering Consultants, Inc. Spring, TX May 12, 2014 $66,560
Instrument Specialist II S&B Infrastructure Ltd. Houston, TX Oct 01, 2011 $63,939
Research Instrument Specialist Texas Agrilife Research College Station, TX Jan 16, 2010 $63,500
Senior Marine Instrumentation Specialist Texas A&M University College Station, TX Apr 01, 2015 $63,069
Forensic/Clinical Laboratory Instrument Specialist National Forensic Sciences Consultants LLC Houston, TX Sep 01, 2015 $60,000
Laboratory Instrument Specialist National Forensic Sciences Consultants LLC Houston, TX Sep 01, 2015 $60,000
Instrumentation Specialist Astronomical Consultants & Equipment, Inc. Tucson, AZ Sep 27, 2011 $60,000
Instrumentation Specialist University of Wisconsin-Madison Madison, WI Sep 01, 2009 $59,057
Instrumentation Specialist Stress Engineering Services, Inc. Metairie, LA Aug 25, 2011 $54,642
Calibration and Instrumentation Specialist Wavelab Global, Inc. Reston, VA Jan 01, 2010 $50,610
Calibration and Instrumentation Specialist Wave-Lab Global, Inc. Reston, VA Jan 01, 2010 $50,610
Calibration and Instrumentation Specialist Wave-Lab Global Inc. Reston, VA Jan 01, 2010 $50,610

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Top Skills for An Instrument Specialist

  1. Laboratory Equipment
  2. Procedures
  3. PLC
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Support in Preventive Maintenance programs, Calibrations, Troubleshooting and repair of Laboratory Equipment by executing and documenting all associated activities.
  • Update Standard Operating Procedures to incorporate regulatory and client requirements.
  • Created PLC interface for microprocessor based GC and PC improving measurement consistency and efficiency.
  • Performed daily, weekly and monthly maintenance of analytical instrumentation, building relationships with clients to ensure customer satisfaction.
  • Maintained adequate sterilization of instruments and equipment for surgical procedures.

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Top 10 Best States for Instrument Specialists

  1. District of Columbia
  2. Massachusetts
  3. Delaware
  4. Rhode Island
  5. Texas
  6. Alaska
  7. Minnesota
  8. New Jersey
  9. Virginia
  10. Colorado
  • (513 jobs)
  • (1,089 jobs)
  • (108 jobs)
  • (127 jobs)
  • (2,242 jobs)
  • (95 jobs)
  • (756 jobs)
  • (828 jobs)
  • (1,724 jobs)
  • (673 jobs)

Top Instrument Specialist Employers

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