What is a Calibration Technician?
A calibration technician is in charge of controlling, repairing and maintaining machines and equipment, usually in a production or manufacturing environment. She is not referred to as an engineer, but the education and expertise required to excel as a calibration technician are significant. Regardless of the industry, each time the mechanical processes or electronic instruments are upgraded or replaced, she is required to upgrade her knowledge and skills to properly maintain and calibrate them. Some calibration technicians work exclusively in-house, and others primarily perform their work at customer sites.
The main job duties of a calibration technician require a mastery of testing and calibrating tools, such as oscilloscopes, calipers, pressure gauges, and temperature controllers. Knowledge of international ISO standards is required, along with a good understanding of electricity and electrical circuitry. The ability to set up test equipment and troubleshoot components is required, and technicians can also be expected to prepare service reports and accurately document parts replacement and repair.
In addition to technical expertise, communication skills are important attributes for a calibration technician. In-house technicians are required to effectively communicate with department managers and plant or manufacturing personnel to identify and resolve equipment and machine problems. Technicians who travel to customer sites to perform calibration and repairs need to effectively correspond with clients to analyze situations and advise on preventive maintenance options. Both types of technicians benefit from good vendor relations.
Calibration technicians can find work in a variety of environments. Large plants or manufacturing facilities may employ one or more full-time calibration technicians. Parts vendors often hire calibration technicians to market and sell their products based on the technicians’ knowledge of the parts, applications and testing procedures. Third party maintenance firms who contract their services with a variety of small to large manufacturing companies employ general calibration technicians as well as those who specialize in the maintenance and repair of specific product lines.
Some calibration technician jobs only require a high school diploma or equivalent and provide on the job training. Other positions require an associate’s degree in instrumentation or electronic technology or two years of solid experience in electrical or mechanical calibration and repair. Applicable degrees are offered by some trade schools, technical training institutes or junior colleges. Additional certifications in specific areas of calibration technology are offered by some schools. Industry organizations sometimes offer seminars and courses to keep calibration technicians informed of new technologies and equipment they may be required to maintain or repair.
This is a good article about how mechanical calibration technician does. Thank you for sharing this information. I think it would be fun to get into this business.
@NathanG - Yeah, the calibration technician doesn’t need necessarily a college degree to learn how to use certain equipment and adjust it so that it works within acceptable specs.
Usually I believe that the calibration technician certification is sufficient to prove you’ve demonstrated the skills to do those tasks.
However, I always believe in the “plus” factor – or the value add – when it comes to landing the job you want.
If you have a college degree, especially in a technical field, it adds something to your skill set and more importantly gives you the opportunity to branch out into other industries.
@hamje32 - I think that you raise a good point. In my opinion those kinds of metrology jobs (as they’re commonly called, jobs that have to do with measuring things) are difficult to pin down, because they’re usually part of a larger context.
Who doesn’t engage in measurement in some capacity? Think about any specialized industry, and you will find someone who is a technician of some sort using special equipment to carry out precise measurements.
Does this make them a calibration technician? I think the real difference is that the calibration technician, according to this article, is in charge of managing equipment and tools and making sure that it works correctly.
Other technicians may use the tools themselves to perform tests, but they are not in charge of calibrating the equipment – that’s not their primary job role. That’s my take anyway.
Our company works in the utilities industry. We have relay technicians who often have to work with relay test equipment, and they perform a variety of calibration services as part of their job functions.
The relays have to be calibrated to trip at just the right time, otherwise they are for all practical purposes faulty, and they could fail in the event of a power surge.
I suppose that if you’re a general technician (without specializing in any industry) you could get by with just a high school diploma and some calibration training.
However if, as with our industry, your work is part of a larger role that involves electrical equipment within a specialized industry, you need at least a college degree. Most of our technicians come with degrees in Electrical Engineering or some other facet of engineering.
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