Calibration Technicians are responsible for the calibration, testing, monitoring, troubleshooting and repair of various types of mechanical and electronic instruments, measuring equipment, and control systems. Calibration technicians possess strong measurement capabilities, mathematics knowledge and analytical and communication skills that are used every day in the performance of their job duties and in the interactions with other team members.
Calibration Technicians work with instrumentation and equipment in the disciplines of electronic, physical/dimensional, mass, flow, pressure, temperature, humidity, sound, frequencies, optical and many other types of measuring equipment. Calibration Technicians are employed across many critical and regulated industries such as the aerospace, automotive, manufacturing, electrical, nuclear, medical and pharmaceutical industries.
The work that the Calibration Technician performs is very important and helps to ensure that the equipment meets the manufacturer’s specifications or industry standards and consistently provides accurate and reliable results. Without the accurate calibration of measuring equipment, many manufacturing and inspection processes would be severely impacted.
Recently, the Standard Occupational Classification published by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics included the Calibration Technician occupation as a unique occupation for the first time in its Occupational Outlook Handbook. This handbook is the leading public resource used by school counselors and job placement professionals to inform students and prospective job candidates about an occupation’s job functions, demographics, responsibilities, job descriptions, pay scales and other resources.
The inclusion of the Calibration Technician in the handbook will help to spread the word about the calibration occupation to younger students that are in the process of making education and career decisions and it will assist those individuals to investigate a career in measurement and calibration instead of choosing an alternate path.
Other job titles and occupations that are related to the calibration Technician position include Instrument Test Technician, Quality Control Technician, Calibration Engineer, Metrologist, Electronics Technician, Equipment Support Specialist, Avionics Technician, and Mechanical Engineering Technician, to name a few. Also, a large number of administrative occupations are required to support the calibration process such as Customer Service Representatives, Documentation Specialists, and Quality Assurance Engineers.
Unfortunately, most current STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) curriculum and training through major universities do not provide specific calibration or metrology courses to learn the skills and knowledge required for calibration technicians.
This absence of formal training has led to a shortage of skilled calibration technicians in the job market as older military trained technicians are retiring.
Although the military still provides metrology training, most of the training today is found in smaller technical schools, trade schools, or community colleges. Obtaining an associate’s degree in other related technical fields such as engineering or electronics can qualify students for most calibration technician positions.
Many companies will provide on the job training so that the technician can become familiar with the specific equipment used within the company. Many major manufacturers such as Fluke and Tektronix have calibration related training that is geared towards specific calibration disciples such as pressure, torque and mass calibration techniques.
Although Calibration Technicians are not required to be certified, the Certified Calibration Technician Certification (CCT) from the American Society for Quality (ASQ) is available to technicians seeking recognition in the field. This certification requires passing a 4 hour/125 question exam on various aspects of the calibration process and regulations and is available to technicians who have at least five years of work experience or 3 years of work experience for calibration technicians who have received a diploma or a degree in a related field.
Specific training materials and online classes are available that address the body of knowledge required for the test and include practice tests to become familiar with the information and the testing process. The certification is good for 3 years and relevant work history and continuing education is required for recertification.
Should you be calibrating your instruments in-house or outsourced? Read our guide to find out.