Calibration technicians play a very important role in many businesses and in specialized industries such as the automotive, aviation and medical industries. Calibration technicians test, adjust, and maintain a wide variety of dimensional, electrical, mechanical, and optical testing equipment. They also troubleshoot and repair the equipment if the equipment is found to be defective.
The goal of calibration technicians is to ensure the accuracy of all test and measurement equipment and ensure that equipment is calibrated correctly and in conformance to established standards such as ISO/IEC 17025, ASTM, and other industry-specific standards. This enables businesses to have confidence in the measurements and results they use in their processes and can help to reduce costs from manufacturing errors.
Calibration technicians work in many calibration disciplines, each having different types of test equipment and measurement standards. Calibration technicians work with various types of mechanical and electronic measurement equipment that measure parameters in areas such as electrical, temperature, humidity, pressure, dimensional, mass, flow, force and torque.
General Skills Required for Calibration Technicians
Calibration technicians must be meticulous and accurate and perform calibrations in a proficient and reliable manner. They must be familiar with industry calibration standards, should have basic computer and electronics skills and must be able to operate many different types of equipment properly. Other important skills that calibration technicians should have in order to perform well include:
Good Communication Skills:
Communication skills, both verbal and written, are something that is required in almost every field but when it comes to a calibration technician, it becomes a very important skill to have. Communicating test results and equipment statuses to customers is a daily part of the job. The writing of calibration procedures, validation plans, and nonconformance reports are important tasks that also need to be performed.
Good Understanding of Math and Science:
Calibration Technicians use some form of mathematics every day, from determining equipment specifications to using Ohms Law. Many of the calibration disciplines are based on scientific principles, therefore, if you love science, you can easily understand the work that is performed.
Analytical and Interpreting Skills:
In order to complete the calibration process, you should have good analytical and interpreting skills to effectively analyze and interpret the measurement data and other important information.
Educational Opportunities and Certifications
The following certification and technical training resources are useful to assist calibration technicians to learn the foundations and techniques of the calibration process that can be used to make an impact on the operation of the calibration laboratory.
Certified Calibration Technician (CCT):
The Certified Calibration Technician Certification from the American Society for Quality (ASQ) is the premier certification for calibration technicians. If you have five years of experience in the calibration field or a suitable degree in a related field, you can apply for this CCT certification. The CCT certification requires passing a 125 question, 4-hour test on various topics related to the calibration field as shown below.
General Metrology – Discusses the use of measurement standards and the traceability hierarchy and the understanding of the International System (SI) of units.
Measurement Systems – Demonstrates the understanding of various measurement methods, errors, data considerations and the application of equipment specifications.
Calibration Systems – Demonstrates the interpretation of calibration procedures, calibration certificates and other management documentation and the use of laboratory environmental controls, and calibration processes such as validation and equipment scheduling.
Measurement Uncertainty and Applied Math – Develops the understanding of measurement uncertainty budgets and the use of general mathematics and basic statistical calculations.
Quality Systems and Standards – Provides an overview of quality management systems, quality audits, safety requirements and the importance of industry standards, such as ISO/IEC 17025.
Diploma from Technical School:
Some community colleges and technical schools offer programs that provide a certificate or degree in either a calibration or metrology program or programs in related fields such as measurement technology, electronics, mechanical engineering, statistical quality control, or applied physical science.
There are a number of calibration or metrology training programs offered by 3rd party businesses or major manufacturers such as Fluke, where you can attend training seminars and online courses that cover the entire range of calibration disciplines. There are also many training courses that are solely dedicated to training for passing the CCT exam.