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Precision Instrument Technician: Job Duties & Requirements

Precision instrument technicians maintain and repair delicate equipment and need to have a steady hand and excellent eyes to work with the tiny gears and parts of these instruments. Read more about the duties, training, salary and employment outlook to see if this job is the right one for you.

Career Definition for Precision Instrument Technicians

Precision instrument technicians are responsible for installing, repairing, and maintaining complex instruments, such as watches, photography equipment, medical equipment, or musical instruments. Many of the instruments that technicians work on are used for communication, entertainment, research, environmental, and scientific purposes.

Education High school diploma or GED; vocational training or on the job training is available
Job Skills Good vision and hearing, blueprint literacy, problem solving, understanding technical manuals, troubleshooting
Median Salary* $43,971 (2016)
Career Outlook 2014-2024* 4% (musical instrument repairers and tuners), 6% (medical equipment repairers)

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Education Required

Most precision instrument technicians are required to have a high school diploma or a GED. Some individuals choose to receive training through vocational schools or community colleges, while other can find extensive on-the-job training through company employment. Those who choose to receive company training will work closely with an experienced technician for one to two years, in order to learn the necessary skills of a precision instrument technician.

Necessary Skills

Potential precision instrument technicians need to develop the ability to understand technical manuals and follow blueprints. Precision instrument technicians must have excellent vision and hearing, which will help them with their problem-solving and troubleshooting skills.

Economic and Career Outlook

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), technicians working in the musical instrument field will see slower than average growth in employment opportunities at 4% between 2014 and 2024. Meanwhile, those working in the medical equipment repair industry can expect a 6% increase in career opportunities because of the advancements in technology and the continuous need to repair and maintain complex and lifesaving equipment. Salary.com reports that the median salary for a precision instrument technician was $43,971 as of 2016.

Alternate Career Options

Similar careers include:

Machinist

Machinists use blueprints or computer designs to set up and then operate manual or computer-numerically controlled machine tools to make machine parts according to specifications. After earning a high school diploma or its equivalent, those interested in a career as a machinist might attend postsecondary training programs; they may also learn through apprenticeships or while on the job. Average employment growth of 10% was projected by the BLS for these positions, from 2014-2024. In 2015, they earned a median salary of $40,550, per the BLS.

Surgical Technologist

Having earned an associate's degree or postsecondary certificate in surgical technology, these professionals then seek employment sterilizing surgical equipment, preparing patients for surgery, passing instruments to surgeons during surgery, and restocking the operating rooms upon completion of surgery. These techs could expect much faster than average job growth of 15% during the 2014-2024 decade, according to the BLS, and were paid a median wage of $44,330 in 2015.

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