The course of study for instrumentation technicians is similar to that of electronic technicians, and many schools combine the two fields into a single certificate or associate's degree program. Other schools, however, offer programs specifically in instrumentation technology. In addition to electronics, programs typically cover things like hydraulic systems, calibration of instruments and safety practices.
Here are some common concepts taught in instrument technician courses:
- Usages and applications of different types of electrical current
- Flow of electrical power
- Making sure tools work correctly and efficiently
- Safety procedures regarding materials and equipment used
List of Common Courses
DC Electrical Systems Course
This course focuses on direct current, one of the fundamental subjects in electronics. Students learn about the theory and function of direct current systems, including how this knowledge can be applied in an industrial environment. The curriculum covers direct current circuits, such as series, parallel and series-parallel, as well as inductors and capacitors, conductors and semiconductors, batteries and testing and measuring equipment.
AC Electrical Systems Course
Similar to its complementary course in DC electrical systems, this course teaches the theory, systems and industrial applications of alternating current. Topics covered include transformers, single and polyphase motors and AC circuit configurations. The latter subject includes a study of AC circuitry in series and parallel, as well as resistors, capacitors and inductors. Students learn the various functions of AC, including RLC, impedance, phase relationships and power factor. Test and measurement equipment may also be part of this course, which typically has a prerequisite of DC electrical systems.
Process Measurement Instrumentation Course
This course introduces students to the concepts of pressure, flow, temperature, level and other industrial processes and variables measured by standard instrumentation. Students learn the theory and applications behind these processes, including how to take analytical measurements and properly calibrate instrumentation.
Other topics involved with this subject include force, position and weight. While this course often requires a single semester for completion, some programs present process measurement instrumentation as two successive courses, with the first course serving as an introduction while the second goes deeper into the material using the skills that students will have mastered in the introductory class.
Hydraulics and Pneumatics Course
Sometimes offered as two separate courses divided by subject, hydraulics and pneumatics focuses on air and fluid power principles, function and application. Hydraulics involves the fluid power aspect of the material, with pneumatics covering air power. Students learn the manner in which air and fluid power systems are pressurized, directed and controlled.
By the end of the course, students are able to read hydraulic and pneumatic prints, set up and operate trainers, as well as install, maintain and provide technical support for both types of system. Safety is also an emphasis of the course material in this 1-semester course; however, in programs which treat hydraulics and pneumatics as separate subjects, this course can be longer.