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Apprenticeship

Instrument Technician

Instrument technicians install, maintain and repair the measuring and control devices used in industrial and commercial processing.



  • Avg. Salary $83,729.00
  • Avg. Wage $40.57
  • Minimum Education Apprenticeship
  • Outlook below avg
  • Employed 5,300
  • In Demand Medium
Also Known As

Instrument Repair Technician, Mechanic, Service Technician

NOC Codes

In Canada, the federal government groups and organizes occupations based on a National Occupational Classification (NOC) system. This alis occupation may not reflect the entire NOC group it is part of. Data for the NOC group can apply across multiple occupations.

The NOC system is updated every 5 years to reflect changes in the labour market. Government forms and labour market data may group and refer to an occupation differently, depending on the system used. Here is how this occupation has been classified over time:

  • 2006 NOC: Industrial Instrument Technicians and Mechanics (2243) 
  • 2006 NOC-S: Industrial Instrument Technicians and Mechanics (C143) 
  • 2011 NOC: Industrial instrument technicians and mechanics (2243) 
Skills Shortage

Employers that Recruited in the Last 2 Years

31%
31%
Average Wage
Starting
Overall
Top
  • Certification Provincially Regulated
  • Strength Required Lift over 20 kg
Interest Codes
The Instrument Technician is part of the following larger National Occupational Classification (NOC).
Industrial Instrument Technicians and Mechanics
OBJECTIVE

Interest in precision working to repair and adjust system components such as sensors, transmitters and programmable logic controllers, remove and replace defective parts and to install control and measurement instruments on existing and new plant equipment and processes

INNOVATIVE

Interest in analyzing to inspect and test instruments to diagnose faults using pneumatic, electrical and electronic testing devices and precision measuring instruments

METHODICAL

Interest in speaking to consult with and advise process operators; and in performing scheduled preventive maintenance

Reading Interest Codes
A Quick Guide

The interest code helps you figure out if you’d like to work in a particular occupation. 
It’s based on the Canadian Work Preference Inventory (CWPI), which measures 5 occupational interests: Directive, Innovative, Methodical, Objective and Social.

Each set of 3 interest codes is listed in order of importance.

A code in capital letters means it’s a strong fit for the occupation.

A code in all lowercase letters means the fit is weaker.

Learn More

Duties
Updated Dec 19, 2016

Instrument technicians work with a wide variety of pneumatic, electronic and microcomputer devices that are used to measure and control pressure, flow, temperature, level, motion, force and chemical composition. In general, technicians:

  • consult manufacturers' manuals to determine test and maintenance procedures
  • use pneumatic, electrical and electronic testing devices to inspect and test instrument and system operation, and diagnose faults
  • implement loss management practices
  • consult with and advise process operators
  • repair, maintain and adjust system components or remove and replace defective parts
  • do risk assessments
  • calibrate and maintain components and instruments according to manufacturers' specifications
  • work with engineers on basic design
  • install and maintain instruments on new or existing plant equipment and processes
  • interpret and use appropriate CSA, ISA and API installation standards and practices
  • train apprentices.
Working Conditions
Updated Dec 19, 2016

Instrument technicians may work regular week-day hours or work shifts, and are sometimes on call at night and on weekends.

Working conditions may change dramatically from one job to another. Instrument technicians working with manufacturing processes may be exposed to noisy, dusty, cold or unusually warm conditions, confined spaces, high places, radiation devices or laser equipment. There is some risk of injury particularly when processing dangerous chemicals or working with substances under pressure or at high temperatures.

Instrument technicians may be required to lift or move items that weigh up to 25 kilograms.

  • Strength Required Lift over 20 kg
Skills & Abilities
Updated Dec 19, 2016

Instrument technicians need the following characteristics:

  • the ability to pay careful attention to details
  • good communication and reading skills
  • manual dexterity
  • patience
  • good mathematical, scientific and mechanical and logical reasoning abilities
  • the ability and desire to keep up to date with changes in technology.

They should enjoy solving problems and working with little direction or supervision.

Educational Requirements
Updated Dec 19, 2016

To work in Alberta, an instrument technician must be ONE of the following:

  • a registered apprentice
  • an Alberta-certified journeyperson
  • someone who holds a recognized related trade certificate  
  • someone who works for an employer who is satisfied that the worker has the skills and knowledge expected of certified journeyperson
  • self-employed.

To register with Alberta Apprenticeship and Industry Training, apprentices must:

  • have an Alberta high school transcript with at least English Language Arts 20-2, Math 30-3, Physics 30 and Chemistry 30, or equivalent, or pass the entrance exam.
  • find a suitable employer who is willing to hire and train an apprentice. Most employers prefer to hire high school or post-secondary program graduates who have strong backgrounds in the chemical and physical processes involved in instrumentation. Courses in math, physics and chemistry are particularly important.  

The term of apprenticeship is 4 years (four 12 month periods) that include a minimum of:

  • 1,500 hours of on-the-job training and 8 weeks of technical training in the first and second year
  • 1,425 hours of on-the-job training and 10 weeks of technical training in the third and fourth year.

High school students can earn credits toward apprenticeship training and a high school diploma at the same time through the Registered Apprenticeship Program (RAP).

Applicants who have related training or work experience may be eligible for credit or certification.

Instrument technician apprentices may take the interprovincial exam in the final period of their apprenticeship training to earn a Red Seal (certification recognized in most parts of Canada).

Technical training is arranged by Alberta Apprenticeship and Industry Training and is currently offered at:

  • Grande Prairie Regional College in Fairview 
  • Lakeland College in Vermilion
  • the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology (NAIT) in Edmonton
  • Red Deer College 
  • the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology (SAIT) in Calgary.

For more information, visit the Technical Training Centre on the Alberta Apprenticeship and Industry Training website.


Related Education

The following schools offer programs or courses that are related to this occupation but are not required to enter the field.

Apprenticeship Trades

For a broad list of programs and courses that may be related to this occupation try searching using keywords.

Certification Requirements
Updated Dec 19, 2016

Instrument Technician

Instrument technicians install, maintain and repair the measuring and control devices used in industrial and commercial processing. For more information, see the Trades and Occupations section of Alberta's Tradesecrets website.

Legislation

Under Alberta's Apprenticeship and Industry Training Act and Instrument Technician Trade Regulation, you do not have to be certified if you are self-employed or work for an employer who is satisfied that you have the skills and knowledge expected of a journeyperson certified by Alberta Apprenticeship and Industry Training. To learn the trade, you must become a registered apprentice.

What You Need

The term of apprenticeship for apprentice instrument technicians in Alberta is four years (four 12 month periods) that include a minimum of 1,500 hours of on-the-job training and eight weeks of technical training in each of the first two years and 1,425 hours of on-the-job training and ten weeks of technical training in each of the last two years. Apprentices must find suitable employers who are willing to hire and train apprentices, and successfully complete technical training examinations.

Working in Alberta

Instrument technicians trained in other provinces and territories can work in Alberta if they hold a certificate or license recognized by the Alberta Apprenticeship and Industry Training Board or have the skills and knowledge expected of a journeyperson certified in Alberta. For more information, see the Recognized Trade Certificates page of the Tradesecrets website.

Contact Details

Any of the Apprenticeship and Industry Training Client Service Offices located throughout Alberta. For a list of office locations and telephone numbers, click on "Contact Us" on the home page of the Tradesecrets website (tradesecrets.alberta.ca).

This is an Apprenticeship trade. For full details, see the related certification profile

Employment & Advancement
Updated Dec 19, 2016

With industry becoming increasingly automated, instrument technicians are needed virtually anywhere there are control and metering systems. They are employed in the following industries:

  • pulp and paper processing
  • utilities (for example, water, waste water, power and natural gas)
  • mining, petrochemical and hydrocarbons
  • industrial and commercial manufacturing
  • industrial construction
  • industrial instrument servicing
  • food processing.

Experienced instrument technicians may advance to supervisory positions, be employed as engineering technicians or move into company sales offices. Alberta certified journeyperson instrument technicians who have the supervisory or management skills required by industry may apply for an Achievement in Business Competencies Blue Seal by contacting Alberta Apprenticeship and Industry Training.

Instrument technicians are part of the larger 2011 National Occupational Classification 2243: Industrial instrument technicians and mechanics. In Alberta, 86% of people employed in this classification work in the following industries:

The employment outlook in this occupation will be influenced by a wide variety of factors including:

  • trends and events affecting overall employment (especially in the industries listed above)
  • location in Alberta
  • employment turnover (work opportunities generated by people leaving existing positions)
  • occupational growth (work opportunities resulting from the creation of new positions that never existed before)
  • size of the occupation.

Over 5,300 Albertans are employed in the Industrial instrument technicians and mechanics occupational group. This group is expected to have a below-average annual growth of 1.1% from 2016 to 2020. As a result, 58 new positions are forecast to be created each year, in addition to job openings created by employment turnover. Note: As instrument technicians form only a part of this larger occupational group, only some of these newly created positions will be for instrument technicians.  

Employment turnover is expected to increase as members of the baby boom generation retire over the next few years.

Wage & Salary
Updated Dec 19, 2016

Journeyperson wage rates vary but generally range from $30 to $55 an hour plus benefits (2014 estimates). Apprentice instrument technicians earn at least 55% of the journeyperson wage rate in their place of employment in the first year, 65% in the second, 75% in the third and 85% in the fourth.

Industrial instrument technicians and mechanics

Survey Methodology

Survey Analysis

Overall Wage Details
Average Wage
Average Salary
Hours Per Week

Hourly Wage
For full-time and part-time employees
  • Low
  • High
  • Average
  • Median
Starting
Overall
Top
Wages* Low (5th percentile) High (95th percentile) Average Median
Starting $19.80 $54.54 $32.49 $34.00
Overall $24.87 $55.62 $40.57 $38.67
Top $30.00 $57.69 $46.18 $46.00

Swipe left and right to view all data. Scroll left and right to view all data.

* All wage estimates are hourly except where otherwise indicated. Wages and salaries do not include overtime hours, tips, benefits, profit shares, bonuses (unrelated to production) and other forms of compensation.

B: Good Reliability
Data Reliability Code Definition

Good Reliability, represents a CV of between 6.01% and 15.00% and/or fewer than 30 survey observations and/or if survey observations represent less than 50% of all estimated employment for the occupation.


Industry Information
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Professional, Scientific & Technical Services
Construction
ALL INDUSTRIES
Wholesale Trade

Skills Shortage

Employers that Recruited in the Last 2 Years

43%
43%

Recruiting Employers that Experienced Hiring Difficulties

31%
31%

Employers with Unfilled Vacancies of over 4 Months

6%
6%

Vacancy Rate

2%
Related Post-Secondary Field of Study
  • Engineering and Science Technologies
  • Trades, Industrial and Related Training
Other Sources of Information
Updated Dec 19, 2016

Alberta Apprenticeship and Industry Training website: tradesecrets.alberta.ca

For more information on career planning, education and jobs call the Alberta Supports Contact Centre toll-free at 1-877-644-9992 or 780-644-9992 in Edmonton, or visit an Alberta Supports Centre near you.

Updated Mar 30, 2015. The information contained in this profile is current as of the dates shown. Salary, employment outlook and educational program information may change without notice. It is advised that you confirm this information before making any career decisions.

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