Instrumentation Technician

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Comments (24)

Tony Brown in Atlanta, Georgia

69 months ago

I am a certified Journeyman Electrician that graduated with an A.S. degree in Electronic Engineering Technology with Instrumentation in July of 2008. I graduated with a 3.0 GPA but have yet to land a job. I am a member of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers and worked as an Instrumentaion Technician at the EXXON MOBIL refinery of Beaumont, TX. I was employed from September to December through a union contractor and the job has ended. I cannot understand why I am not getting favorable results when applying for entry level positions. Can someone please help me.

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Real Tech in Willis, Texas

67 months ago

Tony Brown in Atlanta, Georgia said: I am a certified Journeyman Electrician that graduated with an A.S. degree in Electronic Engineering Technology with Instrumentation in July of 2008. I graduated with a 3.0 GPA but have yet to land a job. I am a member of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers and worked as an Instrumentaion Technician at the EXXON MOBIL refinery of Beaumont, TX. I was employed from September to December through a union contractor and the job has ended. I cannot understand why I am not getting favorable results when applying for entry level positions. Can someone please help me.

I am an Electronics Technician in the Houston area with 13 experience working in oil exploration and 10 yrs at NASA repairing space shuttle launch processing systems. I have worked in R&D and manufacturing. I have a very strong understanding of electronics with many years of component level troubleshooting experience. Even with all this I have not found any jobs available. Even the staffing agencies with the low paying contract jobs don't have any Electronics jobs now. Times are very hard, I have not seen this before in my life time. I have seen jobs listed in this area for process control but the all require yrs of experience. The oil service companies are supposed to start hiring in the fourth quarter again. With all the people that have been laid off there should be some heavy demand for techs next year. Good luck

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Ritchie in Decatur, Illinois

66 months ago

My experience is they want more and more for their dollar. I've been in intrumentation since 2003. The companies I've worked for want you to know more than just intrumentation. They want you to be able to do level, pressure, temp, pH, motor control, PLC, DCS, rebuild valves and actuators, robotics, pnuematics, metal detectors, conductivity meters, changing motors, gear boxes, .....24 VDC up to 34,000 AC. The list is endless what they expect now. I once filled in for an engineer, worked three differnt areas of the plant. Plus swept the shop and wash the truck lol. I'm serious

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Tony in Seattle, Washington

66 months ago

Ritchie in Decatur, Illinois said: My experience is they want more and more for their dollar. I've been in intrumentation since 2003. The companies I've worked for want you to know more than just intrumentation.

I've been in instrumentation since 1989, and most of what you cite (level, pressure, temp, pH, motor control . . .) has always been a part of the field. The only thing on your list I haven't been asked to do is change a gearbox or work on a metal detector, but neither would be a stretch for a good instrument technician.

Instrumentation is a very dynamic and expansive field, which is why most practitioners of the trade love it. Companies don't necessarily expect a new hire to do be able to do everything, but they do expect you to be able and willing to learn. I have never seen an employer disappointed at an employee willing to learn new things. If continually learning new skills, working more than one area of a plant, and occasionally cleaning up a messy shop seems unreasonable for you, then you should seriously look for a different career.

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Tony in Seattle, Washington

66 months ago

Tony Brown in Atlanta, Georgia said: I am a certified Journeyman Electrician that graduated with an A.S. degree in Electronic Engineering Technology with Instrumentation in July of 2008. I graduated with a 3.0 GPA but have yet to land a job. I am a member of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers and worked as an Instrumentaion Technician at the EXXON MOBIL refinery of Beaumont, TX. I was employed from September to December through a union contractor and the job has ended. I cannot understand why I am not getting favorable results when applying for entry level positions. Can someone please help me.

Times are tough right now -- hang in there. Keep applying for positions, entry-level and otherwise. Often a company will post for a position asking for people with lots of experience but offering only entry-level wages. Apply for those jobs anyway -- you'd be surprised how often the "minimum experience" criterion gets ignored when they find a hard worker with a good attitude.

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adam in Yakima, Washington

61 months ago

I go to school in yakima, wa at Perry tech and I have learned theroys of operation and have a grasp of everything Ritchie discussed, and my understanding is I need to know all of those things and more. I am not a master at them, but i do know what they are and how they work. I know i will learn much more in the field but that is what is exciting about this field as far as i am conserend.

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Rusty Nash in Leesburg, Georgia

60 months ago

I know and realize also how trying these times are. In 2009 alone, I have been laid off 3 times by 3 different employers. I am an E&I Technician of 14 years. My first I was the branch manager of a major electronic repair company. They closed our shop due to one of our major customers closing there facility in our city. The second was a contract job with the Air Force. The contract was bought out and they laid people off. The third was again with a Marine contract group. They laid off 300 of us. I do know times are hard but, keep your heads up. There are jobs out there you just have to go get them. My advice is apply for everything. Something will come along. I had three jobs and only drew 1 unemployment check. I have just drawn my 2nd but I also had 2 job interviews that went very well this past week. They were both with major manufacturing companies. My applying for everything attitude pays off. Keep our heads up and something will come along. Just keep up the faith and you will be placed where you are needed.

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Controls guy in Morton, Illinois

53 months ago

Tony Brown in Atlanta, Georgia said: I am a certified Journeyman Electrician that graduated with an A.S. degree in Electronic Engineering Technology with Instrumentation in July of 2008. I graduated with a 3.0 GPA but have yet to land a job. I am a member of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers and worked as an Instrumentaion Technician at the EXXON MOBIL refinery of Beaumont, TX. I was employed from September to December through a union contractor and the job has ended. I cannot understand why I am not getting favorable results when applying for entry level positions. Can someone please help me.

The midwest right now is the place to look if you want to get in back into instrumentation/controls. Are you willing to relocate? I had no problem finding a job in the midwest in that field. One thing is different in our degrees though, I have an AAS in Electrical Engineering Technology and you have Electronics. Maybe that difference is why your having a problem in finding an instrumentation job?

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Joliet Joshua in Illinois

50 months ago

I am an I.B.E.W. Instrument technician who is finding it very hard to get experience in the field. I have landed a few really good jobs in the last few years, but with the way instrumentation works in the I.B.E.W., the guys with more experience seem to get 95% of the jobs. Does anyone know of a way to search union tech jobs or have any contacts with union tech contractors I could send my resume out to in order to continue gaining experience in the field? I appreciate all the help I can get.

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Prospects in Harlingen, Texas

49 months ago

What is the working conditions like for an I&E Tech? Is it mainly outside work or in the air-conditon shop. Also is it dirty and you have to wear all that hot uniform (fireproof coveralls, steeltoes, googles, hardhat, etc.)

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prospects in Harlingen, Texas

49 months ago

Real Tech in Willis, Texas said: I am an Electronics Technician in the Houston area with 13 experience working in oil exploration and 10 yrs at NASA repairing space shuttle launch processing systems. I have worked in R&D and manufacturing. I have a very strong understanding of electronics with many years of component level troubleshooting experience. Even with all this I have not found any jobs available. Even the staffing agencies with the low paying contract jobs don't have any Electronics jobs now. Times are very hard, I have not seen this before in my life time. I have seen jobs listed in this area for process control but the all require yrs of experience. The oil service companies are supposed to start hiring in the fourth quarter again. With all the people that have been laid off there should be some heavy demand for techs next year. Good luck

You havn't seen anything like it before because more than likely they are sending your job overseas for the cheap labor to avoid your high costs! "Profits"

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Jack in Tacoma, Washington

49 months ago

prospects in Harlingen, Texas said: You havn't seen anything like it before because more than likely they are sending your job overseas for the cheap labor to avoid your high costs! "Profits"

If you need to ask what the working conditions are like for an instrument tech, you probably don't know enough about the job to claim it is being outsourced . . .

An instrument tech installs, maintains, and diagnoses measurement and control systems in a wide range of industries, the top-paying usually related to oil, energy, and chemical production. If the facility in question has a lot of equipment exposed to the weather (e.g. oil refineries), the tech is going to be doing a lot of outside work in all kinds of weather wearing all kinds of PPE (coveralls, chemical suits, arc flash hoods, etc.). If the facility has most of its equipment indoors (e.g. pharmaceuticals manufacturing), the tech will be doing most work indoors in more hospitable conditions.

Instrument tech jobs are only as outsource-able as the industries they serve. If a pulp mill shuts down and is replaced by another mill overseas, then those US jobs will of course be lost. On the other hand, many industries such as municipal water treatment, power generation, and oil/gas pipelines simply cannot be outsourced and so those instrument tech jobs are quite safe.

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JOE HILL GOMPERS in Baldwin Park, California

47 months ago

the time is ripe for violent revolution.

bring guido back . some one got to do the dirty work .

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ibew in Los Angeles, California

42 months ago

the schools are over producing brand new /freshly minted techs ever semister that every 20 weeks ..

its all the schools fault for flooding the mark with an over supply of workes .

over trained and under worked .

i been every where working -bro

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GROWLER

36 months ago

WHEN IS VERY BODY GOING TO RECONIZE THE SYMBIOTIC RELATIONSHIP BUSINESS HAS WITH SCHOOLS .

BIG BUSINESS IS REGULATING THE IDEAL OF SUPPLY AND DEMAND BY RIGGING THE GAME !

FALSE STATEMENT OF HUGE GROWTH IN CONSTRUCTION SPURE EXCESS APPLICANTS TRYING TO ENTER CONSTRUCTION TRADES.

THERE IS DICHOTOMY HERE TO BE EVALUATED IN DETAIL .

UNION APPRENTICESHIPS ARE HELPED - PAID FOR BY FEDERAL MONIES ,
POLITICIANS ARE BOUGHT BY LOBBYISTS SUCH AS BIG BUSINESS.
BIG BUSINESS LOOKS GOOD BY FALSELY APPEARING TO HELP PEOPLE LEARN AND EXCELL AT CONSTRUCTION TRADES.

THE UNFORTUNATE FACT IS THIS OVER LOADS THE RANKS OF READY AND WILLING WORKERS.
THIS ALL HELPS THE CONTRACTERS THEY CAN BECOME DIFFICULT TO DEAL WITH,ROTTEN AND IMPOSSIABLE .
SINCE THERE ARE THOUSANDS OF FRESH AND READY WORKERS BEGING TO WORK ON ANY GIVEN DAY.

REMEMBER THE GRAPES OF WRATH .. ALL THOSE POOR OKIES COMMING TO CALIFORNIA ON THE MEAR HOPE OF A JOB !!

PROJECT MANAGERS ARE IN BED WITH THE UNION LEADERSHIP ..

FORMAN ARE MANAGEMENT , THEY ARE A TOOL OF THE CONTRACTOR AND MUST BE TREATED AS SUCH .
UNIONS MUST KEEP THE DIVISION OF LABOR AND MANAGEMENT ..

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shesasparky in Vancouver, Washington

36 months ago

In response to your comments GROWLER....IBEW Apprenticeship programs are NOT funded by the federal government and they ARE funded by IBEW and NECA members and contractors. The IBEW members pay for the training. Each week, IBEW members pay a certain amount per hour that is specifically for the training.

You stated "POLITICIANS ARE BOUGHT BY LOBBYISTS SUCH AS BIG BUSINESS.
BIG BUSINESS LOOKS GOOD BY FALSELY APPEARING TO HELP PEOPLE LEARN AND EXCELL AT CONSTRUCTION TRADES". Yes, many big businesses pay lobbyists, for that matter unions pay lobbyists. Personally, I believe in passing legislation to limit lobbying. However, it is a constitutional right under the first amendment (with limitations and requirements).

You also said,
"PROJECT MANAGERS ARE IN BED WITH THE UNION LEADERSHIP ..
FORMAN ARE MANAGEMENT , THEY ARE A TOOL OF THE CONTRACTOR AND MUST BE TREATED AS SUCH .
UNIONS MUST KEEP THE DIVISION OF LABOR AND MANAGEMENT .."
There are many different types of project managers. To name a few..there are PM's that are hired by the contractor to manage the project, PM's hired by an outside company to manage the project, firms that only hire PM's, and there are men and women (both union and non-union) that are promoted and offered a PM job working for a contractor. Union leadership are business managers, orgnanizers, etc. that are not in bed with the PM's. In fact, they basically represent the "other" party...the worker. Each union has it's own unique treatment of management positions. Hiring management from the people that have been in the field and worked for years in the industry makes more sense than hiring a "management" PM whose knowledge is usually based on text books. You ever tried to put together something only using the paper directions? Once in a while it works out but then again you use knowledge gained from experience "doing" the work...example might be you are careful not to over tighten a screw

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shesasparky in Vancouver, Washington

36 months ago

oh, and......Try hitting the "Caps Lock" it is not only easier to read but less like YELLING

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Controls guy in Sainte Genevieve, Missouri

36 months ago

I keep seeing people on here saying "I have an electronics engineering technology degree and I can find a job in instrumentation." Companies are not looking for electronics majors but Electrical Engineering Technology degrees for instrumentation. Here is why. Electronics engineering technology degrees deal more with down to the components i.e. transistors or resistors on mother boards while an Electrical Engineering Technology degree deals more with high voltage, things that instrumentation technicians deal with, granted transmitters and I/P control valves are 4-20 ma with 24VDC but that is just a small part of it. A lot of instruments also deal with 125VDC and 120VAC so these companies are not looking for the electronics majors but electrical majors. The instrumentation and control field is booming because the old timers are leaving and the market is in demand. And whoever said that they are outsourcing this job don't know anything about this field. You can't outsource this job because it is a hands on job. Places that are in need of this field is in the food industry, ethanol industry(which I am a part of), power plants, water treatment plants, and so forth so forth. So tell me how can you outsource that? Makes no sense, so stop trying to make it political because it is not. It's a skilled job and it just requires you to have the right degree and know where to look. Remember y=mx+b, PID loop tuning, and P&I'D drawings are key to this field.

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Tony in Lakewood, Washington

36 months ago

I teach Instrumentation at a technical college in Washington state, and we're finally seeing an uptick in employer hiring. 40% of our last graduating class had jobs before the end of the school quarter! Also, we're seeing more recruitment from employers on our campus than in previous years.

An important footnote to that statistic is that the students landing these early jobs were very pro-active while still in school. All but one of them engaged in jobshadows and/or internships during breaks between school quarters, all were involved with the student club which sets up tours after school and invites guest speakers from industry to talk to the club at lunchtimes. All of them used RSS readers to search for internship and job postings year-round.

By contrast, students from previous graduating classes who did none of these things are still looking for work. Competition for jobs has been fierce for quite a while now, and hopefully this recent "uptick" in employment will continue, but it's still a profession demanding proactive effort on the part of students while they're still in school.

The number of schools actually teaching Instrumentation seems to be rather limited nation-wide. Electronics-oriented degrees are plentiful, but actual hands-on instrumentation education (where students get to rebuild control valves, tune PID controllers, calibrate transmitters, etc.) is harder to find. The capital costs of acquiring and maintaining industry-standard equipment for an instrumentation program are much higher than for a general electronics program. It's also a lot easier to find teachers of electronics than teachers of instrumentation. For these reasons I disagree with the poster who says schools are flooding the market with instrumentation grads. The feedback I get from employers is that they see a lot of grads with general electronics degrees who don't know what a valve positioner is, have never heard of Foundation Fieldbus, can't program a PLC, etc.

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Tony in Lakewood, Washington

36 months ago

Joliet Joshua in Illinois said: I am an I.B.E.W. Instrument technician who is finding it very hard to get experience in the field. I have landed a few really good jobs in the last few years, but with the way instrumentation works in the I.B.E.W., the guys with more experience seem to get 95% of the jobs. Does anyone know of a way to search union tech jobs or have any contacts with union tech contractors I could send my resume out to in order to continue gaining experience in the field? I appreciate all the help I can get.

Hi Joliet,

When you say you are an IBEW instrument technician, does that mean you were trained by the IBEW, or were you trained somewhere else and later became an IBEW member?

The reason I'm asking is because I am curious to learn more about the IBEW's training program for instrumentation techs. I've been told it is very brief (something like 80 hours total?).

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guidos back in Scottsdale, Arizona

36 months ago

i am hearing a lot of pompus pontificating about jobs that dont exist
(vapor jobs).
if when and ever there is a true shortage of worker the companies will hire people and train them them self.

the day when companies offer true on the job training many never come.

what did happen to all the past graduates from the instrumentation program ?

they all vanished !
there were not sufficient jobs to go around , they forgot every thing they learned ..
is sounds mighty suspicious that a fresh class got jobs and they totaly ignored the more senior grads who had time to review and polish the skills .
you would think a unemployed grad will take some programing and accounting ...

i know they were not hungry enough , YOU should have worked for free ,
find an internship !!!!!NETWORK and make connections so they will help you get a position .. tune up your resume ,travel to all the trade shows,
buy every manuel and study them at home ..

DONT YOU JUST LOVE A GOODIE TWO SHOES .
EVERY THING IS GOING TO TURN OUT ALL RIGHT .

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scott in Lenoir City, Tennessee

34 months ago

I went through a 5 month course in order to pass a written epri exam, and was fortunate enough to pass. I have recently passed the part B of the epri certification, which consisted of calibrating any three of five devices. I am currently trying to find somewhere to go to get neck deep into instrumentation work. If you have any suggestions, please reply.

Tony in Lakewood, Washington said: Hi Joliet,

When you say you are an IBEW instrument technician, does that mean you were trained by the IBEW, or were you trained somewhere else and later became an IBEW member?

The reason I'm asking is because I am curious to learn more about the IBEW's training program for instrumentation techs. I've been told it is very brief (something like 80 hours total?).

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falainwest in Okmulgee, Oklahoma

34 months ago

Tony Brown in Atlanta, Georgia said: I am a certified Journeyman Electrician that graduated with an A.S. degree in Electronic Engineering Technology with Instrumentation in July of 2008. I graduated with a 3.0 GPA but have yet to land a job. I am a member of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers and worked as an Instrumentaion Technician at the EXXON MOBIL refinery of Beaumont, TX. I was employed from September to December through a union contractor and the job has ended. I cannot understand why I am not getting favorable results when applying for entry level positions. Can someone please help me.

hi tony, have you finally landed a job, i have just started my bachelors of technology program in instrumentation and hoping to be done 3 years from now.

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James

29 months ago

Hi my name is James and I am just starting to take classes for this degree. My question is this I had heart surgery a few months ago and had a defribulator placed. I have no limitations and able to work but will this surgery keep me from getting a job? What kind of physical do companies do when they hire you? If you use your degree to do contract work do companies even do a physical? I don't want to waste my time and go to school and not be able to get hired. Any help or comments would be very appreciated. Also were is the best place to look for a job with this degree plants, oilfield? Louisiana or Texas? Thank you again!!

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