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.

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Career Definition

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.

How to Become a Precision Instrument Technician

Education Required

Most precision instrument technicians are required to have a high school diploma or a GED. Some individuals choose to receive training through vocation 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 between 2012 and 2022. Meanwhile, those working in the medical equipment repair industry can expect a much faster than average 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 $43,599 as of March 2014.

Alternate Career Options

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 9% was projected by the BLS for these positions, from 2012-2022. In 2012, they earned an hourly median salary of $18.99, 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 30% during the 2012-2022 decade, according to the BLS, and were paid an hourly median wage of $20.09 in 2012.

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  • Minimum eligibility requirements:
    • Must be a high school graduate or have completed GED
    School locations:
    • Online Learning
    • Florida (1 campus)

    Online and Classroom-Based Programs

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Other Schools:

  • School locations:
    • Indiana (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at Indiana University include:
      • Graduate: Doctorate, First Professional Degree, Master
      • Non-Degree: Coursework
      • Undergraduate: Associate, Bachelor
    • Mechanic and Repair Technologies
      • Precision Systems Maintenance
        • Musical Instrument Maintenance
  • School locations:
    • California (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at Stanford University include:
      • Graduate: Doctorate, First Professional Degree, Master
      • Undergraduate: Bachelor
    • Mechanic and Repair Technologies
  • School locations:
    • Massachusetts (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at Harvard University include:
      • Graduate: Doctorate, First Professional Degree, Master
      • Post Degree Certificate: Postbaccalaureate Certificate
      • Undergraduate: Associate, Bachelor
    • Mechanic and Repair Technologies
      • Dental
      • Medical and Health Preparatory Sciences
      • Medical Residency Programs
      • Public Health and Safety
  • School locations:
    • Pennsylvania (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at University of Pennsylvania include:
      • Graduate: Doctorate, First Professional Degree, Master
      • Post Degree Certificate: First Professional Certificate, Post Master's Certificate, Postbaccalaureate Certificate
      • Undergraduate: Associate, Bachelor
    • Mechanic and Repair Technologies
      • Dental
      • Medical Administrative Services
      • Medical Ethics and Bioethics
      • Medical Residency Programs
      • Mental Health Services
      • Nursing Professions
      • Public Health and Safety
      • Veterinary Medicine and Clinical Sciences
  • School locations:
    • Rhode Island (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at Brown University include:
      • Graduate: First Professional Degree, Master
      • Undergraduate: Bachelor
    • Mechanic and Repair Technologies
      • Medical Ethics and Bioethics
      • Medical Residency Programs
      • Public Health and Safety
  • School locations:
    • North Carolina (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at Duke University include:
      • Graduate: Doctorate, First Professional Degree, Master
      • Post Degree Certificate: Postbaccalaureate Certificate
      • Undergraduate: Bachelor
    • Mechanic and Repair Technologies
      • Medical Diagnostic and Treatment Professions
      • Medical Residency Programs
      • Nursing Professions
      • Therapeutic and Rehabilitation Professions
  • School locations:
    • Indiana (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at University of Notre Dame include:
      • Graduate: Doctorate, First Professional Degree, Master
      • Undergraduate: Bachelor
    • Mechanic and Repair Technologies
      • Medical and Health Preparatory Sciences
  • School locations:
    • Columbia (D.C.) (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at Georgetown University include:
      • Graduate: First Professional Degree, Master
      • Non-Degree: Coursework
      • Undergraduate: Bachelor
    • Mechanic and Repair Technologies
      • Math
  • School locations:
    • Tennessee (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at Vanderbilt University include:
      • Graduate: Doctorate, First Professional Degree, Master
      • Undergraduate: Bachelor
    • Mechanic and Repair Technologies
      • Biomedical and Medical Engineering
      • Chemical Engineering
      • Civil Engineering
      • Computer Engineering
      • Electrical Engineering and Electronics
      • Environmental Engineering
      • Materials Engineering
      • Math
      • Mechanical Engineering

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