Instrument Mechanic

Did you know?*

* Information retrieved from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

What Does an Instrument Mechanic Do?

Instrument Mechanics are highly skilled individuals who safely install, calibrate, test, adjust, troubleshoot and repair electronic equipment, such as industrial controls, transmitters and antennas.

While some of the controls and systems may be similar, Instrument Mechanics must understand their unique properties, and must constantly learn new systems.


Before they perform a task, Instrument Mechanics must carefully plan and prepare for the work. They review electronic or written blueprints or specifications for a job; determine which tools and material are needed; and then plan the sequence of work.

Their work typically falls into one or more of the following categories:

After the work is completed, Instrument Mechanics use both simple and highly sophisticated tools to check the accuracy of their work against blueprints.

Because technology is changing rapidly, Instrument Mechanics must continuously learn a wide range of machines.

What Are the Working Conditions?

Today, most modern industrial facilities are relatively clean, well lit, and ventilated. Instrument Mechanics are typically not limited to a specific work area; rather, they are highly mobile and active throughout the facility, going wherever their skills are needed. However, they must be able to stand for long periods of time and work in cramped or uncomfortable positions and on ladders and lifts. They often work with their hands above their heads, in confined spaces and in a variety of conditions and temperatures, both hot and cold.

Working around machines and equipment and with high voltage presents certain dangers. Instrument Mechanics must vigilantly follow safety precautions, and wear personal protective equipment to avoid common hazards.

Instrument Mechanics typically work a 40-hour week, and overtime is common.

Knowledge & Training

Persons interested in becoming Instrument Mechanics should be mechanically inclined, have good problem-solving abilities, be able to work independently, and be able to do highly accurate work that requires concentration and physical effort.

Instrument Mechanics train in apprenticeship programs, informally on the job, and in technical colleges. Regardless of the training setting, Instrument Mechanics must possess or gain the following knowledge:

High school or vocational school courses in algebra and geomtery, blueprint reading, and electronics are highly recommended.

Apprenticeship programs consist of on-the-job learning and related classroom instruction lasting up to 4 years. During on-the-job learning, apprentices work almost full time, and are supervised by an experienced Instrument Mechanic. Classroom instruction includes electronics, process measurements, controllers, safety, blueprint reading, and more. Apprenticeship classes are often taught in cooperation with local community or vocational colleges.

A growing number of Instrument Mechanics learn the trade through 2-year associate degree programs at community or technical colleges. Graduates of these programs still need significant on-the-job experience before they are fully qualified.

What Does the Apprenticeship Program Require?

What are the Application Requirements?

What Skills Should I Possess?

Additional Resources

The United States Bureau of Labor Statistics maintains information on all occupations. For more information on the Instrument Mechanic trade in the United States, visit:

Sources: Bureau of Apprenticeship Standards Position Descriptions,
Apprenticeship in Wisconsin Handbook

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