Instrumentation / Calibration Technician

These jobs are for people who like to work with electronic equipment and are interested in biotechnology. Instrumentation technicians calibrate mechanical and laboratory instruments throughout the biomanufacturing facility. They must be able to understand, calibrate and validate instruments that measure temperature, pressure, flow, force torque, chemical analysis, optics, humidity, speed, viscosity, mechanical dimensions, vacuum, light intensity, mass, voltage, current resistance and frequency. These technicians perform continuous monitoring of equipment. General laboratory instruments that must be calibrated include analytical balances, centrifuges, stability chambers, incubators, conductivity meters, monitoring systems, and thermometers.

Instrumentation/Calibration Technicians must possess excellent written and verbal communication skills. They prepare required documentation to record events and changes related to equipment, such as calibration certificates, deviations, out of tolerances and installation reports. They may analyze these results to develop test specifications and electrical schematics. They specify and request the purchase of components.

Calibration of process controlled instruments in a factory/production environment is crucial to success of the overall biomanufacturing process. Technicians must work together to characterize key instruments, their tolerances and safety considerations, timelines and production schedules. Work must be done following Good Manufacturing Practices (GMPs). Working knowledge of computers, databases and data entry for instrument calibration and asset management is essential. These technicians also read and work from blueprints, schematic diagrams and specification manuals.

Calibration technicians physically perform basic maintenance tasks - they climb ladders, work in confined spaces and lift heavy objects.

Most employers require an associate degree in industrial engineering, engineering technician, or electronics/instrument technology as well as life science or biotechnology coursework, especially in the area of regulations. Some employers accept experience in lieu of a degree. The standard work-week for these technicians is forty hours per week. Companies with swing shifts usually pay more. Field service technicians may have opportunities for additional overtime by being “on call” to repair machinery during their off hours.

Education & Training: 

Those who continue their education and earn a four-year degree or higher in engineering may advance to a wide range of professional engineering positions. Some may become technical service representatives or sales representatives for companies that manufacture instrumentation

InnovATEBIO programs offer degrees, certificates, or teach skills in these related areas.

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