Who will you trust with calibrating your instrument?
The fast-paced world of technology comes up with a variety of job opportunities for the world to savor on. The educational systems in operation today, highlight the courses in compliance with the most in-demand jobs in the present industry. What type of job pays more? What type of industry will survive longer? Which technology looks most promising in terms of growth?
In this hype, often very important and less advertised, critical skill sets required by multiple industries are often left out. In this heavily technology-dependent world, the interconnection with instruments is very important for the sustenance of the world. Ranging from aerospace to the medical field, the usage of instruments and their maintenance is of high importance. Even with such high demand, why is it that this industry never comes up in the list of most coveted jobs in the market?
Before we analyze the why’s let us understand the who’s.
Who are calibration technicians? What could be defined under their roles and responsibilities?
Calibration technicians are involved in the process of instrument calibration in various spaces ranging from mechanical, electronic, and control systems. They possess strong mathematical, analytical, and communication skills. They contribute so much to the field of regularly keeping up your instruments with the industry-standard specifications by regularly monitoring them at pre-defined intervals. This practice ensures that the instruments we base many of our decisions based on health and other fields are top-notch and their results trustworthy.
Imagine getting a blood test result and having to worry whether the readings could be wrong? Even with such a crucial role to play, why is it that this job is never heavily advertised?
The answer would be that there exist no specific courses that help specialize a basic skill set required for the field. The current STEM courses offered in colleges and schools do not incorporate a specialization track in instrument calibration. This leads to a lack of certified technicians in the job market, as older military-trained technicians are retiring. This has led to a shortage of skilled technicians in the workforce.
Most of the training today is available in smaller schools like trade schools and community colleges. The industry nowadays makes do with the talents borrowed from the field of engineering, where the demand is higher and the skills required for calibration are obtained via job training.
So, how to get certified as a calibration professional?
Although there is no requirement for CCT certification, there are two recognized certification programs for Calibration Technicians. The first is the American Society for Quality's Certified Calibration Technician (CCT) program. The second is the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) which is known as the “gold standard” for calibration professionals.
This certification is available to technicians with a minimum of 5 years of experience and requires passing a 4-hour, 125 question test on a variety of topics related to calibration certification is good for three years, and the organization has determined that relevant work history, including continued education and recertification, is required for recertification.
The question to be analyzed is, whether this is the case? Whether there is a dearth of talent? Has the pandemic affected this shortage further? How to keep this industry publicized and its importance highlighted?
The answers will most definitely help define the importance of a better tomorrow! So that, years into the future we can still blindly trust the instruments that we base our lives on!