Recognized Skill Standards
October 20, 2009
The Industrial Instrumentation and Controls Technician Skill Standards were developed in 2004 by the Lee College Fieldbus Center as part of a National Science Foundation grant with the cooperation of the Industrial Instrumentation & Controls Technology Alliance (IICTA), an industry driven alliance of employers and educators of instrumentation technicians. The skill standards were initially recognized in Texas on November 9, 2004 at the request of the IICTA on behalf of the IICTA membership. The recognition was extended on October 20, 2009.
The skill standards were developed by instrumentation and control (I&C) technicians as the subject matter experts (SMEs). Texas employers such as Dow Chemical, Eastman Chemical, ExxonMobil, British Petroleum, and others participated. Participating companies represented a broad geographic area, included large and small companies, and included several industries including refining, petrochemical, pulp and paper, and manufacturing.
The skill standards development effort was initiated and facilitated by Lee College. The skill standards were developed based on a DACUM (Developing A CUrriculuM) job analysis, which engaged SMEs to define the steps required to perform duties and tasks, measurable or observable performance criteria, and the skills, knowledge, and tools required to do the work.
The resulting skill standards were validated through surveys completed by I&C technicians working in the many industry sectors and the various-sized, geographically disbursed companies that employ I&C technicians around the state.
In April, 2009 the IICTA gathered Texas-based subject matter experts to conduct a review of the skill standards. Reviewers concluded that the skill standards were current and still reflected the needs of industry, and that no changes to the skill standards were required. IICTA leadership, on behalf of IICTA membership, requested that the Texas recognition of the skill standards be extended on October 20, 2009.
Importance to Texas
I&C technicians troubleshoot, maintain, repair, and install process control and related equipment. Technicians work with pneumatic, mechanical, electronic, and computer-based process control equipment to calibrate instruments used to control the measurement of materials such as oil and gas.
There is a growing demand for skilled entry-level I&C technicians. The current shortage of technicians is the result of attrition, retirement, and lower new-hire skill levels. According to IICTA, Gulf Coast plants reported that the average age of a plant worker is between 48 and 49 years, which is projected to result in a 60 - 70% turnover rate in the next 10 to 15 years.
According to the IICTA website, instrumentation technology careers provide job opportunities for highly skilled technicians for industrial manufacturers locally and across the nation. I&C technicians can earn from $35,000 to $60,000 a year with a two-year degree.