An I&E technician -- sometimes called an E&I technician -- works with electrical and instrumentation equipment. These technicians might work at power generation facilities, oil refineries, manufacturing plants, food processing plants and paper mills. I&E technicians install, maintain, troubleshoot and repair equipment such as plant lighting, thermostats, programmable controllers and transformers.
I&E technicians maintain equipment to keep it running smoothly, perform tests and calibrations, repair or replace components and troubleshoot equipment operational problems. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics addresses the work of I&E technicians under the broad job category of electrical and electronic installers and repairers. These technicians know how to read schematics and must often refer to manufacturer specifications to disassemble and reassemble complex equipment and machinery. The median pay for workers in this job category was $51,220 per year as of May 2012.
Electrical tasks performed by I&E technicians range from installing wiring and conduit to assembling and troubleshooting circuits. I&E technicians also maintain, troubleshoot and repair electrical motors and generators. Tasks performed on electronic equipment can include troubleshooting and repairing camera systems, electronic sensors and robotic equipment, and programming programmable logic controllers used to operate complex machinery.
Additional Job Titles and Requirements
Job titles and specific responsibilities vary based on the needs of hiring companies. Different job titles include E&I or I&E technicians, electrical technicians, instrumentation technicians and electronic technicians. Entry level skill requirements also vary, although employers often prefer job candidates to hold postsecondary technical diplomas or certifications in electronics. New hires should expect on-the-job training on specific equipment in addition to participating in apprenticeship programs, which can range from three to six years.
Tools and Equipment
Tools used by I&E technicians include oscilloscopes, signal generators, voltmeters, multi-meters, high and low voltage detectors, pipe bending tools and grounding hardware. These technicians might also use computer aided design software and other computer applications, such as maintenance management system software, along with common word processing and spreadsheet programs. Depending on the work environment and the equipment on which they're working, I&E technicians might also need to wear protective safety equipment such as hard hats, safety glasses or shoes and hearing protection.