Instrument Mechanician

An instrument mechanician manufactures and repairs instruments and recalibrates old instruments. The instrument mechanician plays a vital role in ensuring that automatic processes and plant systems operate correctly and efficiently.

The control of nearly all manufacturing processes depends on instruments that may be electrical, mechanical or hydraulic, which are responsible for measuring the pressure, temperature, position, level, mass or flow of solids, fluids and gases. Should the plant processes not operate according to specifications, the instrument mechanician diagnoses the fault and carry out repairs as quickly as possible.

Instrument mechanicians are trained to design, manufacture and repair almost any kind of instrument, whether electrical, mechanical, hydraulic, chemical or optical. To design specific research instruments, these mechanicians work according to sketches and instructions from scientists and engineers.

Personal Requirements

  • at least 16 years old
  • mechanical insight
  • good understanding of physics and mathematics
  • thorough and precise
  • accurate and patient in doing complicated work
  • initiative, dexterity and steady hands
  • good eye-hand coordination
  • good eyesight

How to Enter

Schooling & School Subjects

Grade 9 Certificate
Some employers prefer higher qualifications

What to Study

There are 3 ways to qualify as a registered artisan:

1. An apprenticeship is a fixed contract between company and apprentice, ranging in duration from between 18 months and 4 years. At the end
of the contract, the apprentice writes a trade test leading to professional certification.

2. A learnership is a structured learning programme ranging from about a year to 3 years. A learnership comprises theoretical and practical training. Practical training is conducted on site (on the premises of the organisation). This has the advantage that the learner gets experience whilst training.

3. TVET colleges offer theoretical training to prospective artisans via the new National Certificate Vocational (NCV). During this 3-year programme (levels 2 to 4), learners complete a school-leaving certificate (NCV) similar to the new National Senior Certificate (NSC) in schools. They are also exposed to a practical workshop component.

All learners are required to complete a practical internship under the supervision of an experienced artisan. As an alternative to doing the full qualification, a learner can apply to do a skills programme at a TVET College. Skills programmes are short practical hands-on courses.

For more information about qualifications and skills programmes, contact your nearest TVET College. TVET Colleges are accredited and funded by a SETA (Sector Education and Training Authority) such as MerSETA or ChietaSETA. They also receive bursary funding through the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) for the NCV programme.


  • Telkom
  • Transnet and South African Airways
  • mechanical, electrical and chemical engineering concerns
  • electrical precision tool manufacturing industries
  • heavy engineering industry
  • iron and steel producers and the non-ferrous steel industry
  • such organisations as: Sasol, Mittal Steel, Eskom, CSIR
  • municipalities
  • self-employment, working independently on a contract basis

Further Information

SA Institute of Measurement and Control
P O Box 93124
Yeoville, 2143
Tel: (011) 888-8332

Getting Started

  • arrange to speak to instrument mechanicians and watch them at work
  • consult the Registrar of Manpower Training concerning learnership programmes available in your area.

Programmes by Study Institutions

Related Occupations

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