Corrosion control technicians are investigators. They use their knowledge of the ways in which different materials react with their environment to measure levels of corrosion damage and produce evaluation reports, often under the guidance of an engineer.
Technicians work in areas where the satisfactory performance of certain materials, often metals but also plastics and concrete, are vital to the safety or performance of a structure. This includes oil refineries, oil rigs and within the shipbuilding, aerospace and chemical processing industries.
Technicians must recognise the operating conditions and environmental situations which can cause corrosion and take the necessary preventative action. In most instances there will be set procedures, which the technician must follow. Using complex instrumentation, they monitor corrosion levels. They collect data and then report to a professional corrosion engineer to decide the appropriate action needed to resolve the problem.
Some technicians are trained to carry out their work underwater, surveying structures using remote operating vehicles. Technicians also run special tests in laboratories and use computers.
Hours are determined by the urgency of a job and will often be irregular, involving overtime, nights and weekends. Periods of time may be spent away from home working in inaccessible areas.
Fieldwork takes place outdoors, in all weathers, although some testing may take place in laboratories. The work is physical and involves the use of heavy equipment. There is also a lot of bending and lifting and conditions vary from working in cramped areas to working at great heights. The work may involve climbing ladders, crawling through pipes and visiting places which are difficult to access, such as off-shore oil rigs.
To be a corrosion control technician you should:
Many of the traditional employers such as the oil and gas industries sub-contract the work to specialist companies, and maintain just a small group of elite technologists. Many universities use their academic experience to offer a consultancy service to industry.
The chemical processing, aerospace, shipbuilding, construction and civil engineering industries are the other main employers, together with the firms that provide specialist services.
Promotion prospects vary from company to company. Higher qualified technicians may progress to managerial levels or became corrosion engineers. Self-employment and consultancy work is a possibility for more experienced technicians.
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