Metrologists are scientists who create and evaluate methods of measuring an object's physical characteristics, such as its length, width, height and mass, as well as other methods of measurement, such as time. Some calibration engineers, calibration technicians, quality engineers, quality technicians, process control technicians and safety engineers apply principles of metrology as well.
Types of Metrologists
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, metrologists work in scientific, legal, and industrial settings. Scientific metrologists develop and standardize systems of measurement. Legal metrologists regulate measurements and measurement instruments in relation to issues of public policy. These types of metrologists often work for a government agency. Most metrologists work as industrial metrologists, applying measurement principles to manufacturing processes and applications, such as by testing new products. Industrial meteorologists can work for the private or public sector in communications, aerospace, or construction industries, or for the government.
Working as a Metrologist
Metrologists design and test ways of evaluating a product's effectiveness. Some make sure that devices like fuel gauges or radio antennas remain in working order. They also identify why and how a system or product is not working as expected. Some metrologists may work as managers, directing design, manufacturing, evaluation and calibration efforts. They also analyze standards and measurement processes. Metrologists who work in the construction industry may develop ways of measuring a structure's integrity, while metrologists who work in the aerospace industry may measure the flammability of different materials used in transportation construction materials.
Training to be a Metrologist
Although metrology is a low-profile science with few formal education programs, several community colleges offer associate degrees in metrology, such as Monroe County Community College in Michigan and Butler County Community College in Pennsylvania, and some four-year universities offer engineering students the option of specializing in metrology. Most metrologists have a bachelor's or master's degree in an engineering field or science. For example, a metrologist working in the construction industry may have a degree in mechanical engineering. The U.S. military also offers on-the-job training for scientists and engineers interested in metrology.
Becoming a Metrologist
Regardless of the field in which a metrologist works, she must be a skilled mathematician, scientist and engineer. Having excellent communication skills and a keen attention to detail will help a metrologist succeed, as will knowing how to work well under pressure. Metrologists must also be unflappable, as they are responsible for making precise adjustments to complex equipment and ensuring that equipment works as intended.
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