Recognized Skill Standards
October 20, 2009
The Analyzer Technician competency model was developed by the Analyzer Technician Opportunities Project (ATOP) and Lee College, and funded by a grant from the National Science Foundation. ATOP worked with national industry experts and representatives from the Analysis Division of the International Society of Automation (ISA), as well as several Texas-based subject matter experts in the development and validation of the model’s content.
The U.S. Department of Labor’s Employment and Training Administration’s (ETA) Career OneStop website, which offers career and job search advice and information, promotes the competency model format. As part of the Industry Competency Model Initiative, the ETA and industry partners collaborate to develop and maintain dynamic models of the foundation and technical competencies that are necessary in economically vital industries and sectors of the American economy. The goal of the effort is to promote an understanding of the skill sets and competencies that are essential to educate and train a globally competitive workforce.
The models serve as a resource to inform discussions among industry leaders, educators, economic developers, and public workforce investment professionals as they collaborate to:
- Identify specific employer skill needs
- Develop competency-based curricula and training models
- Develop industry-defined performance indicators, skill standards, and certifications
- Develop resources for career exploration and guidance
Comparing a Competency Model with a Skill Standard
While the format and organization of information within a competency model are different, the content of the competency model is the same as the content of a skill standard.
The lowest level tiers of a competency model (Personal Effectiveness and Academic and Workplace Competencies) compare most closely to the Texas Academic and Employability Knowledge and Skills element. A skill standard seeks to define how each academic or employability skill relates to the particular occupation by having experts give a numeric rating of the skill’s complexity in each critical work function. Rather than a rating, the competency model gives a full, itemized definition and examples of what the occupation expects in terms of each type of competency.
The mid-level tiers of a competency model (Industry-Wide Technical Competencies and Industry-Specific Technical Competencies) compare most closely to the Texas skill standards work-oriented elements of Critical Work Functions, Key Activities, and Performance Criteria. The nomenclature of the elements is different, but the expected content – defined major job functions, the tasks associated with fulfilling the job function, and applicable codes, standards, or regulations (performance criteria) – is included. These same tiers also include Occupational Skills, Knowledge, and Conditions elements, but do not associate them with each specific Key Activity in which a worker relies on them.
The highest level – and by definition, most job-specific – tiers of a competency model are the Occupation-Specific Knowledge Areas, Technical Competencies and Requirements, as well as Management Competencies. The data for these tiers come directly from O*Net, which defines the key features of over 800 occupations, but which are presented as standardized sets of variables.
Importance to Texas
General employment data is not available to determine the number of analyzer technicians, or the number of instrumentation technicians who perform analyzer technician duties. A poll of seven Texas employers reported an average process plant with 25 instrumentation technicians will have an additional 10-15 analyzer technicians – generally dedicated to analyzer maintenance and generally company employees supplemented with service contractors. Due to their experience level and technical specialization, analyzer technicians earn an hourly rate between $22.00 and $28.99 depending on the nature of the work.
The more experienced instrumentation and control technicians generally perform the analyzer technician duties. This group of experts makes up an age demographic that suggests that 50-70% of its population is eligible for retirement in the next 5-10 years.
While most recognized skill standards encompass all of the technical work competencies that can be attained in a certificate (level two) or associate’s degree, the Analyzer Technician model is unique. In order to gain the analyzer competencies, a student or a worker must already possess the competencies of an Industrial Instrumentation and Control Technician. Therefore, this model would most likely be used by community and technical colleges as the basis for an Advanced Certificate, with Instrumentation as a prerequisite.
The Analyzer Technician competency model was recognized as skill standards on October 20, 2009.