Skills Needed

Using water efficiently requires more than just the right irrigation components. Irrigation systems much be carefully designed, installed and maintained to operate at their full potential. As a result, technicians who install, maintain and repair irrigation systems in the field need to know more than ever before.

Based on a comprehensive job analysis conducted by the Irrigation Association, entry-level technicians need a thorough grounding in basic irrigation, hydraulic and electrical principles to do their job well. In 2013, IA introduced the Certified Irrigation Technician program to recognize proficiency in these areas.

  • Understanding Basic Irrigation Principles
  • Understanding Electrical Principles
  • Understanding Hydraulic Principles

Understanding Basic Irrigation Principles

  • Sprinkler type, nozzle type and spacing
    • Evaluate coverage are to determine sprinkler type and spacing
    • Assess spacing relative to sprinkler type and coverage area
    • Assess existing nozzle selection
    • Perform maintenance and adjustments
    • Match head and nozzle being replaced
    • Understand relative precipitation rates
  • Swing joint assemblies
    • Identify assembly components
    • Determine appropriate swing joint type
    • Determine appropriate swing joint installation
  • Pipe fittings and connection procedures
    • Select proper solvents for pipe type and primers
    • Identify type of pipe fitting
    • Determine connection procedures based on pipe and fitting type
    • Perform connection procedures based on pipe and fitting type
  • Equipment and tool usage
    • Follow manufacturer’s instructions
    • Select appropriate equipment and/or tools for the task
    • Maintain equipment and tools
  • Pumps
    • Identify pump types, components and controls
    • Understand pump flow and pressure
    • Demonstrate understanding of pump safety
  • Backflow functionality
    • Identify backflow type, function and components
    • Identify state and local requirements
  • Plans and as-built documentation
    • Read scale and legend
    • Understand specifications
  • Water meter usage
    • Identify appropriate meter
    • Understand meter readings
    • Identify leak detector on meter
  • Job safety
    • Identify and use appropriate safety equipment
    • Locate utilities
    • Follow exaction safety procedures
    • Follow confined space entry procedures
    • Follow MSDS guidelines
  • Startup and winterization procedures
  • Identify leaks
  • Identify all water supplies
  • Demonstrate understanding of basic soil-plant-water relationships

Understanding Electrical Principles

  • Voltmeter operation
    • Test amperage or watts
    • Test for voltage, resistance, and continuity
    • Understand voltmeter readings
  • Controller electrical operation
    • Demonstrate understanding of basic controller programming
    • Identify components
    • Perform diagnostics procedures
    • Perform controller functions
    • Perform reset procedures
    • Perform basic controller ad component replacement
  • Transformer operation
    • Test incoming and outing voltage
    • Match transformer properties for replacement
  • Solenoid operation
    • Test resistance and incoming voltage
    • Identify manufacturer
    • Identify manufacturer specifications
  • Wiring types
    • Determine wire size and type
    • Determine appropriate burial depth
  • Field wiring/wire tracking/valve locating
    • Select appropriate equipment
    • Perform equipment setup and operational procedures
    • Perform splicing procedures

Understanding Hydraulic Principles

  • Sensors
    • Demonstrate understanding of how sensors operate
    • Identify sensors used
    • Perform sensor maintenance and replacement
    • Follow manufacturer’s operating procedures
  • Valves
    • Demonstrate understanding of how valves operate
    • Identify valves
    • Perform valve installation, maintenance, troubleshooting and repair
    • Install appropriate valve enclosure
  • Pressure testing
    • Determine dynamic vs. static pressure
    • Understand pressure gauge readings
    • Understand manufacturer’s pressure requirements
  • Flow testing
    • Record flow meter readings
    • Understand manufacturer’s flow requirements
  • Drip mechanics
    • Determine maximum tubing length
    • Identify filtration and pressure regulation requirements
    • Identify emission devices
    • Perform maintenance procedures
    • Determine appropriate component usage
  • Read friction loss charts