Education Resources

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

  • 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