Matt Schwoegler, ITC
When I first started training thermographers back in 2002, most infrared cameras at the time were $40,000-60,000 USD. It was a significant investment for many organizations who were using thermography which they took very seriously. They took training seriously too. After all, if you’re spending that much money on a piece of hardware, the operator better know how to use it properly.
It was shortly after that the world’s first sub-$10,000 thermal imager made its debut with a price point that changed the industry. Today you can buy an IR camera that fits on your phone for just a few hundred dollars and the variety and quality of what’s available for under $10,000 is simply astonishing.
What hasn’t changed in that time is physics. Heat still moves from hot to cold. Unfortunately, just like the cost of equipment, the conversation between the employee and the employer about the need and expense of training has seemingly changed.
Fifteen years ago, after spending $50,000+ on a new camera, I’d bet most didn’t put too much thought into the additional cost of training. There was absolutely no question…with an investment that large, you better know what you’re doing! The response from a supervisor when asked by a thermographer for approval to attend a class was often similar to this: