LINDA, Calif. -- Measurement science: It's a little-known, well-paid job that's more or less yours for the asking. The only trouble is, you might have to move when you learn how to do it.
"For every student I have, I have eight job offers waiting," said Don Schrader, measurement science instructor at the only school in the United States where the subject is taught -- Yuba College.
"Employment is virtually guaranteed, with a national demand. But because most people don't want to move, our enrollment is down," Mr.Schrader said.
The course of study takes one year for certification and two years for an associate degree, but many students are scooped up by employers before they can graduate, he said.
The course teaches students how to calibrate and check every kind of scale from Roman steelyard scales to modern devices, Mr. Schrader said.
"It's a hidden industry," Mr. Schrader said. "It used to be almost a closed industry with employment passed from father to son. Today, it's a vast industry with lots of opportunity."
Weights and measurement are so fundamental to everyday life, touching each person about 50 times a day, that most people take it for granted.
Yet enforcement of standards is vital to protecting the public interest, Mr. Schrader said.
Weight and measurement are everywhere -- on the highways, where trucks are weighed, to the grocery store, where people depend on labels for proof they are getting the correct amount.
Between 5,000 and 10,000 people are employed in the weights and measurement industry around the country, Mr. Schrader said.