The technician is now accepted as a member of the industrial hierarchy, though that word is not always used to describe him. He, or she — for there are many women technicians — is sometimes referred to as a member of the “middle group”, who may be described as people who work with their hands, but their hands are more likely to hold an instrument than a tool. Such a man may have been a tradesman but not necessarily so; and though he will often need a knowledge of manual techniques, he may not necessarily need the ability to practise them.
The Technicians' Certification Act of 1958, which was brought into force on 1 February 1960, puts on a statutory footing the work that had been carried on for five or six years by the Controlling Authority for the New Zealand Certificates in Engineering. The success of these certificates led to the belief that there might be a need in other branches of industry for some similar qualification. The Technicians Certification Authority was formed to investigate these possibilities and to formulate courses, as they were shown to be needed. It took over control of the courses for certificates in engineering and in draughting that were developed by the Controlling Authority; and it has added courses for New Zealand certificates in building, architectural draughting, and quantity surveying; and in the main branches of science – chemistry, physics, biology, and geology. The Authority also offers shorter courses for a technical certificate in automotive engineering and welding; for a certificate of competency in garage management; and for a radio technician's certificate.