Applied Electrical Technology Associate Degree
You can prepare yourself for a career as a field or bench technician with an associate's degree in applied electrical technology. You can receive training in the installation, maintenance and repair of residential, commercial and industrial electrical systems. Learn more about these degree programs, what topics you'll cover and what the job market looks like for this field. Schools offering Computer & Electronics Engineering Technology degrees can also be found in these popular choices.
Do I Need an Associate's Degree in Applied Electrical Technology?
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) states that if you hold a high school diploma, you might qualify for an entry-level position, working with an experienced electrical technician (www.bls.gov). However, the BLS also states that electrical systems can be quite complex. For this reason, you stand a better chance of being hired if you've received formal training and hold an associate's degree.
The BLS mentions that you may be able to earn an associate's degree in electrical technology through a community college or technical school. The National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) has a searchable, online database of postsecondary institutions (www.nces.ed.gov). A search can yield a list of nearly 130 schools that offer associate's degree programs in electrical installation, maintenance and repair.
What Are Some Program Details?
Depending on the school, a program consists of 62-97 credits and can take you about two years to complete. Most often, the program leads to an Associate of Applied Science, the credits from which you may be able to transfer toward a bachelor's degree.
Completely online programs are nonexistent. Because of the necessity of hands-on training, you must complete all electronics requirements in person. However, schools may offer you the opportunity to complete some general education courses online.
Some typical courses you might encounter in a program include residential and commercial electrical systems, alternating current and direct current circuits, electrical principles, electrical theory, accident prevention, cost estimates, blueprint reading, electrical codes and troubleshooting. Schools may tie in their programs with a state apprenticeship program. You may also have the opportunity to serve an internship with a school-approved business.
What Is the Occupational Outlook?
In 2010, the BLS projected that overall employment for electrical and electronics installers and repairers would increase five percent over the 2008-2018 decade. This is slower than the national average for all occupations. However, employment for those qualified to work at power houses, substations and in-service relays was expected to grow 12% over the same time period.
The latest salary statistics are also from 2010. At that time the BLS found there to be a wide range in mean annual wages of the various types of electrical technicians. Installers and repairers dealing with electrical systems in motor vehicles were at the bottom of the survey with a mean annual salary of $30,040. Electrical technicians working at power stations, substations and in-service relays topped the list with a mean annual wage of $64,120.
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