Car Audio Technician: Salary and Career Facts

Explore the career requirements for car audio technicians. Get the facts about salary, job duties, education requirements and job outlook to determine if this is the right career for you. Schools offering Animation degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What is a Car Audio Technician?

Car audio technicians, also called mobile electronics technicians, install and repair music, video and navigation systems in automobiles. Prior to most jobs they come up with cost estimates for potential customers to consider. If a customer finds their cost acceptable, car audio technicians reference service guides and manuals to installation install, repair or replace video and audio systems in automobiles. Before calling a job done technicians first test the equipment they worked on and trouble shoot any problems that come up. More career specifics are addressed in the table below.

Education Required Postsecondary certificate; associate's degree preferred
Education Field of Study Electronics or related field
Key Skills Technical, problem-solving, hand-eye coordination
Certification Certification is optional, but often sought by employers
Job Growth (2014-2024) -50% (for all electronic equipment installers and repairers, motor vehicles)*
Median Salary (2015) $31,360 (for all electronic equipment installers and repairers, motor vehicles)*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

How Do I Become a Car Audio Technician?

One way to become a technician is to earn a certificate as a car audio technician, car audio system installer or mobile electronics technician. You might obtain an associate's degree in electronics through a community or technical college instead, which may be preferred by employers. In a certificate program, you'll learn the basic theories and applications of alternating (AC) and direct (DC) electrical currents, plus the soldering techniques needed for connecting and disconnecting electronic system components. A broader, more general electronics curriculum makes up the associate's degree program. Both options feature significant time in the lab.

What Credentials Do I Need?

Certification is available through the Mobile Electronics Certified Professional program sponsored by the Consumer Electronics Association. Basic, advanced and master installation technician levels may be offered. You must meet experience requirements and pass a written exam for each, with re-certification needed every two to four years. If you decide to focus your career on sales, certification is also available as a mobile product specialist. Neither states nor the federal government require professional certification for employment, however employers often do.

What Tasks Would I Perform?

The simple answer is that you'd install and repair audio and related electronics systems in cars. The process can be very involved though, especially with the increasingly varied and complicated equipment available. You may be called upon to work not only with music, but video, navigation, wireless communications and security systems that include an audio component. Installing car alarm systems and remote starters are common projects.

On a given day, you might make a simple change in a car from radio to CD player. Or, using your knowledge of AC/DC circuits and your soldering skills, you could design the placement and power connection routes for a sophisticated sound system. Such a system might require removing and replacing car parts, such as door panels and seats, in order to install electronics and sound-dampening materials. Tools used include crimpers, strippers, soldering equipment and pliers.

Depending on your experience level, you may be asked to diagnose system problems and conduct repairs. For this, you must understand the workings of many types of electronic parts and how they are integrated. You would need to know how to read manufacturer schematics and specifications and conduct tests to find the glitches in play. Gaining experience and leadership skills in this area may help you advance to a supervisory position, where you help other technicians troubleshoot problems.

What Could I Earn?

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that in May 2015, the median annual wage for electronic equipment installers and repairers of motor vehicles was $31,360 (www.bls.gov). The BLS also noted a significant 50% decrease in national employment for this group from 2014-2024, due to car makers' installation of more sophisticated systems during factory production that require less maintenance and fewer aftermarket purchases or upgrades.

What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?

With audio technicians predicted to see such a loss in employment opportunities it would be advisable to keep an eye out on other options. Electrical and electronics installers and repairers may work in other professions, including electric motor repair, power tool repair, transportation equipment repair and industrial equipment repair. In all of these careers you would install, repair and replace electrical parts and equipment. If you are simply interested in installing electrical systems you may also want to consider a career as an electrician. These professionals install and repair electrical power systems, communication systems and lighting. All of these careers require either a professional certification, postsecondary certificate and or an associate's degree.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

  • 1. Degree Options:
The schools in the listing below are not free and may include sponsored content but are popular choices among our users. Tuition and costs will vary across programs and locations. Be sure to always request tuition information before starting a program.

Popular Schools

  • Southern New Hampshire University

    Southern New Hampshire University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Southern New Hampshire University:

    • Master
    • Bachelor Degrees

    Online Programs Available

  • Ohio Christian University

    Ohio Christian University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Ohio Christian University:

    • Master

    Online Programs Available

  • Purdue University Global

    Purdue University Global responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Purdue University Global:

    • Bachelor Degrees

    Online Programs Available

  • Ashford University

    Ashford University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Ashford University:

    Online Programs Available

  • Colorado Christian University

    Colorado Christian University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Colorado Christian University:

    • Bachelor Degrees
    • Associate Programs

    Online Programs Available

  • Regent University

    Regent University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Regent University:

    • Doctoral
    • Master
    • Bachelor Degrees

    Online Programs Available

  • Penn Foster High School

    Penn Foster High School responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Penn Foster High School:

    Online Programs Available

  • Northern Illinois University

    Northern Illinois University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Northern Illinois University:

    • Master

    Online Programs Available

  • New England College

    New England College responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at New England College:

    • Bachelor Degrees

    Online Programs Available

  • University of Oregon

    Campus Locations:

    • Oregon: Eugene
  1. 1
  2. 2
  3. Next »