How to Become an Electronics Technician in 5 Steps
Research what it takes to become an electronics technician. Learn about education requirements, job duties, average wages and job outlook to find out if this is the career for you.
What Does an Electronics Technician Do?
Electronics technicians maintain and repair a number of different instruments and devices that conduct electronic signals. A wide array of opportunities exist within the field, and you might find yourself fixing the screen of an LCD television, repairing the speakers inside a car, or taking a contract with the government to look into problems with a radar system. You can expect to get hands-on with many pieces of wiring and electrical circuitry.
|Education Required||Postsecondary diploma, certificate or associate's degree preferred; apprenticeships may be available|
|Education Field of Study||Electronic technician|
|Key Skills||Math and mechanical skills; problem-solving; logical-thinking; good observational skills|
|Licensure and/or Certification||Professional certification is available and recommended|
|Job Growth (2018-2028)||0% for all electrical and electronics engineering technicians*|
|Median Salary (2018)||$64,330 for all electrical and electronics engineering technicians*|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
What Is an Electronics Technician?
As an electronics technician, you would be a professional who tests, calibrates, installs, repairs and maintains electronic components in electronic equipment. This includes servicing the electrical components that power the equipment, as well as the electrical components used to operate the equipment. Depending on your training, you could work on an array of devices ranging from communications equipment, televisions and automobile audio equipment to government radar control systems.
Step 1: Get Trained
According to the U.S. Department of Labor, 'electronics technician' is an apprenticeable occupation (www.doleta.gov). Through an apprenticeship program, you would receive on-the-job training for a number of years, under the guidance and supervision of senior technicians. However, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that employers generally prefer applicants who have completed a formal training program through a vocational school, technical school or community college (www.bls.gov).
You can receive formal training through diploma/certificate programs and associate's degree programs. Programs that are consistent with your vocation include electronics technology, electronics technician, electronic engineering technology, electronic systems technician and other related program titles.
Step 2: Choose a Specialization
Depending on your training route, you may choose your specialization during formal training or through on-the-job experience. Initially, you will learn foundational principles and protocols for electronics as a whole. However, specialization pertains to the type of equipment that you will primarily work on. Some of your potential specializations include relay and substation equipment, electric motors and generators, commercial and industrial equipment, motor vehicle equipment and transportation equipment.
Step 3: Consider Certification
Certification is not required but is recommended. By obtaining certification, you will have a type of professional credentialing that may be beneficial for employment and career advancement. Certification is available through trade organizations, such as the Electronics Technicians Association and the International Society of Certified Electronics Technicians.
Step 4: Acquire Work Experience
As an electronics technician, your work environment will vary with your specialization and employer. For example, if you work for an electronics manufacturer and you specialize in substation equipment, you may work in a factory. However, if you are a technician who works in a specialty shop that installs and repairs motor vehicle electronic equipment, you may perform some work onsite at clients' homes or places of business.
Your salary will also vary with your specialization. For example, the BLS reports that annual mean salaries for technicians in various manufacturing industries ranged from $38,110 to $95,140. Electrical and electronics engineering technicians who worked in communications manufacturing earned an annual mean salary of $58,840, while those employed by the federal executive branch earned $85,950.
Step 5: Stay Current in the Field
Staying current about industry technologies, techniques and guidelines are crucial to your daily activities. Some certifications also require continuing education for renewal. Industry updates and continuing education may be offered by some employers; however, it is also available through various trade organizations, such as those that provide certification, and at some technical schools.
What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?
The title of 'technician' can be applied to many different positions and duties in the field of electronics. If you want to narrow your search, you might become an electrical or electronics installer or repairer working in the telecommunications, transportation or utilities fields. Technician positions also exist for those with an associate's degree in the electro-mechanical and mechanical engineering fields. If you plan on pursuing a bachelor's degree, opportunities await in the form of a career as an electrical or electronics engineer, in which you can design devices yourself.