Industrial production has relied on electricity for almost a century. In turn, users of industrial electronics have relied on those who design, install, and repair them. These include electricians, industrial electronics technicians, and elevator mechanics.
Degree programs in electronics teach students about AC and DC circuits, electronic equipment assembly, digital circuits, electronics communications, electronics repair and system controllers. Individuals who specialize in industrial electronics may learn about these topics in relation to large-scale equipment used for such industries as manufacturing, construction, or transportation. Vocational and certificate programs in electronics are available, as are apprenticeships and associate's degree programs. Many electronics professionals holds certification within their fields of specialty. Potential careers for these professionals may include industrial electronic technicians, elevator mechanics, or inside electricians.
|Career Titles||Industrial Electronics Technician||Elevator Mechanic||Inside Electricians|
|Education Requirements||High school diploma or equivalent; postsecondary certificate preferred||High school diploma or equivalent; completion of a trade school or apprenticeship program||High school diploma or equivalent; completion of a trade school or apprenticeship program|
|Projected Job Growth (2014-2024)||-4% (for all electrical and electronics installers and repairers)*||13% (for all elevator installers and repairers)*||14% (for all electricians)*|
|Average Salary (2015)||$55,690 (for all electrical and electronics installers and repairers)*||$80,870 (for all elevator installers and repairers)*||$51,880 (for all electricians)*|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
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Industrial Electronics Technician
Industrial electronics technicians ensure manufacturing and assembly equipment operates properly, and they perform repairs when necessary. They can work as field technicians, visiting sites to work on equipment, or as bench technicians working within service centers. Industrial electronics workers commonly use signal generators and voltage meters to test faulty wiring, replace hardware components and troubleshoot computer control systems. They also work on antennas, programmable logic controllers and transmitters.
Most electronics installers and repairers have the equivalent of high school diplomas and have completed some postsecondary coursework related to electronics. Much of the training for these professionals occurs on the job, and new hires are usually assigned to work under more experienced professionals.
Although there are no required licenses for this career field, many technicians do become certified. Associate's degree program graduates can immediately test for the Associate Certified Electronics Technician (CETa) credential offered by the Electronics Technicians Association. Professionals with the CETa can then test for a variety of journeyman certifications, such as in industrial and alternative energy. The International Society of Certified Electronics Technicians offers a similar path, requiring professionals to first earn the basic Certified Electronics Technician designation. They can then test for a journeyman-level certification in industrial electronics.
Besides elevators, these professionals also set up and fix moving walkways, escalators, and other types of lifting mechanisms similar to elevators. Elevator mechanics perform safety checks on equipment, service electrical motors, make adjustments to counterweight systems, and do all needed additional repairs. After these systems have been installed, elevator mechanics spend a lot of their time on preventative maintenance duties.
Training to become an elevator mechanic usually requires completion of a five-year apprenticeship program. These paid apprenticeship programs are highly structured, and every year apprentices must complete at least 2,000 hours of direct on the job training as well as almost 150 hours of technical instruction training.
The majority of states require elevator mechanics to hold licensure, but each state has different licensing requirements. Voluntary certification is also available for these professionals. The National Association of Elevator Contractors, for instance, offers the following credentials: the Certified Elevator Technician designation; and, the Certified Accessibility and Private Residence Lift Technician designation.
Unlike regular electricians, inside electricians specialize in electrical and electronic systems found on-site at factories and at businesses. These workers run routine maintenance checks on equipment, verify safety standards are met, and make necessary upgrades. Inside electricians often install equipment as well.
Prior to starting training as an electrician, individuals require the equivalent of high school diplomas. Electricians learn their skills either through trade schools or through formal apprenticeship programs. Individuals who complete apprenticeship programs can work as journeymen electricians, which means they can work without supervision.
Nearly all states require electricians to be licensed. The licensure process varies in every state, but most states require applicants to show proof of adequate training prior to taking exams. Many licensure examinations for electricians cover such topics as electrical codes at the local, state, and national levels.
Employment and Wage Statistics
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projected that employment of electrical and electronic installers and repairers would see a 4% decrease in jobs during the 2014-2024 decade. Estimates for that same decade by the BLS predicted that open positions for elevator mechanics would grow by 13%, and the rate of job growth for electricians during that decade would be 14%.
In 2015, salary statistics reported by the BLS showed that electrical and electronics repairers earned average annual salaries of $55,690. Statistics from that same year implied that elevator mechanics earned average annual salaries of $80,870, and electricians earned $51,880.
Electricians have the best job prospects over the coming decade for those in the industrial electronics field. However, other factors besides the percentage of job growth can affect job prospects. For example, an industrial electronics technician with certification and an associate's degree can be an attractive candidate in industries that rely on industrial electronics.