Panel assemblers are trade workers who construct units for electrical or mechanical equipment, using tools such as soldering irons to piece together wires or cables. While many panel assemblers acquire their skills through on-the-job training, some individuals complete a certificate or associate's degree program followed by an internship or apprenticeship. It should be noted that the employment of panel assembler and similar workers is expected to decline in the coming years, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
|Required Education||Certificate or associate's degree in electronics technology or a similar field|
|Other Requirements||On-the-job training provided with employment; professional experience may be preferred or required|
|Projected Job Growth (2012-2022)|| -6.8% for electrical and electronic equipment assemblers;
-7.1% for electromechanical equipment assemblers*
|Median Salary (2013)|| $29,130 for electrical and electronic equipment assemblers;
$31,810 for electromechanical equipment assemblers*
Sources: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
Panel Assembler Job Description
Panel assemblers are primarily employed within the manufacturing industry and are skilled in reading schematic drawings to assemble wiring, switches, cables, and other mechanical or electrical pieces. They work on electrical and mechanical components that are designed as a power point for operating electronic or technological equipment.
Panel assemblers commonly work with electrical engineers in problem-solving solutions as it relates to the assembly process and the functioning of the panels and components. These professionals can also install the completed product, or panel, on a client's site. Panels can include such things as computer circuitry or breaker boxes.
Obtaining a position as a panel assembler commonly requires hands-on work experience; however, some companies require some form of technical or vocational education training, such as an associate's degree or certificate in electronics technology or a similar discipline. Common topics covered in a degree or certificate program in this field include semiconductor or electromechanical devices, electrical or industrial motor controls or circuitry, digital or analog circuits, soldering techniques, fundamentals of electronics, or blueprint reading. These programs typically take one to two years to complete and can also provide or require students to complete an internship, or prepare individuals for entering an apprenticeship program.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports salary information for related careers, including electromechanical equipment assemblers, and electrical and electronic equipment assemblers (www.bls.gov). The BLS reported that in May 2013, the median wage for electromechanical equipment assemblers was $15.29 per hour, with most pay ranging from $10.47-$22.91 an hour. For the same time period, the BLS also reported that electrical and electronic equipment assemblers held median wages of $14.01 per hour, with 80% of workers earning $9.20-$22.44 an hour.