Test Technician: Job Description, Duties and Requirements

Learn about the education and preparation needed to become a test technician. Get a quick view of the requirements as well as details about education, job responsibilities and certification to find out if this is the career for you.

Essential Information

Test technicians inspect product functions as well as monitor test procedures and equipment. Many technicians have an associate's degree in engineering technology or a related field. Obtaining a specialty certification may help test technicians advance their careers.

Required Education Associate's degree in engineering technology or related field
CertificationsOptional certifications available from the American Society for Quality and the Electrical Testing Technician Certification Institute
Projected Job Growth (2012-2022)2% for electrical and electronics engineering technicians*
Average Annual Salary (2013)$58,770 for electrical and electronics engineering technicians*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Job Description for Test Technicians

Test technicians work in a wide range of fields, from software troubleshooting to automobile manufacturing. Depending on the industry, working conditions may vary considerably. Some technicians can spend most of the day on their feet at multiple workstations while others stay seated and review electronic reports. Test technicians might work with engineers and scientists who use the test data to improve the quality of products and their associated design processes.

Duties of Test Technicians

Their primary duty is to ensure that products perform their proposed functions in a satisfactory manner. For complex products, such as automobiles or computers, test technicians may specialize in monitoring a specific part or set of components. The method of inspection depends on the product being tested. For example, technicians reviewing electronic components will assemble and run test circuits, whereas technicians reviewing mechanical parts will perform calibration tests under real-world conditions.

Test technicians don't just perform tests on manufactured products; they also monitor and manipulate the instruments and processes being used to test these products. These tasks can include assembling, calibrating, improving and performing maintenance on test equipment. Some technicians may use statistical methods to identify recurring problems and give detailed reports on defects.

Test Technician Requirements

Many test technician positions require an Associate of Science in Engineering Technology or a related field. Technical institutes and community colleges offer such programs, and they typically take two years to complete. Students can take coursework in digital electronics, circuit functions and basic electronics, among other topics. Additionally, test technicians must be analytical, observant, patient and communicative when it comes to the precise nature of their work.

Obtaining certification may be beneficial for test technicians who wish to advance their careers. The American Society for Quality (www.asq.org), the Electrical Testing Technician Certification Institute (www.ettci.org) and other accredited organizations administer multiple certifications for test technicians. Each specialty certification requires having previous work experience and passing the related exam.

As companies increasingly rely on automated technologies for performing routine tests, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that job opportunities for electronics engineering technicians, also referred to as test technicians, would grow only two percent over the 2012-2022 decade (www.bls.gov). As of May 2013, the BLS reported that electrical and electronics engineering technicians earned an average annual salary of $58,770.

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