Home Appliance Repair Technician: Education and Career Roadmap

Home appliance repair technicians diagnosis, repair and install small electrical appliances. Appliances may be gas or electric and include ranges, refrigerators, microwave ovens, washers, dryers and air conditioners. Repairs are usually done in the customer's home, so technicians must take their tools and appliance parts with them.

Education and Career Roadmap for Home Appliance Repair Technicians

Step 1: Take Vocational Courses

Although vocational courses are not mandatory for this career, most employers prefer to hire individuals who have completed courses in appliance or electronic repair. This training may be gained in high school or in postsecondary courses at vocational schools or community colleges. Programs generally last from three weeks to six months. Longer programs that include heating and air conditioning are also available, as are associate degrees in appliance service technology.

Step 2: Earn Refrigerant Certification

In order to legally purchase and work with refrigerants, a technician must pass a written certification examination. This is mandated by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), which approves what organizations may administer these tests. There are three types of certification covering small, low-pressure and high-pressure appliances. The certification types must be earned in a specific order. When all three types have been earned, a universal certification is given. No formal training is required for this certification, but there are training programs that will prepare a person for the exams.

Step 3: Work with an Experienced Technician

Although most employers prefer an applicant who has had some vocational training, the most frequent method of training is on the job. Even those who have had vocational courses benefit by working with an experienced technician.

Step 4: Take Advantage of Employer or Manufacturer-Sponsored Training

Many employers sponsor in-house training classes. Other employers and some appliance manufacturers have more official training programs which include shop classes and home study. Appliance manufacturers also hold seminars lasting 2-3 weeks for more extensive training. These training courses prepare a technician to do warranty work for an appliance brand. Technicians must periodically take classes to keep up with the features and technology continually added to appliances.

Step 5: Get Voluntary Certifications

Two organizations offer voluntary national certification programs that add to a technician's demonstrated proficiency in maintenance, diagnosis and repair of major home appliances. The National Appliance Service Technician Certification (NASTeC) has four exams. A basic skills examination must be passed, plus at least one of three specific appliance exams to become NASTeC certified. Passing all of the exams earns certification as a NASTeC Universal Technician.

There are eight skill modules in the certification exam from the Professional Service Association (PSA). The technician who passes 3-7 modules becomes a Certified Technician. The technician who passes all of them becomes a Master Certified Appliance Professional (MCAP).

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