Associate's degree programs in electronic technology can prepare students to install and repair integrated electronic systems, such as those found in commercial and manufacturing facilities, as well as the self-standing electronic systems that are part of various machines and mechanical devices. Programs typically consist of hands-on labs and work-study experiences.
Most programs last two years. Applicants are required to hold a high school diploma or GED to qualify for admission. Some programs also require the equivalent of one year of high school algebra and geometry.
Associate Degree in Electronic Technology
Students in these programs learn how to understand and analyze circuitry systems, survey sites, plan electronic projects, and compose technical reports. Courses will also instruct students on the specific aspects of repairing, installing, and troubleshooting electronic systems. Common course topics include:
- Low-voltage electrical systems
- Digital electronics
- Computer networks
- Automated systems
- Electronic communications
- Electronic system troubleshooting
Popular Career Options
Because properly installed and maintained electronic systems of all varieties are vital to the function of most businesses and all manufacturing facilities, electronic systems technicians will often work in these environments. Tasks can include electronic system installation, security system installation, and network system configuration. Some popular career options include:
- Electronics technician
- Motor and tool repair technician
- Bench technician
- Field technician
Employment Outlook and Salary Information
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) expects job decline of 4% for electrical and electronics installers and repairers from 2014 to 2024, although growth rates depend on occupation (www.bls.gov). The median annual wage for these professionals was $55,160 as of May 2015, but wages depended on the type of equipment being worked on. Powerhouse, substation, and relay repairers earned median wages of $73,810 per year.
Continuing Education and Certification Information
Those who wish to enhance their employment credentials may become certified technicians through institutions such as the Electronics Technicians Association (ETA) or The International Society of Certified Electronics Technicians. Certification requires passing a written exam to demonstrate sufficient knowledge of electronics and electrical systems. While many employers do not require their technicians to be certified, certification will often open up more specialized job opportunities to electronics technicians.
Graduates may choose to continue their education by enrolling in bachelor's degree programs in electronic engineering technology or electronic technology. These programs may be designed to offer continuing education options to individuals who already hold associate's degrees in electronics and may be offered online for working professionals. Bachelor's degree holders may find professional opportunities working with engineers to develop and operate new products.
If you want to become an electronic systems technician, an associate's degree in electronic technology provides the theoretical and practical training you need to enter the field and pursue specialized certification. Alternatively, you can expand your job prospects by transferring to a bachelor's degree program after graduation.