Become an Electronic Systems Technician: Education and Career Roadmap

Learn how to become an electronic systems technician. Research the education requirements, training information, and experience required for starting a career in the electronics field.

Should I Become an Electronic Systems Technician?

Electronic systems technicians use their knowledge of electrical theory and engineering skills to build, repair, adjust and test a variety of electronic systems and equipment. They also design and maintain circuitry and build electronic prototypes. Depending on the specific job, they might help develop electronics, such as communications and computer equipment, medical monitoring devices or navigational systems.

Electronic systems technicians usually work regular business hours in a team environment. The job comes with some level of risk if technicians come into contact with toxic materials or hazardous equipment.

Career Requirements

Degree Level Associate's degree
Degree Field Electronic systems technology, electrical systems or related field
Experience 1 to 5 years typically required
Licensure and Certification Some radio equipment positions require licensure; voluntary certifications available
Key Skills Mechanical, observational, problem-solving, logical-thinking, communication and troubleshooting skills, ability to install, operate and repair a variety of complex electronic equipment
Salary $60,330 per year (2014 average salary for all electrical and electronics engineering technicians)

Sources: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), O*NET OnLine, Online Job Postings (July to August 2015)

Step 1: Earn an Associate's Degree

A prospective electronic systems technician typically must complete an associate's degree program in electronic systems technology, electrical systems or a related field. These programs may cover core topics, such as microprocessors, C++ programming, circuitry, data communications and AC and DC electricity. Programs may offer further specialization in an area of electronics, such as automation and motor control, electronic communication and computer hardware electronics.

Step 2: Obtain Licensure

Some industries require electronic systems technicians to be licensed. For example, the FCC mandates that technicians who service and repair specific radio communication equipment obtain licensure. This licensure can be obtained by passing an examination administered by the FCC.

Step 3: Obtain Certification for Career Advancement

The Electronics Technicians Association (ETA) International offers numerous voluntary certifications in several electronic specialties. To earn certification, candidates typically must pass exams and meet other requirements specific to the type of certification they are seeking. Students who have completed an electronics technology program focusing on telecommunications or computer hardware might consider obtaining CompTIA's A+ certification. This certification can prepare individuals for a variety of careers in information technology or field service electronics, and is recognized by a number of large computer companies and the U.S. Department of Defense. Certification is by exam and covers operating systems, computers, mobile devices and printers. The International Society of Certified Electronics Technicians also offers certification.

Success Tip:

  • Renew certification. To keep certification current, individuals must participate in continuing education opportunities within a certain time period. Some of these educational opportunities include publishing research and completing self-study courses.

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