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SMT Equipment Technicians
SMT equipment technicians, or surface-mount technology equipment technicians, build and perform maintenance on electronic or mechanical equipment. They may assemble, test, and troubleshoot equipment using a variety of tools and methods. These technicians might work on a shift schedule in a manufacturing facility or a regular daily schedule in an office or laboratory. Although the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics doesn't provide data strictly for SMT equipment technicians, it does provide information for a similar position, electrical and electronic engineering technicians. The median annual salary for these technicians is $61,130 as of May 2015.
|Degree Level||Associate's or bachelor's degree|
|Degree Field||Electronics or electronic engineering|
|Experience||3-4 years of experience|
|Key Skills||Strong problem-solving, interpersonal and communication skills, ability to multi-task and meet deadlines, spreadsheets, databases, computer-aided design software, analytical/scientific software, surface-mount machinery as well as hand and power tools, like screwguns and wire strippers|
|Salary (2015)*||$61,130 (median salary for electrical and electronic engineering technicians)|
Sources: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Job postings, O*Net OnLine
Let's now look at the step to becoming an SMT equipment technician.
Step 1: Get an Associate's Degree
Most employers prefer SMT equipment technicians to have at least an associate's degree in electronics or electronic engineering. An electronics degree program might include coursework in circuit analysis, digital design, electronic design, calculus, and computer architecture. An electronic engineering degree program might include courses in electrical circuits, fabrication processes for electronics, micro-controllers, and electronic devices. Both majors prepare students for their careers with hands-on experience in the electronics field.
Step 2: Consider Earning a Bachelor's Degree
A bachelor's degree in electronics engineering is preferred by some employers. These programs typically expand on electronic applications and provide more advanced coursework and lab experience. Coursework may include programming essentials, engineering and ethics, technical project management, technical writing, physics, advanced circuit application, and AC/DC circuits. Some schools require students to have an associate's degree in electronic engineering technology before being admitted to a bachelor's program.
Step 3: Gain Experience
Work experience requirements vary by employer. Some positions require up to 4 years of experience in the field and others require only formal education. Such entry-level positions can provide the skills and experience needed for higher-level positions. Some common job duties may include building printed circuit assemblies using schematic drawings, soldering, performing tests, and troubleshooting.
In summary, the steps to becoming an SMT equipment technician include getting an associate's degree, considering earning a bachelor's degree, and gaining work experience.