The difference between an electronics technician and an electronics installer is the focus of their work.Technicians work in handling repairs and diagnosing issues, while electronics installers work in the field with clients. A formal training program can provide potential technicians and installers with experience and knowledge about problem solving, diagnosing, testing, repairing and installing communications equipment.
Communications electronics technicians help develop and maintain audio, video, telecommunications and Web-based communication. Education involves vocational training and an associate's degree in electronics technology or manufacturing engineering technology. Certification is recommended and offered through a number of professional organizations.
|Required Education||Vocational training and an associate's degree|
|Projected Job Growth (2014-2024)||-2% for electrical and electronic engineering technicians; -4% for electronics installers and repairers*|
|Median Salary (2014)||$61,130 for electrical and electronic engineering technicians; $55,690 for electronics installers and repairers*|
Source: * U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
A communications electronics technician helps design, develop, test and manufacture equipment for use in a variety of communications industries. Since electronics are constantly becoming more complex, it is up to these technicians to evaluate equipment using a variety of tools and diagnostic devices.
Communications electronics technicians use principles of engineering, mathematics and electronics to assist engineers in developing new communications technologies for sound recording, video and film or the telecommunications industry. Technicians test equipment and make the necessary adjustments to develop them successfully.
Many communications electronics technicians work exclusively in the repair end of the profession. Installers and repairers usually work in the field. They must be able to diagnose and repair problems that occur with many different types of technology. Because new communications devices are always being developed, these technicians have to continue to learn in order to stay ahead of the curve in their profession.
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Associate's Degree in Electronics Technology
Many technical schools and schools specializing in communications offer associate's degree programs in electronics technology or manufacturing engineering technology. All programs stress applied education, with an emphasis on mathematics, science, computer literacy and electronics. The core curriculum includes technical communications, principles of telecommunications, fundamentals in microprocessors and AC/DC circuit analysis. Advanced courses guide students through the usage of electromechanical devices, integrated circuits, microcomputers, robotics and industrial safety procedures. Because communications electronic technicians work as part of a team or with the public, courses such as interpersonal or business communications are included.
Professional organizations such as the Electronics Technicians Association (ETA) or the International Society of Certified Electronic Technicians (ISCET) offer a number of certification tests for technicians interested in focusing on communications, such as communication site installer, satellite installer, telecommunications and wireless communications. There is also a certification exam for installing and servicing multimedia systems, which covers technical theory and practice.
Career and Salary Information
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicts that the number of jobs for electrical and electronic engineering technicians, including those who work in communications, will slightly decline for 2014-2024, with a growth rate of -2% (www.bls.gov). The BLS reports that electrical and electronic engineering technicians earned a median salary of $61,130 in 2015.
According to the BLS, the job growth rate for electrical and electronics installers and repairers is expected to decline 4% from 2014-2024, and they earned a median salary of $55,690 in 2015, per the BLS.
When working with communications technology, technicians and installers offer two options that require very little schooling. A short certificate program or associate's degree program can offer the training and experience needed to begin a career. This is a challenging field, so pursuing professional certification might be a good option for the aspiring professional.