Electrical and electronics repairers and installers can work in a variety of industries, repairing electrical systems, power tools, motor vehicles, substations, or commercial equipment. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, most employers in the field prefer to hire individuals who have some related postsecondary training. This training can come in the form of a technical program in electrical repair or electrical technology at a vocational school or a certificate, diploma, or associate degree program.
Electrical Repair Training
Some colleges or technical schools offer courses that last from a few weeks to a few months and which focus solely on electrical repair. Applicants may be required to have completed high school or earned a GED. These programs introduce students to electricity concepts, repair equipment, repair procedures, and safety precautions. Students can learn repair processes for various devices, including switches, light fixtures, fans and refrigerators. They may teach homeowners practical repair techniques or may prepare individuals for careers as repair technicians. Programs typically include a good deal of hands-on electrical work so students can gain experience with numerous types of household repairs. Classroom courses can include the following:
- Electricity theory
- Switches, outlets and plugs
- Low voltage systems
Certificate and Diploma Programs in Electrical Technology
Certificate and diploma programs can be completed in 1-4 semesters. These short programs could be useful to students interested in entering the workforce quickly with educational credentials. In longer programs, students may find options for specialization in fields like computer technology, construction, or motor controls.
To enter either a certificate or a diploma program, students must typically have graduated high school. Students in these programs can expect to focus on the fundamental concepts of the field. Longer programs may include general education requirements like English and algebra. Coursework varies from program to program, but common subjects of study include the following:
- Electrical circuits
- Digital circuits
- Electrical codes
- Technical mathematics
Associate of Applied Science in Electrical Technology
Students interested in entering an associate degree program for electrical technology must typically hold a high school diploma or its equivalent in order to enroll. Schools may recommend that applicants have completed a certain number of mathematics, science or electrically-related courses in the past. This program can teach students about a variety of topics, including electrical theories, electrical systems, workplace safety, electrical diagrams, wiring, troubleshooting, diodes, circuits, microprocessor systems, amplifiers and oscillators.
In laboratory settings, students can analyze various electrical situations and work to resolve them. An internship may be required in order to complete an associate degree program. Students are required to take some general education courses, including math, science and computer classes. Laboratory courses are usually a crucial component of the training, and students may have to take one each semester. The majority of courses will focus on specific electrical topics that may include the following:
- Electrical foundations
- Residential wiring
- Digital circuits
- Analog electronics
Employment Outlook and Salary Info
Some training courses prepare students to find entry-level jobs as electrical repair technicians. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) states that home appliance repairer is the mostly likely job for a graduate of a training program (www.bls.gov). Wages can vary based on experience in the field and variety of skills, but the median annual salary for home appliance repairers was $36,200 as of May 2015. The BLS also reported that employment was predicted to decrease by 3% in the 2014-2024 decade.
Popular Career Options
Graduates can apply for a variety of jobs in the residential, commercial or industrial electrical industry. Employers may provide additional on-the-job training and mentorships so that new employees can advance their skills. Some of the other job options are:
- Maintenance electrician
- Instrumentation installer
- Instrumentation repair technician
- Microprocessor system technician
Continuing Education and Certification Information
Graduates can take a certification test such as the North American Technician Excellence, which includes a general exam as well as specialty exams such as air conditioning or refrigeration. Passing a certification test such as the National Appliance Service Certification could also help professionals demonstrate a level of national competency. Beyond the associate degree level, students can enroll in bachelor's degree programs in related fields, such as electrical technology or electrical engineering.
Electrical repair training is available at a variety of levels and prepares students for jobs in the commercial, residential and industrial electrical industries. More advanced training and degree programs may lead to greater opportunities for employment, and voluntary industry certifications help give job seekers an advantage as well.