Electronic technology programs are fairly common, though not as prevalent as electronic engineering technology programs. The latter option includes more technical training, as well as additional coursework in math and physics, in order to prepare graduates for careers assisting engineers with the design, evaluation, and testing of electronic equipment.
Two-year associate's and four-year bachelor's degree programs are available, as are one-to-two-year diploma programs. Each of these will only require a high school education to enroll and can commonly be found online.
Diploma in Electronic Technology
Electronic technology diploma programs prepare graduates for careers installing, repairing, and maintaining electronics used in residential, industrial, and commercial facilities. Students learn how to work with computer hardware and software, motors, and programmable controllers. Some programs also include instruction in communications technology.
Students in these programs begin with courses on basic electrical theory before studying electronics programming and troubleshooting techniques. Students typically receive instruction in class and get experience building circuits, installing computer hardware, and working with microcontrollers in a course's lab sessions. Core coursework often covers:
- AC and DC circuits
- Computer maintenance
- Solid state devices
- Digital electronics
Associate Degree in Electronic Technology
Associate of Science and Associate of Applied Science programs in electronic technology also develop students' computer technology and industrial or residential electronics troubleshooting and repair skills. Some programs allow for concentrations in areas like industrial controls or specialize in training students to use MultiSIM, AutoCAD, and other industry software programs. Good manual dexterity and an aptitude for math are required for success in these programs.
Applicants generally need to have earned a GED or high school diploma to gain admission to an associate degree program, though some schools also stipulate that prospective students must have completed algebra and geometry classes as part of their secondary education program. Applicants might also need to pass a math proficiency exam.
Associate degree programs include general education coursework in addition to the electronics classes required for a diploma. Students might also complete team projects or cooperative work experiences. Common electronics course topics include:
- Circuit analysis
- Digital electronics
- Electronics manufacturing
- Programmable controllers
Bachelor of Science in Electronic Technology
Electronic technology bachelor's degree programs teach students to work with electronic circuits and microprocessors as well as computer and communications technologies. Curriculum also includes advanced math and physics coursework and business classes designed to develop students' critical-thinking and project management skills. This course of study might be ideal for students interested in earning a four-year degree en route to electronics installation and repair careers. Some schools offer training as part of a bachelor's degree completion program, in which case students will need to have earned a related associate degree prior to being admitted.
In addition to general education courses, students in these programs take classes covering electronic circuitry and computer hardware and software. They also complete internships or other capstone experiences. Courses commonly found in these programs include:
- Microcomputer applications
- Advanced electric circuits
- Computer programming
- Project management
Popular Career Options
Graduates of electronic technology diploma programs can find jobs in factories where they repair industrial and transportation equipment or at shops where they service power tools and other types of electronics. Job titles available to students who complete these programs include:
- Computer service technician
- Installation technician
- Electronic communication technician
Graduates of electronic technology bachelor's degree programs can pursue employment as software developers. They might also work as electronics technologists in the following capacities:
- Product development
- Customer support
Employment Outlook and Salary Info
Students who complete associate degree programs are prepared for many of the same careers as diploma program graduates. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, electrical and electronics installers and repairers earned a median salary of $57,890 in 2018. Job growth in this field was expected to vary by specialty area. Technicians working with industrial and commercial equipment, for example, could see a 1% increase in employment over the 2018-2028 decade, while technicians repairing and installing motor vehicle equipment could see a 29% decline in new employment opportunities.
Electro-mechanical technicians, who are technicians who specialize in the installation and repair of manufacturing systems, earned a median annual wage of $57,790 in 2018. These technicians could see a 1% job growth during the same 10-year period.
Continuing Education Information
Graduate school options for students with bachelor's degrees in electronics technology include Master of Science programs in areas like electronics or computer technology. Curricula for these programs prepare students for managerial careers and might even allow them to specialize in an area of interest.
Students typically enroll in associate's, bachelor's, or diploma programs in electronic technology or electronic engineering technology to earn an education in the field, focusing on various math and science principles and how to apply them to installing and repairing electronics. Bachelor's holders can choose to pursue master's-level education in a related field for better job opportunities.