Students in an electronics diploma program learn to analyze, troubleshoot, and design circuits. These programs also might cover amplifiers, receivers, analog circuits, microprocessors, and digital concepts. Students learn to work with electronic systems, including computer, industrial, telecommunications, and biomedical systems. Generally, prerequisites are simply possession of a high school diploma or equivalent. Associate's degree programs may be available in interdisciplinary studies.
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Coursework in an electronics program usually includes hands-on training so students can master the technical skills needed to work in this field. Subjects focus on basic electronic concepts. Course topics may include:
- Computer systems
- Direct currents
- Alternating currents
- Solid state devices
Popular Career Options
Diploma programs prepare students for entry-level electronic technician careers. Students may specialize in one area. For example, they may work on biomedical equipment, computers, industrial equipment, or telecommunications equipment. They may also choose a general electronics focus that allows them to work on various types of equipment. Possible job titles may include:
- Computer technician
- Electronics technician
- Telephone technician
Continuing Education Information
Students who wish to continue their studies may find that credits from a diploma program transfer into an associate's degree program in electronics or electronics technology. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employers may prefer electronics installers and repairers to have at least an associate's degree (www.bls.gov). Professional certification may also required by employers.
Certification can be obtained through industry organizations like the Electronics Technicians Association and the International Society of Certified Electronics Technicians. Typically, obtaining certification requires meeting education and experience requirements, as well as passing an exam.
Career Outlook and Salary Projections
Although the salary earned and potential employment outlook can vary by career, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics does provide information for a number of fields relating to electronics. For instance, employment for both electrical and electronic engineering technicians as well as electrical and electronics installers and repairers (which include specialists for motor vehicles, commercial and industrial equipment, and electric motor, power tool, and related repairers) is expected to decline by 2% and 4% respectively from 2014-2024. Employment of telecommunications equipment installers and repairers is also projected to decline by 4% during the same decade.
The BLS reported the following median annual salaries in May 2015 for jobs relating to the field of electronics: electrical and electronics engineering technicians, $61,130; electrical and electronics repairers for commercial and industrial equipment, $55,690; and telecommunications equipment installers and repairers (except line installers) $54,570.
While there are a litany of careers that can be pursued after obtaining an electronics diploma, students should be aware that the career field is declining by 2-4% over the next decade. Earning a professional certificate from organizations like the ETA or ISCET may provide candidates with a competitive edge.