Most systems contractors work in the electrical and/or electronic industries. Electrical and electronics systems contractors install and repair (or oversee the installation and repair) of a variety of electrical or electronic equipment. They may work in the computer, telecommunications, utilities, transportation, or many other industries. Most of these contractors will specialize in some specific areas such as security, entertainment, telecommunication, or computer systems.
|Degree Level||A high school diploma is acceptable for some entry-level jobs, but higher-level positions will require an associate's or bachelor's degree.|
|Degree Field||Electronics or Electrical Engineering|
|Licensure and Certification||Depending on the field and the state of residence, state licensure may be required.|
|Training||On-the-job training is available for entry-level workers from some employers.|
|Key Skills||Math background; ability to work with specialized tools, to communicate effectively and to follow exacting standards and instructions.|
|Salary||$60,340 per year (Median salary for Electrical and Electronics Installers)|
Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, (May, 2015)
Obtain a Technical Education
While prospective systems contractors can start their careers with a high school degree and receive on-the-job training, more opportunities may be available for those with specialized training. Some employers prefer applicants with an associate's degree or a technical certificate from an electrical field, such as the Associate of Engineering in Electrical Engineering Technology.
In a certificate or an associate's degree program students can learn how to develop, design, operate, troubleshoot and control electronics. Course topics may include computer graphics, database technology, computer hardware, physics, programming, electronics, networking and physics. Students can also gain hands-on training in electrical and computer science.
Begin a Career
Upon successful completion of a technical electrical technology education, graduates can pursue a position as an entry-level technician or repairer. Electrical and electronics installers and repairers can work with a variety of equipment, including transportation equipment, industrial and commercial equipment, motor vehicles, electric motors, substations and powerhouses.
According to the National Systems Contractors Association (NSCA), some states require a specialty license for electrical systems, communications and low-energy electronics contractors (www.nsca.org). Requirements for obtaining this license vary by state, but can include submitting an application, having experience or completing a technical training program.
Advance Your Career
In order to get an employment edge and prove competency as a systems contractor, many professionals choose to obtain professional electrical certification, such as those available from the Electronics Technicians Association or International Society of Certified Electronics Technicians. Certification is available after workers successfully pass an exam and fulfill all requirements of a specific vendor or organization. They are also offered for a variety of levels and specialties.
So, in order to become a systems contractor, you should obtain a technical, postsecondary education, pursue a position as an entry level technician, become officially licensed and get certified as a systems professional.