Electronics technicians work with electrical equipment in a variety of different industries. Most employers prefer candidates to have professional instruction in electronics, but a high school diploma with some electronics experience might be sufficient in some cases. There are a number of optional basic and advanced certifications that may be helpful for securing a job.
Electronics technicians install, repair, test and calibrate electrical equipment in many different fields and industries. There are a variety of training and certification options available to aspiring electronics technicians. This article provides some helpful information and suggestions for those interested in working in this field.
|Career||Electrical and Electronics Installers and Repairers|
|Required Education||Some technical school|
|Other Requirements||On-the-job experience|
|Projected Job Growth (2014-2024)*||-4%|
|Median Salary (2015)*||$55,160|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
Electronics Technician Training Overview
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), electronics technicians must usually demonstrate some training in the field in order to gain employment, even in entry-level positions. These entry-level positions may include additional training under the guidance of an experienced electronics worker. With enough experience, the BLS indicates that electronics technicians can move on to specialize in a certain area of electronics, or can work as troubleshooters for general electrical issues.
The BLS reports that generally, employers in this industry prefer to hire an individual who has received formal training in the field of electronics. However, the BLS also states that a high school diploma may be sufficient for entry into these positions, so taking a formal degree program in the field may not be necessary.
For those who want to pursue formal education, electronics instruction programs lasting anywhere from a few months to two years are offered at a variety of institutions, including secondary and postsecondary vocational schools and community and technical colleges. These programs can result in certificates or associate degrees. This formal training may provide students with hands-on work experience valuable to prospective employers. It can also be helpful for electronics techs to formally demonstrate their technical proficiency by earning certification from industry organizations.
According to the International Society of Certified Electronics Technicians (ISCET), certification represents the difference between those who merely say they are technicians and those who really are technicians. Examinations administered by the ISCET, the Electronics Technicians Association (ETA) or the National Electronics Service Dealers Association (NESDA) allow Electronics professionals to achieve different levels of certification.
Individuals with multiple electronics certifications can advance to become manufacturing sales workers, maintenance supervisors or service managers. Others may decide to specialize in the computer field and take courses that will lead to the A+ certification from the Computing Technology Industry Association (CompTIA).
- Associate Level Electronics Certified Electronics Technician (CET) - Administered by the ISCET, his examination covers basic electronics, math, DC and AC circuits, transistors and troubleshooting. The exam is open to students or repairers with fewer than four years of experience. Certification is valid for four years.
- Electronics System Associate (ESA) - Also given by the ISCET, this certification test is open to those with fewer than four years of experience. The exam covers DC, AC, Semi and Digital in four separate parts, and certification is awarded in each individual subject. Certification does not need to be renewed, but it is subject to registration requirements, including 20 hours of continuing education units every two years.
- Journeyman Level CET - This electronics certification granted by the ISCET indicates that the individual has passed the associate level CET test or the ESA as well as one of the following journeyman-level CET exams:
- National Appliance Service Technician Certification (NASTeC) - This certification indicates that the basic electronics certification has been achieved and the electrician has passed the journeyman level test in refrigeration and air conditioning, cooking or laundry and dishwashing.
- Multi Systems Technician Journeyman Level (MST) - The electronics certification for technicians who specialize in home theater installations.
The lowest form of required education for electronics technicians is a high school diploma, but formal training is preferred by most employers. Multiple forms of certification are also available for electronics technicians to gain specialized skills and increase their odds of employment.