Becoming an Electronics Repair Technician: Salary & Job Description

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What are the pros and cons of an electronics repair technician career? Get real job descriptions, career outlook information and salary statistics to decide if a career as an electronics repair technician is right for you.
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Pros and Cons of an Electronics Repair Technician Career

Electronics repair technicians install, repair, and maintain a wide variety of electrical equipment in industries like transportation, utilities, and manufacturing. For further information about the pros and cons of a career as an electronics repair technician, keep reading.

Pros of an Electronics Repair Technician Career
Good salary payoff for education requirements (median salary near $51,000)*
Ability to work independently**
Get instant feedback from work**
Job location flexibility*

Cons of an Electronics Repair Technician Career
Sluggish job growth (only one percent from 2012-2022)*
Must stay up-to-date with increasingly complex technology*
May have to work in uncomfortable environments*
Advancement opportunities may be limited*

Sources: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, **O*NET OnLine.

Essential Career Information

Job Description

While repairing electronics, technicians must often refer to guides and schematics. They also must use manufacturer specifications to be sure that their work will restore a piece of equipment to full functionality. Electronics repair technicians need to provide cost estimates to clients before they begin their work. You also need to maintain thorough records of parts used and labor time to ensure appropriate billing.

Whether working with small appliances or large-scale manufacturing systems, electronics repair technicians often utilize sophisticated diagnostic tools to isolate problems. For more complex electric systems, they may use software to find malfunctions. If working with larger electronic equipment in an industrial or manufacturing setting, an electronics repair technician might spend most of his or her time replacing defective parts or fixing motors.

Salary and Career Outlook

The BLS projects slower-than-average job growth for electrical and electronics installers and repairers in the coming years, with overall employment expected to increase by only one percent from 2012-2022. Employment growth may be slightly better for those with knowledge of newer, energy-effecient technologies. As of May 2012, the BLS reported a median annual salary of about $51,000 for electrical and electronics installers and repairers.

Requirements

While having a high school diploma may be enough to secure some jobs, most employers prefer to hire electronics repair technicians who have an associate's degree in electronics or a related field, according to the BLS. Experience is also necessary for many positions, so entry-level electronics repair technicians sometimes work with experienced technicians to develop their skills. Whatever level of education you may have, an extensive knowledge of electronics and electric equipment is necessary to work as an electronics repair technician.

Communication skills are very important for electronics repair technicians, as they must work closely with customers to explain repair work and associated costs. You should also be familiar with a variety of tools. A good amount of dexterity is also necessary to work in tight spaces and with small parts.

What Are Employers Looking for?

If you have training and some experience in electronics repair, you might be able to find work in a wide range of settings. Some job postings as of May 2012 can give you an idea of what employers are seeking from electronics repair technicians.

• A medical equipment manufacturer in Minnesota seeks a service and repair technician to perform electrical and mechanical repairs of medical devices. Calibrating and troubleshooting mechanical medical devices are also responsibilities of the position. Electromechanical product knowledge and troubleshooting skills are required.

• A wireless communication company based in California is looking for an electronics repair technician to test equipment and calibrate, test and troubleshoot electronic components. Five years of experience as an electronic technician and associate's degree-level training are required.

• An aerospace company in Washington seeks an electronics technician to work in avionics repair and overhaul. Calibration, testing and troubleshooting of various types of avionics equipment are involved in this position. An associate's degree in an electronics-related field is required, along with at least two years of electronic troubleshooting experience.

Standing Out in the Field

If you want to stand out from other jobseekers in the electronics repair field, specializing education is a great way to do it. For example, you might focus on avionics, elevator or car repair as opposed to general electronics. One way to do with is to seek specialized education programs, and another is to work with an experienced technician who also focuses on the same niche field.

Certification is voluntary for electronics repair technicians but can help enhance job prospects. The Electronics Technicians Association International (ETA) is one of many organizations that offer credentials at multiple levels; the ETA offers more than 50 certification options to qualified electronics professionals.

Alternative Career Options

Electrician

An alternative to working as an electronics repair technician is pursuing a career as an electrician. Your focus would be the installation and maintenance of electrical systems in homes, businesses and factories. Most states require licensure to perform such work, and the licensure stipulations vary by state. As of May 2011, the BLS reported a median salary of $49,320 for electricians. Although this is slightly below the median salary for electronics repair technicians and licensure is necessary, the BLS also projected a higher-than-average job growth of 23% from 2010-2020 for electricians.

Maintenance Worker

Working as a general maintenance and repair professional is another option that you may want to consider. These professionals may work with plumbing, heating, machinery or even infrastructure, and workers generally learn their skills on the job rather than through formal training. There also aren't mandatory licensure or certification regulations. The BLS projects average job growth for general maintenance and repair workers (11% from 2010-2020), and a median salary of about $35,000 as of May 2011.

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