Electrical Engineering Technician Careers: Salary & Job Description

About this article
An electrical engineering technician's median salary is $60,000 but is it worth the educational requirements and training? Get the truth about the job duties and career prospects to decide if becoming an electrical engineering technician is the right career for you.
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Pros and Cons of a Career as an Electrical Engineering Technician

Electrical engineering technicians use engineering techniques to design, repair and build electrical equipment and machines. Before you embark on this career path, you should consider the pros and cons.

PROS of a Career as an Electrical Engineering Technician
Good earning potential ($60,000 median salary in 2014)*
Electrical engineering technology programs offered at 151 U.S. colleges**
No licenses needed *
Incidents of injury are rare*

CONS of a Career as an Electrical Engineering Technician
No job growth (0% increase expected between 2012 and 2022)*
Associate's degree needed for employment*
Many technicians are employed in industries that are expected to decline*
Possible exposure to toxic materials and chemicals*

Sources: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, **ABET.

Essential Career Information

Job Duties

Electrical engineering technicians utilize their knowledge of electronics to maintain, repair and install equipment, such as navigational equipment, computers, monitoring devices and communications equipment. They also test the performance of electronic systems and write reports of their findings. Technicians also analyze test results, inspect engineering designs, develop solutions for improvement and modify equipment and components. A technician may be employed in a setting such as a manufacturing plant, but he or she may also work in an office to complete tasks related to research and development.

Job Prospects and Salary

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that electrical engineering technicians would not see any job growth over the next decade, with a 0% net increase expected between 2012 and 2022. However, the BLS also notes that job prospects will be favorable for technicians in the computer systems design services industry, offset by declines elsewhere. In 2014, electrical engineering technicians earned a median salary of approximately $60,000.

Career Skills and Requirements

Education Requirements

According to the BLS, most electrical engineering technicians hold associate's degrees, typically in electrical engineering technology. These programs are math intensive and often include courses in computer programming, physics and circuitry. Bachelor's degree programs in electrical engineering technology are also available, and they are typically offered as degree-completion programs.

Useful Skills

In addition to a formal training background, there are a handful of skills and qualities that employers look for in prospective technicians. Technicians are expected to be detail oriented and exhibit excellent interpersonal and communication skills. They must be dexterous in order to use equipment, and it's helpful if they have excellent writing skills in order to clearly describe problems and possible solutions within their reports.

Job Postings from Real Employers

Most companies interested in hiring electrical engineering technicians are looking for candidates with superior technical skills. These employers are also interested in a technician's ability to report problems clearly and concisely. Some companies are also looking for technicians that can lead and train other technicians. Below is a list of real job postings from April 2012:

  • A Dallas-based company is looking for an electrical engineering technician to work in its Wisconsin location. The successful candidate should have a minimum of an associate's degree and three years of work experience. The company would like a technician with excellent writing skills, leadership ability and the ability to work within a team.
  • A semi-conductor manufacturer located in Minnesota is interested in hiring an electrical engineering technician to work with a team that supports a product line of semiconductor inspection tools. The preferred candidate needs to possess excellent soldering skills, experience working with CAD software and sharp troubleshooting capabilities.
  • A research and development company in Vermont is interested in hiring an electrical engineering technician to work with a biomedical instrumentation firm. The successful candidate will be able to work with electrical schematics and develop products. The preferred technician will also have experience with Microsoft Word and exhibit strong writing skills. An associate's degree or relevant work experience was required.

How to Stand Out in the Field

Employers often favor client service managers who are able to lead and manage projects. They also prefer technicians who can help with design, implementation, maintenance and repair. Completing a bachelor's degree program could lead to advancement as an engineering technologist, a position that involves working to improve or enhance products and technologies, rather than maintaining and working on existing technology. Because the computer systems design services industry will see the highest spike in employment for technicians, it could help to have expertise in this industry, including experience with global positioning systems (GPS) and portable systems, such as cell phones.

Career Alternatives

If you decide that a career as an electrical engineering technician is not a good fit for you, there are a few options that may prove to be more in line with your interests and background.

Electrical engineer

Electrical engineers earn significantly more than electrical engineering technicians, with a reported $86,000 median salary in 2011. They are also required to be licensed and to hold a bachelor's degree in engineering. Jobs for electrical engineers are expected to grow 6% between 2010 and 2020, and much of this growth will occur in research and development, computer systems design and wireless communications.

Drafter

If you are more interested in the planning stages of a project, you may look into working as a drafter. Drafters take engineering designs and convert them into schematic plans and blueprints. The BLS projects that job opportunities for drafters will increase by 6% between 2010 and 2020. The median annual salary of electrical and electronic drafters in 2011 was about $54,000.

Machinist

Machinists operate computer-controlled machines to manufacture metal tools, instruments and machine parts. Machinists typically work in manufacturing plants and machine shops. The BLS projects a 7% increase in job opportunities for machinists between 2010 and 2020. The median salary of machinists was only $39,000 in 2011; however, they are typically required to hold only a high school diploma.

Popular Schools

  • Online Programs Available
    1. University of Delaware

    Program Options

    Master's
      • Master of Science in Electrical and Computer Engineering
      • Master of Science in Electrical and Computer Engineering
  • Campus Locations:
    2. Lincoln Tech

    Program Options

    Certificate
      • Electrical/Electronics
      • Electrical/Electronics
  • Online Programs Available
    3. Kaplan University

    Program Options

    Bachelor's
      • BSIT: Network Admin
      • BSIT: Network Admin
    Associate's
      • AASIT: Network Admin
      • AASIT: Network Admin
  • Campus and Online Programs
    4. Full Sail University

    Program Options

    Bachelor's
      • BS - Cloud Technologies (Campus)
      • BS - Cloud Technologies (Campus)
  • Campus Locations:
    5. Virginia College

    Program Options

    Certificate
      • Diploma Program - Electrical Technician
      • Diploma Program - Electrical Technician
  • Online Programs Available
    6. Northcentral University

    Program Options

    Doctorate
      • PhD-TIM - Engineering Management
      • PhD in Business Admin - Management of Engineering and Technology
      • Doctor of Business Admin - Management of Engineering and Technology
    Master's
      • MSTIM - Engineering Magagement
      • MBA - Management of Engineering and Technology
  • Campus Locations:
    7. Brightwood College

    Program Options

    Certificate
      • Electrical Technician
      • Electrical Technician Diploma
  • Online Programs Available
    8. Regent University

    Program Options

    Bachelor's
      • Bachelor of Arts in Leadership Studies - Information Technology
  • Online Programs Available
    9. Penn Foster

    Program Options

    Certificate
      • Career Diploma - Electronics Technician
  • Online Programs Available
    10. Purdue University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • Master of Science in Engineering Technology

Featured Schools

University of Delaware

  • Master of Science in Electrical and Computer Engineering

What is your highest level of education completed?

Lincoln Tech

  • Electrical/Electronics

What year did you graduate High School / Receive GED?

Kaplan University

  • BSIT: Network Admin
  • AASIT: Network Admin

Which subject are you interested in?

Full Sail University

  • BS - Cloud Technologies (Campus)

What is your highest level of education?

Virginia College

  • Diploma Program - Electrical Technician

What is your highest level of education completed?

Northcentral University

  • PhD-TIM - Engineering Management
  • PhD in Business Admin - Management of Engineering and Technology
  • MSTIM - Engineering Magagement
  • MBA - Management of Engineering and Technology

What is your highest level of education?

Brightwood College

  • Electrical Technician
  • Electrical Technician Diploma

What is your highest level of education?

Regent University

  • Bachelor of Arts in Leadership Studies - Information Technology

What is your highest level of education completed?