The Pros and Cons of a Field Technician Career
A field technician travels to factories and other locations to repair equipment of various types. To learn more about the pros and cons of a career as a field technician, just continue reading.
|Pros of a Field Technician Career|
|Extensive training isn't required for a position*|
|Good salary payoff for training requirements (May 2014 average salary of about $55,000)*|
|Independent nature of work**|
|Generally good job security**|
|Cons of a Field Technician Career|
|Stunted employment growth (Little change projected from 2012-2022)*|
|Risk of injury or electric shock*|
|Lifting heavy equipment may be required*|
|Work often takes place on noisy and hot factory floors*|
Sources: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, **O*Net Online
Essential Career Information
Field technicians typically travel to factories or other customer sites to diagnose and repair disabled equipment. They often replace defective parts like motors, fuses and gaskets while referring to appropriate service guides and schematics. Field technicians often use software applications to diagnose malfunctions in automated electronic control systems. Additionally, these individuals must keep detailed records of parts used and labor time in order to accurately assess final charges after completing a repair. You may also be required to investigate whether mechanical or human errors are to blame for equipment malfunctions.
Salary Statistics and Career Outlook
As of May 2014, the BLS reported an average annual salary of around $55,000 for electrical and electronics repairers who work with commercial and industrial equipment. The BLS projects just a 1% increase in employment for these occupations from 2012-2022. Improved reliability of equipment is expected to contribute to the limited job growth for electronics repairers and field technicians.
While a high school diploma may be adequate education for becoming a field technician, an increasing number of employers prefer to hire candidates who have some training from a technical or vocational school. Regardless of the amount of schooling you have received, some on-the-job training is typically required.
You'll need to have good analytical and troubleshooting skills in order to succeed as a field technician. It's also important for field technicians to communicate effectively with customers and equipment operators to understand the nature of the equipment malfunction. Some other attributes you may need include technical skills with tools and manual dexterity.
What Are Employers Looking For?
If you have some college training in electronics and work experience in electrical repair, you might be able to find a field technician position in a range of industries. The following job listings were open in December 2012 and may give you an idea of the current job market.
- A power generation company located in Wisconsin is looking for a field technician to service and repair electrical generator systems. The positions calls for three years of power generation equipment or engine repair experience. Extensive travel and overnight stays may be required.
- A temperature control company in Colorado seeks a field technician to set up and maintain equipment according to technical specifications. Troubleshooting support is also required. This is an entry-level position with no specific education requirements.
- A control and automation solutions firm in Pennsylvania is looking for a field technician to perform installations and troubleshooting of natural gas products. A 2-year technical degree or equivalent work experience is required. The position also requires significant travel.
Standing Out in the Field
You can enhance your professional qualifications as a field technician by completing an associate's degree in an electronics-related field. Specializing in a particular area of electronics repair, such as electric motors or transportation equipment, might also help you to stand apart from other candidates.
Earning certification is another way to make yourself more attractive to potential employers. The Electronics Technicians Association International (ETA) offers certifications in dozens of electronics specialties at various levels of competence. The International Society of Certified Electronics Technicians also offers many different credentials to demonstrate your skills and knowledge. Each organization requires you to meet certain prerequisites and earn a passing score on an exam to become certified.
Alternate Career Options
If you'd like to expand your horizons in the electronics field, you might consider a career as an electrician. A high school diploma is typically the only educational requirement to become an electrician, with most training received through an apprenticeship. Good job growth is expected for electricians in the near future, as the BLS projected a 23% increase in employment from 2010-2020. As of May 2011, the BLS reported an average annual salary of about $53,000 for electricians.
Working as a telecommunications equipment installer or repairer, also called telecom technician, might also be a good way for you to apply your technical abilities. Telecom technicians set up and maintain equipment that carries communication signals. Some post-secondary electronics education is typically required to become a telecom technician and certain positions may require a 4-year degree. The BLS projected a 15% job growth for telecommunications installers and repairers from 2010-2020. The BLS further reported an average annual salary of about $53,000 for these individuals as of May 2011.