Electrical and Electronics Installer and Repairer
Electrical and Electronics Installer and Repairer
Education and Training: High school plus training
Salary: $15.54 to $25.86 per hour
Employment Outlook: Fair to good
Definition and Nature of the Work
Electrical and electronics installers and repairers are sometimes called electronics technicians. As their name suggests, these workers install and repair electrical and electronic equipment. The electrical components of equipment provide power. The electronic components control the equipment, although many types of equipment still are controlled with electrical devices.
Most electrical and electronics installers and repairers work for private companies. They work in all sections of the country in many different industries. They may work in research and development laboratories, repair shops, or plants that make electronic equipment. Many work as customer service technicians. They may install, repair, and service equipment in people's homes or in the hospitals, offices, and other places where it is used. Some electronics technicians work as teachers or aides who answer questions raised by students or customers. Others are mechanical writers who prepare instruction and repair manuals.
Electrical and electronics installers and repairers understand the basic laws of electricity and electrical circuits, as well as the principles of electronics technology. Since the electronics field is so broad and changes so fast, many technicians specialize in one area.
Some electrical and electronics installers and repairers work in the production of electronic equipment. Part of their job often includes testing equipment, making sure that it meets the proper specifications. This is known as quality control. Technicians sometimes assemble some of the more complex electronic parts.
Many electrical and electronics installers and repairers work at troubleshooting. They test circuits and parts to find out why a piece of equipment is not working properly and then fix the problem.
Education and Training Requirements
You can get training in electronics technology at many colleges and technical institutes, in schools run by the armed services, and from home-study courses. It takes about two years to complete many of these programs. Students can usually specialize in one field, such as communications or medical equipment. You can also become an electrical and electronics installer and repairer through on-the-job training offered by many companies. These companies usually prefer to train people who have taken science and mathematics courses in high school or college or who have work experience in the electronics industry. There are also some formal apprenticeship programs. These programs take from two to four years to complete and combine on-the-job training with classroom instruction. Some electrical and electronics installers and repairers who work with radio transmitting equipment must be licensed by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).
Getting the Job
If you attend a two-year program at a college or technical institute, your school placement office may be able to help you find a job. State employment services may also help graduates find work as electrical and electronics installers and repairers. If you are not a graduate of a special school, state agencies can sometimes help you to get a position that offers on-the-job training. You can also apply directly to companies that hire electrical and electronics installers and repairers. Jobs are often listed in newspaper classifieds and job banks on the Internet.
Advancement Possibilities and Employment Outlook
Experienced electrical and electronics installers and repairers can advance in many ways. They can become managers or supervisors at repair shops or open their own shops. They can also become quality control managers for firms that make electronic equipment or may become advanced specialists in their field. Some technicians who obtain additional education become engineers. Other experienced technicians become sales representatives or technical writers. There are also opportunities for advancement in the teaching of electronics.
Overall employment of electrical and electronics installers and repairers is expected to grow more slowly than average for all occupations through 2014. However, average employment growth is projected for electrical and electronics installers and repairers of commercial and industrial equipment, and of motor vehicle electronic equipment. Opportunities will be best for those applicants who have had postsecondary school training that includes practical work experience.
Working conditions for electrical and electronics installers and repairers vary. They usually work thirty-five to forty hours a week, but they may have to work night shifts, overtime, or weekends. Many electrical and electronics installers and repairers work on factory floors, where there is noise, dirt, vibration, and heat. Others service equipment in offices or stores, or travel to customers' locations. In some cases technicians are members of unions.
Electrical and electronics installers and repairers should have an aptitude for science and mathematics. They need to have mechanical ability and must work well with their hands. They should be able to communicate their ideas and get along well with other workers, as well as with customers. They must be willing to study to keep up with new developments in their field. They should also enjoy doing detailed work.
Where to Go for More Information
Association of Communications & Electronics Schools International
5241 Princess Anne Rd., Ste. 110
Virginia Beach, VA 23462
Electronics Technicians Association International
5 Depot St. Greencastle, IN 46135
Earnings and Benefits
Earnings vary depending on education, experience, location, and kind of job. In 2004 the median hourly wage of electrical and electronics repairers for commercial and industrial equipment was $20.48; of electric motor and power tool technicians was $15.54; of powerhouse, substation, and relay technicians was $25.86; of motor vehicle technicians was $12.79; and of transportation equipment technicians was $19.25. Benefits generally include paid holidays and vacations, health insurance, and retirement plans. Electronics technicians who must travel in their work often receive an expense allowance.