Electrical and electronics engineering technicians help electrical and electronics engineers design and develop computers, communications equipment, medical monitoring devices, navigational equipment, and other electrical and electronic equipment. They often work in product evaluation and testing, and use measuring and diagnostic devices to adjust, test, and repair equipment. They are also involved in the manufacture and deployment of equipment for automation.

Duties

Electrical engineering technicians typically do the following:

  • Put together electrical and electronic systems and prototypes
  • Build, calibrate, and repair electrical instruments or testing equipment
  • Visit construction sites to observe conditions affecting design
  • Identify solutions to technical design problems that arise during the construction of electrical systems
  • Inspect designs for quality control, report findings, and make recommendations
  • Draw diagrams and write specifications to clarify design details of experimental electronics units

Electrical engineering technicians install and maintain electrical control systems and equipment, and modify electrical prototypes, parts, and assemblies to correct problems. When testing systems, they set up equipment and evaluate the performance of developmental parts, assemblies, or systems under simulated conditions. They then analyze test information to resolve design-related problems.

Electronics engineering technicians typically do the following:

  • Design basic circuitry and draft sketches to clarify details of design documentation, under engineers’ direction
  • Build prototypes from rough sketches or plans
  • Assemble, test, and maintain circuitry or electronic components according to engineering instructions, technical manuals, and knowledge of electronics
  • Adjust and replace defective circuitry and electronic components
  • Make parts, such as coils and terminal boards, by using bench lathes, drills, or other machine tools

Electronics engineering technicians identify and resolve equipment malfunctions and then work with manufacturers to get replacement parts. They also calibrate and perform preventive maintenance on equipment and systems.

These technicians often need to read blueprints, schematic drawings, and engineering instructions for assembling electronic units. They also write reports and record data on testing techniques, laboratory equipment, and specifications.

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Work Environment

Electrical and electronics engineering technicians held about 130,500 jobs in 2018. The largest employers of electrical and electronics engineering technicians were as follows:

Engineering services 13%
Semiconductor and other electronic component manufacturing 12
Federal government 10
Navigational, measuring, electromedical, and control instruments manufacturing
6
Merchant wholesalers, durable goods 5

Electrical and electronics engineering technicians work closely with electrical and electronics engineers. For this reason, teamwork is an important part of the job. They work in offices, laboratories, and factories because their job tasks involve both engineering theory and assembly-line production.

Electrical and electronics engineering technicians may be exposed to hazards from equipment or toxic materials, but incidents are rare if proper procedures are followed.

Work Schedules

Electrical and electronics engineering technicians may work in day or night shifts, depending on production schedules. In the federal government, their schedules tend to follow a standard workweek.  

Education and Training

Electrical and electronics engineering technicians typically need an associate’s degree.

Education

Programs for electrical and electronics engineering technicians usually lead to an associate’s degree in electrical or electronics engineering technology. Vocational–technical schools include postsecondary institutions that serve local students and emphasize training needed by local employers.

Community colleges offer programs similar to those in technical institutes but include more theory-based and liberal arts coursework. Some of these colleges allow students to concentrate in computer electronics, industrial electronics, or communications electronics.

Prospective electrical and electronics engineering technicians usually take courses in programming languages, chemistry, physics, logical processors, and circuitry. Coursework in test equipment is also helpful. The Technology Accreditation Commission of ABET accredits programs that include at least college algebra, trigonometry, and basic science courses.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations

Technicians may choose to earn certification to show an advanced level of knowledge. Several organizations offer certification.

The National Institute for Certification in Engineering Technologies (NICET) offers certification in electrical power testing. This certification would benefit those technicians working in the electric power generation, transmission, and distribution industry.

ETA International also offers certifications in several fields, including basic electronics, biomedical electronics, and renewable energy.

The International Society of Automation offers certification as a Control Systems Technician. To gain such certification, technicians must demonstrate skills in pneumatic, mechanical, and electronic instrumentation. In addition, they must demonstrate an understanding of process control loops and process control systems.

Personality and Interests

Electrical and electronics engineering technicians typically have an interest in the Building Thinking interest areas, according to the Holland Code framework. The Building interest area indicates a focus on working with tools and machines, and making or fixing practical things. The Thinking interest area indicates a focus on researching, investigating, and increasing the understanding of natural laws.

If you are not sure whether you have a Building or Thinking interest which might fit with a career as a electrical and electronics engineering technician, you can take a career test to measure your interests.

Electrical and electronics engineering technicians should also possess the following specific qualities:

Logical-thinking skills. Electrical and electronics engineering technicians must isolate and then identify problems for the engineering staff to work on. They need good reasoning skills to identify and fix problems. Technicians must also be able to follow a logical sequence or specific set of rules to carry out engineers’ designs, inspect designs for quality control, and put together prototypes.

Math skills. Electrical and electronics engineering technicians use math for analysis, design, and troubleshooting in their work.

Mechanical skills. Electronics engineering technicians in particular must be able to use handtools and soldering irons on small circuitry and electronic parts to create detailed electronic components by hand.

Observational skills. Electrical engineering technicians sometimes visit a construction site to make sure that electrical engineers’ designs are being carried out correctly. They are responsible for evaluating the project onsite and reporting problems to the engineer.

Problem-solving skills. Electrical and electronics engineering technicians create what engineers have designed and often test the designs to make sure that they work. Technicians help to resolve any problems that come up in carrying out the engineers’ designs.

Writing skills. These technicians must write reports on onsite construction, the results of testing, or problems they find when carrying out designs. Their writing must be clear and well organized so that the engineers they work with can understand the reports.

Pay

The median annual wage for electrical and electronics engineering technicians was $65,260 in May 2019. The median wage is the wage at which half the workers in an occupation earned more than that amount and half earned less. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $39,190, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $96,690.

In May 2019, the median annual wages for electrical and electronics engineering technicians in the top industries in which they worked were as follows:

Federal government $70,510
Merchant wholesalers, durable goods 64,010
Engineering services 62,480
Semiconductor and other electronic component manufacturing 60,710
Navigational, measuring, electromedical, and control instruments manufacturing 60,080

Electrical and electronics engineering technicians may work in day or night shifts, depending on production schedules. In the federal government, their schedules tend to follow a standard workweek.

Job Outlook

Employment of electrical and electronics engineering technicians is projected to show little or no change from 2018 to 2028.

Many of these technicians work in traditional manufacturing industries, and employment of these technicians is projected to decline in most manufacturing industries. Employment of these technicians in the federal government is projected to decline as well. However, employment of electrical and electronics engineering technicians will likely grow in engineering services firms as companies seek to contract out these services as a way to lower costs.

Electrical and electronics engineering technicians also work closely with electrical and electronics engineers and computer hardware engineers in the computer systems design services industry. Demand for these technicians is expected to be sustained by the continuing integration of computer and electronics systems, especially automation systems. In addition, computer, cellular phone, and Global Positioning System (GPS) technologies are being included in automobiles and various portable and household electronics systems.

Job Prospects

Prospective electrical and electronics engineering technicians may face competition for jobs. Candidates with a certification will likely have the best job opportunities.

For More Information

For more information about general engineering education and career resources, visit

American Society for Engineering Education

Technology Student Association

For more information about accredited programs, visit

ABET

For more information about certification, visit

ETA International

International Society of Automation

International Society of Certified Electronics Technicians

National Institute for Certification in Engineering Technologies (NICET)

For information about working in automation, visit

Automation Federation

 

FAQ

Where does this information come from?

The career information above is taken from the Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook. This excellent resource for occupational data is published by the U.S. Department of Labor every two years. Truity periodically updates our site with information from the BLS database.

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I am not sure if this career is right for me. How can I decide?

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