Electro-mechanical technicians combine knowledge of mechanical technology with knowledge of electrical and electronic circuits. They install, troubleshoot, repair, and upgrade electronic and computer-controlled mechanical systems, such as robotic assembly machines.

Duties

Electro-mechanical technicians typically do the following:

  • Read blueprints, schematics, and diagrams to determine the method and sequence of assembly of a part, machine, or piece of equipment
  • Verify dimensions of parts, using precision measuring instruments, to ensure that specifications are met
  • Operate metalworking machines to make housings, fittings, and fixtures
  • Repair and calibrate hydraulic and pneumatic assemblies 
  • Test the performance of electro-mechanical assemblies, using test instruments
  • Install electronic parts and hardware, using soldering equipment and hand tools

Electro-mechanical technicians sometimes test and operate machines in factories and other worksites. They also analyze and record test results, and prepare written documentation to describe the tests they did and what the test results were.

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Work Environment

Electro-mechanical technicians held about 17,300 jobs in 2012.

Electro-mechanical technicians work closely with electrical and mechanical engineers. They work primarily in manufacturing, engineering services, and research and development. Their job tasks involve both engineering theory and assembly line production work. Consequently, they often work both at production sites and in offices.

The industries that employed the most electro-mechanical technicians in 2012 were as follows:

Architectural, engineering, and related services 13%
Navigational, measuring, electromedical, and control instruments manufacturing 11
Semiconductor and other electronic component manufacturing 10
Scientific research and development services 8
Support activities for mining 7

Because their job involves manual work with many machines and types of equipment, electro-mechanical technicians are sometimes exposed to hazards from equipment or toxic materials. However, incidents are rare as long as they follow proper safety procedures.

Work Schedules

Electro-mechanical technicians often work for larger companies in manufacturing or for engineering firms. Like others at these firms, these technicians tend to work a regular shift. However, sometimes they must work longer hours to make repairs so that manufacturing operations can continue.

Education and Training

Electro-mechanical technicians typically need either an associate’s degree or a postsecondary certificate.

Education

Associate’s degree programs and postsecondary certificates for electro-mechanical technicians are offered at vocational–technical schools and community colleges. Vocational–technical schools include postsecondary public institutions that serve local students and emphasize teaching the skills needed by local employers. Community colleges offer programs similar to those in technical institutes, but they may include more theory-based and liberal arts coursework.

ABET accredits associate’s and higher degree programs. Most associate’s degree programs that are accredited by ABET include at least college algebra and trigonometry, as well as basic science courses.

ABET-accredited programs offer training in engineering technology specialties. In community college programs, prospective electro-mechanical technicians can concentrate in fields such as the following:

  • Electro-mechanics
  • Industrial maintenance
  • Computer-integrated manufacturing
  • Mechatronics

Earning an associate’s degree in electronic or mechanical technology eases entry into a bachelor’s degree programs in electrical engineering and mechanical engineering. For more information, see the profiles on electrical and electronics engineers and mechanical engineers.

Important Qualities

Detail oriented. Electro-mechanical technicians must make and keep the precise, accurate measurements that mechanical engineers need.

Dexterity. Electro-mechanical engineering technicians in particular must be able to use hand tools and soldering irons on small circuitry and electronic parts to create detailed electronic components by hand.

Interpersonal skills. Electro-mechanical technicians must be able to take instruction and offer advice when needed. In addition, they often need to coordinate their work with that of others.

Logical-thinking skills. To carry out engineers’ designs, inspect designs for quality control, and assemble prototypes, electro-mechanical technicians must be able to read instructions and follow a logical sequence or a specific set of rules.

Math skills. Electro-mechanical engineering technicians use mathematics for analysis, design, and troubleshooting in their work.

Mechanical skills. Electro-mechanical technicians must be able to apply the theory and instructions of engineers by creating or building new components for industrial machinery or equipment. They must be adept at operating machinery, including drill presses, grinders, and engine lathes.

Writing skills. Electro-mechanical 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.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations

Electro-mechanical technicians can gain certification as a way to demonstrate professional competence.

The International Society of Automation offers certification as a Certified Control Systems Technician. This requires, at a minimum, 5 years of experience on the job, or only 3 years if the technician has completed 2 years of postsecondary education.

The National Institute for Certification in Engineering Technologies (NICET) offers certification in electrical power testing and other specialties.

Pay

The median annual wage for electro-mechanical technicians was $51,820 in May 2012. 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 $33,360, and the top 10 percent earned more than $76,590.

In May 2012, the median annual wages for electro-mechanical technicians in the top five industries in which these technicians worked were as follows:

Scientific research and development services $60,750
Architectural, engineering, and related services 52,620
Navigational, measuring, electromedical, and
control instruments manufacturing
49,950
Semiconductor and
other electronic component manufacturing
46,840
Support activities for mining 42,480

Electro-mechanical technicians often work for larger companies in manufacturing or for engineering firms. Like others at these firms, these technicians tend to work a regular shift. However, sometimes they must work longer hours to make repairs so that manufacturing operations can continue.

Job Outlook

Employment of electro-mechanical technicians is projected to grow 4 percent from 2012 to 2022, slower than the average for all occupations. Many of these technicians are employed in manufacturing industries that are projected to experience employment declines. 

Electro-mechanical technicians are generalists in technology, and their broad skill set will help sustain employment. This is especially the case as their skills working with machines wired to computer control systems grow in importance in the manufacturing sector.

As demand increases for engineers to design and build new equipment in various fields, employment of electro-mechanical technicians should also increase. This will be seen in new applications designed by engineers to automate more processes within manufacturing and other sectors.

Job Prospects

Job prospects are likely to be best for electro-mechanical technicians who train in a field known as mechatronics, which provides an understanding of four key systems:

  • Mechanical systems
  • Electronic systems
  • Control systems
  • Computer systems

Training in mechatronics has two advantages for electro-mechanical technicians. First, it is multidisciplinary, which gives technicians more versatile training that is applicable across a broad range of fields. Second, it allows a technician to contribute to a product in its entirety, from concept and design to delivery.

For More Information

For information about general engineering education and career resources, visit

American Society for Engineering Education

IEEE

Technology Student Association

For information on accredited programs, visit

ABET

For more information about certification, visit

International Society of Automation

National Institute for Certification in Engineering Technologies 

For information about working in automation, visit

Automation Federation

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