Electronics Technician

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Electronics Technician


Stop for a moment and think about the electronic gadgets and machines found in many homes like DVD players, televisions or electric toothbrushes. It is easy to take these luxuries for granted yet hard to imagine life without them. Thank heavens for electrical engineers who create such great products. But what happens when the machines break or malfunction?

Electronics technicians assist engineers who create, develop and maintain electronic products, systems, and components. They apply the practical and theoretical principles of electronics to the development of electronic-based circuits, and the operation and servicing of electronic equipment and systems. Electronic technicians also service and repair household and business electronic equipment including radios, televisions and personal computer systems.

Although there are many electronics disciplines, technicians usually specialize in technical sales and product representation, systems management, the design and manufacture of electronic devices and systems, or the installation, maintenance and repair of electronic systems and equipment. They may also work with computers and electronic equipment used in the medical, manufacturing, industrial control, telecommunications, aeronautical and military fields.

Advances in electronics, and microelectronics have had a dramatic impact on all industries. In recent years, communications or telecommunications instruments such as high-speed Internet modems, lap top computers, personal digital assistants and fiber optics are booming industries and there is room to accommodate many electronic technician job seekers.

Electronics technicians work mostly under the guidance of engineers constantly checking that design plans are safe and will withstand a number of conditional variables. Safety is one of the most important issues that electronics technicians must contend with. They help create engineering plans on computers that test and predict possible errors and problems with a mechanism and in this, they generate workable solutions. Although most work takes place on the computer, many electronics technicians travel to factories or plants to see their work in progress.

Electronics technicians use traditional and high-tech tools, such as computer-aided design (CAD) systems to create realistic geometric models of objects which can simulate and analyze the effects and potential problems of designs. CAD models are eliminating the need for hand drawn models and those technicians who are certified CAD users will have no difficulties finding employment. Electronics technicians are required to constantly update their skills and knowledge in order to keep up with technological advancements in this quickly changing field.
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  Average Earnings  
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  Interests and Skills  
Electronics technicians should have a natural curiosity and affinity for mechanics, mathematics and electronics. Since imprecise calculations could cause major disasters and expensive mistakes, they must be 100 percent accurate in their calculations. They must be good problem solvers and be able to come up with innovative and creative solutions to potential problems.

They must also be personable and have strong communication skills. Electronics technicians constantly deal with people from both sides of the professional spectrum therefore they must be able to communicate ideas in a clear, concise fashion. Finally, determination, patience and observance are three important characteristics.

  Typical Tasks  
  • Assist in the design, development and testing of electrical and electronic components, equipment, and systems
  • Conduct life tests (burn-ins) on assemblies and record and analyze results
  • Talk to customers and conduct routine checks to find the source of a malfunction
  • Inspect and test electronic equipment, components and assemblies using multi-meters, circuit testers, oscilloscopes, logic probes and other test equipment
  • Assist in building and testing prototypes to specifications
  • Carry out a limited range of technical functions in support of research in electrical and electronic engineering and physics
  • Diagnose and locate circuit, component and equipment faults
  • Install, operate and maintain electrical and electronic equipment and systems
  • Calibrate electrical or electronic equipment and instruments according to technical manuals and written instructions
  • Collect and compile operational or experimental data and assist in the preparation of estimates, schedules, budgets, specifications and reports
  • Access and distribute product information using electronic means such as email, databases and the Internet
  • Electronics technicians usually work in offices, shops, residences or production departments, but may occasionally work outdoors in unsheltered environments. Some short-distance traveling may be required when installing or servicing equipment or going to construction sites. They often put in longer hours to meet with client's and accommodate their schedules.
  • The intense concentration required and the pressure of deadlines can be stressful. Also, they must do a considerable amount of reading and research to keep up-to-date with new technological developments. In some circumstances, electronics technicians may be exposed to chemical gasses, or work in severe climate conditions.

  Workplaces, Employers and Industries  
  • Electronics technicians are both private and public sector workers. They are usually employed by government departments and electrical utilities companies, construction companies, (tele) communications companies, hospitals, manufacturers of electrical and electronic equipment, engineering consulting firms and by a wide range of manufacturing, processing and transportation industries. They also work for companies using computers, biomedical equipment, integrated circuits, instrumentation and communications devices, energy, industrial automation industries, research and testing laboratories, and environmental monitoring companies.

  Long Term Career Potential  
Experienced electronics technicians may set up their own businesses or advance to supervisory and management positions. With additional training, electronics technicians can transfer their skills to related occupations such as computer service technician, electronics technologist, instrument technician or avionics technologist. There is also an increasing demand for technicians to work in technical sales and customer relations.

  Educational Paths  
The path to becoming an electronics technician typically requires completion of a one- or two-year college program in electrical or electronics engineering technology. Certification in electrical or electronics engineering technology or in a related field is available through associations of engineering/applied science technologists and technicians and may be required for some positions. A period of supervised work experience, usually two years, is required before certification.

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2014-15 Edition, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/
Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Employment Statistics, 2002, http://www.bls.gov/oes/2002/oes_nat.htm

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