Electrical and Electronic Engineering Technicians


Quick Facts: Electrical and Electronics Engineering Technicians
2017 Median Pay $63,660 per year 
$30.60 per hour
Typical Entry-Level Education Associate's degree
Work Experience in a Related Occupation None
On-the-job Training None
Number of Jobs, 2016 137,000
Job Outlook, 2016-26 2% (Slower than average)
Employment Change, 2016-26 2,700

Join Nextstep Career Mentorship Programs in Electrical and Electronic Engineering technology with our partners:


Electrical and Electronic Engineering Technician Career Salary and Education Information

What Electrical and Electronic Engineering technicians Do

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.

chips-circuit-board-computer-4316.jpg

Electrical and Electronics Engineering technicians

Duties of electrical and electronics engineering technicians

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.


Work Environment for Electrical and Electronic Engineers

Electrical and electronics engineering technicians held about 137,000 jobs in 2016. The largest employers of electrical and electronics engineering technicians were as follows:

Semiconductor and other electronic component manufacturing: 14%

Engineering services: 12%

Federal government: 10%

Navigational, measuring, electromedical, and control instruments manufacturing: 7%

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.  


How to Become an Electrical or Electronic Engineering Technician

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.

Important 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 follow a logical sequence or specific set of rules to carry out electrical 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 use hand tools and soldering irons on small circuitry and electronic parts to create detailed electronic components by hand.

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

Writing skills. These technicians must write reports about 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

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.


salaries for Electrical and Electronic Engineering technicians

The median annual wage for electrical and electronics engineering technicians was $63,660 in May 2017. 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 $37,420, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $93,810.

 

In May 2017, the median annual wages for electrical and electronics engineering technicians in the top industries in which they worked were as follows:

Federal government: $68,200

Engineering services: $62,280

Merchant wholesalers, durable goods: $60,390

Semiconductor and other electronic component manufacturing: $59,680

Navigational, measuring, electromedical, and control instruments manufacturing: $57,790

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 for electrical and electronic engineering technicians

Employment of electrical and electronics engineering technicians is projected to grow 2 percent from 2016 to 2026, slower than the average for all occupations.

Many of these technicians work in traditional manufacturing industries, and employment of these technicians is projected to decline or grow slowly in many of them. 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.

Employment projections data for Electrical and Electronics Engineering Technicians, 2016-26

Employment, 2016: 137,000

Projected Employment, 2026: 139,800

Change, 2016-2026: +2%, +2,800


Careers Related to electrical and electronic engineering

 

Aircraft and Avionics Equipment Mechanics and Technicians

Aircraft and avionics equipment mechanics and technicians repair and perform scheduled maintenance on aircraft.

Electrical and Electronics Engineers

Electrical engineers design, develop, test, and supervise the manufacturing of electrical equipment, such as electric motors, radar and navigation systems, communications systems, and power generation equipment. Electronics engineers design and develop electronic equipment, including broadcast and communications systems, such as portable music players and Global Positioning System (GPS) devices.

Electrical and Electronics Installers and Repairers

Electrical and electronics installers and repairers install or repair a variety of electrical equipment in telecommunications, transportation, utilities, and other industries.

Electro-mechanical Technicians

Electro-mechanical technicians combine knowledge of mechanical technology with knowledge of electrical and electronic circuits. They operate, test, and maintain unmanned, automated, robotic, or electromechanical equipment.

Mechanical Engineering Technicians

Mechanical engineering technicians help mechanical engineers design, develop, test, and manufacture mechanical devices, including tools, engines, and machines. They may make sketches and rough layouts, record and analyze data, make calculations and estimates, and report their findings.


Citation:

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Electrical and Electronics Engineering Technicians, on the Internet at https://www.bls.gov/ooh/architecture-and-engineering/electrical-and-electronics-engineering-technicians.htm