Electronics Service Technicians


Employment Prospects


Approximately 31,200 electronic home entertainment equipment installers and repairers are employed in the United States. Technicians who specialize in servicing home entertainment equipment usually work in electronics service centers, in stores that sell home entertainment equipment, or in electronics repair shops. There are several medium-sized to large chains of electronics superstores scattered throughout the United States. Best Buy is one of the largest. Most of these types of chain stores employ technicians in their service departments. There are also many small, independently owned electronics repair shops, found in virtually every city. The best way to locate these small independent shops is to do an Internet search or check the area's Yellow Pages under Electronic Equipment, Electronics Service, or Electronics Repair.

Starting Out

Most people enter this field after completing some type of formal training program in a technical school or community college. Employers generally prefer to hire graduates of two-year programs in electronics or a related field. Students who are enrolled in a community college or technical institute may learn about job openings through their schools' job placement services. They may also find out about job openings or prospective employers through contacts they make during training and through teachers and school administrators.

Applicants may also apply directly to a company that hires electronics service technicians, such as a service department of a large retail firm, a specialty shop that sells and repairs electronic equipment, or a shop that specializes in electronics repairs. Most companies provide some sort of on-the-job training, either through classes in repair techniques or by assigning new workers to work with an experienced worker who trains them and supervises their work. In some cases, especially for workers who have not completed technical training, new workers require a year of shop supervision before they are able to work independently without the direction of a more experienced electronics technician.

Advancement Prospects

Advancement in this field depends to a large extent on the size and type of the technician's place of employment. Early advancement usually comes in the form of increased salary and less supervision in recognition of the technician's increasing skill. For a technician who works in a small shop, the only other advancement possibility may be going into business on his or her own, if the community can support another retail store or repair shop.

Persons interested in working for themselves often open up their own shops or work as freelance technicians. Freelance technicians usually operate out of their homes and perform the same services as other technicians.

In a larger store or shop, the electronics technician usually advances to a supervisory position, such as crew chief, sales supervisor, senior technician, or service or sales manager. This may involve not only scheduling and assigning work but also training new employees and arranging refresher courses and factory training in new products for experienced electronics technicians.

Technicians with strong theoretical training in electronics may go on to become technical school instructors. They may also become service representatives for manufacturers. Those employed in stores or shops that handle a wide variety of electronics sales and service work may become involved in working on more complicated equipment, from radio-frequency heating equipment to electron microscopes and computer systems. This expertise may also lead to working with engineers in designing and testing new electronic equipment.

Because the work that electronics service technicians do is similar to that done by industrial electronics technicians, some technicians transfer to the industrial electronics segment. Technicians may also become electrical or electronics engineers through additional education resulting in a bachelor of science degree in engineering.

Tips for Entry

Visit http://www.eta-i.org/career_resource_center.html for job listings.

Visit the Web sites of potential employers such as Best Buy (http://www.bestbuy-jobs.com) to learn more about job opportunities.

Talk to electronics service technicians about their jobs. Ask them for tips on breaking into the field.