Electronics Service Technicians


Education and Training Requirements

High School

If you are considering a career as an electronics service technician, you can begin preparing while still in high school by taking as many science and mathematics courses as possible. At minimum, you should take algebra, geometry, physics, and chemistry. Other useful classes are English, communications, applied mathematics, computer science, and shop classes. Shop classes that teach the basics of electricity and the use of hand tools and provide an introduction to electronic measurement devices and testing equipment are especially helpful. English and communications classes help provide you with the language skills you will need to read electronics texts and manuals comfortably and to express yourself well when making spoken and written proposals.

Postsecondary Training

Most service technicians have at least an associate's degree in electronics technology. These degrees can typically be obtained at either a technical institute or community college. Community colleges and technical schools offer both one- and two-year programs that provide more extensive training in electronics. One-year programs concentrate on electronics and related courses and result in certification in a specific area of study. Two-year programs include electronics courses and other more in-depth courses that result in an associate's degree. Most employers prefer to hire graduates of two-year programs.

In addition to electronic technology, community colleges and technical schools may offer other, similar programs such as electronics and electrical/electronics technology. These programs are usually broad-based electronics programs geared to electronics technicians in general, rather than specifically to service technicians.

Students enrolled in a one-year program may take classes such as electronic assembly techniques, electronic circuits, and technical mathematics. Students in two-year programs will study those topics, as well as physics, computer information systems, electronic drafting, microprocessors, digital electronics, applied electronics, electronic instruments and measurements, and communication electronics. Many students also take technical writing. Other classes may focus on specific types of repairs, such as servicing computer monitors or home theater systems.

Students who are unable to attend a vocational school or technical institute may wish to consider opportunities provided by the military. The military offers extensive training in electronics to members of the armed forces and provides valuable practical experience. Visit https://www.todaysmilitary.com/careers-benefits/explore-careers to learn more about training and careers in the military.  

In some cases, workers learn through an apprenticeship program, which combines on-the-job training with classroom instruction. This is not as common for electronics service technicians, however, as for other types of electronics technicians. Apprenticeships generally last four years.

Extensive on-the-job training is becoming much less common. Whereas shops formerly provided complete on-the-job instruction for untrained employees, they now usually limit such training to current employees—delivery drivers, antenna installers, and so forth—who show a basic understanding of electronics, an aptitude for careful work, and an interest in learning. Such opportunities usually occur in shops that place a higher value on practical experience than on theory. Even so, individuals in such programs will have to supplement their practical training with evening school or home study courses.

Other Education or Training

The American Society of Certified Engineering Technicians offers educational sessions at its annual conference that may be of interest to electronics service technicians. Equipment manufacturers may also offer short courses regarding the repair and regular maintenance of their products. 

Certification, Licensing, and Special Requirements

Certification or Licensing

Several certification designations are offered by the International Society of Certified Electronic Technicians and the Electronics Technicians Association International. Contact these organizations for more information. Applicants must meet experience requirements and pass an examination. Although certification is not required, many employers prefer to hire certified technicians. Workers who are certified typically earn higher salaries than workers who are not certified.

Some states require some electronics sales and service technicians to be licensed. Such licenses are obtained by passing tests in electronics and demonstrating proficiency with testing equipment. Prospective technicians should check with a training institution in their state to determine whether licensing is required. 

Experience, Skills, and Personality Traits

Any experience (volunteering, part-time jobs, personal exploration) with electronics will be useful for those who aspire to become an electronics service technician.

To be a successful electronics service technician, you should have mathematical aptitude, problem-solving ability, the ability to learn quickly, and the willingness to learn throughout your career. A solid mechanical aptitude and knowledge of practical electronics are also vital. You should be familiar with and able to use electrical hand tools and basic electronic and electrical testing equipment. Because precision and accuracy are often required in adjusting electronic equipment, you should be detail-oriented.

Technicians also need good interpersonal and communications skills since this type of work involves interacting with a wide variety of people. These technicians often work in customers' homes and should be able to meet and communicate clearly with strangers. The ability to extract useful information from customers about their equipment can be a great time-saver.

Because of the constantly changing technology of electronic devices, electronics service technicians must be willing to keep growing and learning in their trade if they are to be successful. This may require going back to school to learn new technologies and equipment or taking classes through professional associations.

Technicians who work in the field or as outside technicians need a driver's license and good driving record. In most cases, employers provide a vehicle to drive to customers' homes and businesses, but some shops may require a technician to provide his or her own vehicle.