Electrical and Electronic Engineering Technicians

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Summary

Electrical and electronic engineering technicians
Electrical and electronic engineering technicians assist engineers in designing and developing electronic equipment.
Quick Facts: Electrical and Electronic Engineering Technicians
2010 Median Pay $56,040 per year
$26.94 per hour
Entry-Level Education Associate’s degree
Work Experience in a Related Occupation None
On-the-job Training None
Number of Jobs, 2010 151,100
Job Outlook, 2010-20 2% (Little or no change)
Employment Change, 2010-20 2,900

What Electrical and Electronic Engineering Technicians Do

Electrical and electronic engineering technicians help 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, using measuring and diagnostic devices to adjust, test, and repair equipment.

Work Environment

Electrical and electronic engineering technicians work closely with electrical engineers. They work primarily in manufacturing settings, research and development laboratories, and utilities.

How to Become an Electrical or Electronic Engineering Technician

Electrical and electronic engineering technicians typically need an associate’s degree.

Pay

The median annual wage of electrical and electronic engineering technicians was $56,040 in May 2010.

Job Outlook

Employment of electrical and electronic engineering technicians is expected to 2 percent from 2010 to 2020, resulting in little or no change for this occupation. These technicians work in manufacturing industries, which are growing slowly. The federal government also employs a large number of electrical and electronic engineering technicians.

Similar Occupations

Compare the job duties, education, job growth, and pay of electrical and electronic engineering technicians with similar occupations.

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What Electrical and Electronic Engineering Technicians Do About this section

Electrical and electronic engineering technicians
Electrical and electronic engineering technicians are mostly employed in manufacturing settings or in research and development.

Electrical and electronic engineering technicians help 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, using measuring and diagnostic devices to adjust, test, and repair equipment.

Duties

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 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
  • Install and maintain electrical control systems and equipment
  • Set up test equipment and evaluate the performance of developmental parts, assemblies, or systems under simulated conditions
  • Analyze test information to resolve design-related problems
  • Modify electrical prototypes, parts, and assemblies to correct problems

Electronic engineering technicians typically do the following:

  • Under engineers' direction, design basic circuitry and draft sketches to clarify details of design documentation
  • Build prototypes from rough sketches or plans
  • Put together, test, and maintain circuitry or electronic components according to engineering instructions, technical manuals, and knowledge of electronics
  • Adjust and replace defective circuitry and electronics components
  • Make parts, such as coils and terminal boards, by using bench lathes, drills, or other machine tools
  • Identify and resolve equipment malfunctions, working with manufacturers to get replacement parts
  • Do preventative maintenance and calibration of equipment and systems
  • Read blueprints, wiring diagrams, schematic drawings, and engineering instructions for putting together electronics units
  • As assistants to engineers, write reports and record data on testing techniques, laboratory equipment, and specifications

Work Environment About this section

Electrical and electronic engineering technicians
Electrical engineering technicians build, calibrate, and repair electrical instruments or testing equipment.

Electrical and electronic engineering technicians held about 151,100 jobs in 2010. The following industries employed the most electrical and electronic engineering technicians in 2010: 

Architectural, engineering, and related services11%
Semiconductor and other electronic component manufacturing10
Navigational, measuring, electromedical, and
control instruments manufacturing
7
Federal government, excluding postal service6
Electric power generation, transmission and distribution5

Electrical and electronic engineering technicians work closely with electrical engineers. They work in offices, laboratories, and factories because their job tasks involve both engineering theory and assembly line production.

Electrical and electronic engineering technicians may be exposed to hazards from equipment or toxic materials, but incidents are rare if proper procedures are followed.

How to Become an Electrical or Electronic Engineering Technician About this section

Electrical and electronic engineering technicians
Electrical and electronics engineering technicians typically need an associate’s degree.

Electrical and electronic engineering technicians typically need an associate’s degree.

Education

Programs for electrical and electronic engineering technicians usually lead to an associate’s degree in electrical or electronic 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.

Prospective electrical and electronic engineering technicians usually take courses in C++ programming, physics, microprocessors, and circuitry. The Technology Accreditation Commission of ABET (formerly the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology) accredits programs that include at least college algebra, trigonometry, and basic science courses.

There are also bachelor’s degree programs in electrical engineering technology. Graduates of these programs work as electrical engineering technologists, rather than technicians. In some cases, they are considered applied electrical or electronic engineers because they put electrical engineering concepts to use in their work. Earning an associate’s degree in electronic engineering technology eases entry into a bachelor’s degree program.

Important Qualities

Deductive-reasoning skills. Electrical and electronic engineering technicians must isolate and then identify problems for the engineering staff to work on. They need good reasoning skills to figure out what the problems are to avoid losing time and money to fix them.

Information-ordering skills. To carry out engineers’ designs, inspect designs for quality control, and put together prototypes, technicians must be able to read instructions and to follow a logical sequence or specific set of rules.

Manual dexterity. Electronic engineering technicians in particular must be able to use handtools and soldering irons on small circuitry and electronic parts to create detailed electronic components by hand.

Math skills. Electrical and electronic engineering technicians use mathematics for analysis, design, and troubleshooting in their work.

Monitoring skills. Electrical engineering technicians sometimes visit a construction site to make sure that electrical engineers’ designs are being carried out correctly. They are responsible for evaluating the project onsite and reporting problems to the engineer.

Problem-solving skills. Electrical and electronic engineering technicians create what engineers have designed and often test the designs to make sure that they work. Technicians help to resolve any problems that come up in carrying out the engineers’ designs.

Writing skills.  These 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.

Pay About this section

Electrical and Electronic Engineering Technicians

Median annual wages, May 2010

Electrical and Electronics Engineering Technicians

$56,040

Engineering Technicians, Except Drafters

$51,930

Total, All Occupations

$33,840

 

The median annual wage of electrical and electronic engineering technicians was $56,040 in May 2010. 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 $34,070, and the top 10 percent earned more than $81,290.

Median annual wages in the industries employing the largest numbers of electrical and electronic engineering technicians in May 2010 were as follows:

Federal government, excluding postal service$75,220
Electric power generation, transmission and distribution62,840
Architectural, engineering, and related services54,120
Semiconductor and other electronic
component manufacturing
51,060
Navigational, measuring, electromedical, and
control instruments manufacturing
49,930

Job Outlook About this section

Electrical and Electronic Engineering Technicians

Percent change in employment, projected 2010-20

Total, All Occupations

14%

Engineering Technicians, Except Drafters

5%

Electrical and Electronics Engineering Technicians

2%

 

Employment of electrical and electronic engineering technicians is expected to grow 2 percent from 2010 to 2020, resulting in little or no change for this occupation.

Some of these technicians work in traditional manufacturing industries, many of which are growing slowly or declining. However, employment growth for electrical and electronic engineering technicians will likely occur in engineering services firms as companies seek to contract out these services as a way to lower costs. They also work closely with electrical and electronics and computer hardware engineers in the computer systems design services industry. Demand is expected to be high for technicians in this industry as computer and electronics systems become more integrated. For example, computer, cellular phone, and global positioning systems (GPS) technologies are being included in automobiles and various portable and household electronics systems.

Employment projections data for electrical and electronic engineering technicians, 2010-20
Occupational Title SOC Code Employment, 2010 Projected Employment, 2020 Change, 2010-20 Employment by Industry
Percent Numeric

SOURCE: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Employment Projections program

Electrical and Electronics Engineering Technicians

17-3023 151,100 154,000 2 2,900 [XLS]

Similar Occupations About this section

This table shows a list of occupations with job duties that are similar to those of electrical and electronic engineering technicians.

Occupation Job Duties ENTRY-LEVEL EDUCATION Help 2010 MEDIAN PAY Help
Electrical and electronics engineers

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, such as broadcast and communications systems—from portable music players to global positioning systems (GPS).

Bachelor’s degree $87,180
Electrical and electronics installers and repairers

Electrical and Electronics Installers and Repairers

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

Postsecondary non-degree award $49,170
Electro-mechanical technicians

Electro-mechanical Technicians

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.

Associate’s degree $49,550
Mechanical engineering technicians

Mechanical Engineering Technicians

Mechanical engineering technicians help mechanical engineers design, develop, test, and manufacture industrial machinery, consumer products, and other equipment. They may make sketches and rough layouts, record and analyze data, make calculations and estimates, and report their findings.

Associate’s degree $50,110
Suggested citation:

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2012-13 Edition, Electrical and Electronic Engineering Technicians,
on the Internet at http://www.bls.gov/ooh/architecture-and-engineering/electrical-and-electronic-engineering-technicians.htm (visited November 26, 2014).

Publish Date: Thursday, March 29, 2012