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Home Electronics Technician and Repair and Installation Careers, Jobs and Training

Home Electronics Technician and Repair Career and Job Highlights

  • Growth in employment is expected to rise more slowly than the average for all occupations because equipment replacement costs are cheaper than repair costs.
  • The best job opportunities are available to applicants with knowledge of electronics and hands-on experience with electronics.

Home Electronics Technician and Repair Career Overview

Service technicians are electronic home entertainment equipment installers and repairers, and make repairs on a number different products, among them televisions and radios, stereo components, video and audio disc players, video cameras, and video recorders. Additionally service technicians make repairs to home security systems, intercom equipment, satellite television dishes, and home theater systems, which are made up of large-screen televisions and complicated surround-sound audio components.

Smaller portable equipment and devices may be brought in to repair shops for service by customers. The workers here, called bench technicians, have on hand a wide variety of electronic tools and parts. Customers may request repairers make house calls when bigger, not so portable equipment breaks down. The workers that typically make house calls are known as field technicians, and carry with them a small set of tools and spare parts in order to make repairs on-site for the customer. When field technicians run into a complicated job or problem, they may return to the shop with the faulty part in order to identify the problem and finish the repair.

When failures occur, a repair will first look for ordinary causes of problems, like a dirty or faulty part. A lot of repairs are as simple as cleaning the part, then providing lubrication as needed. When brief examination of the equipment does not shed light on the problem, repairers must turn to the schematics and manufacturers’ specifications which inform them on how to find problems. There are many different forms of testing equipment available to repairers to aid them in finding the problem. One such example is that of multimeters, which can detect short circuits, bad capacitors, and blown fuses by measuring voltage, current, and resistance. More tools utilized to run diagnostic tools include color-bar and dot generators which return onscreen test patterns, signal generators provide test signals, and oscilloscopes and digital storage scopes are use to measure the complex waveforms generated by electronic equipment. A simple repair may include merely swapping out a bad capacitor, transistor, or fuse for a new one. Simple tools like pliers, screwdrivers, soldering irons, and wrenches are used to remove the old parts and install the new ones. Technicians can also adjust equipment by ensuring the audio system is balanced, or that the picture on the television is properly focused and converged optimally.

As technology has advanced, audio and video components have become increasingly smaller and digitized. The miniaturization of components has increased the difficulty of repairs, since the parts and their acceptable tolerances are smaller. For example, a digital video camera runs much faster than an analog video camera, at 900 revolutions per minute as compared to 1800 rpms. In installing a new part, good soldering is required since components are now attached directly to the face of the circuit boards, rather than being plugged in as in times past. The advancements in technology have driven the price down as well, such that many customers prefer replacing the failed devices rather than fixing them.

Home Electronics Technician and Repair Training and Job Qualifications

Applicants possessing good knowledge and skills in electronics are preferred by employers. They should have an understanding of the specifications as well as some experience in with repairs of electronic devices. These abilities can be obtained through vocational training programs and community colleges. Adequate training programs will include hands-on experience as well as theoretical education in digital consumer electronics. Repairers new to the industry may work under the guidance of a more experience technician.

Since field technicians may work on-site and directly with the customer, good communication skills and an appropriate appearance are important. Field technicians may be required to have a valid driver’s license by their employer.

Certification in this field can be achieved through organizations such as ACES International, the Consumer Electronics Association, the Electronics Technicians Association International, and the International Society of Certified Electronics Technicians. Some repairers may choose to focus their efforts on one field, like consumer electronics. A repairer needs to take and pass certain exams related to their degree of training and experience in order to achieve certification.

As a repairer progresses in training and gains valuable experience, he may become a specialists or troubleshooter, thereby aiding other workers in identifying complex problems. Those who have demonstrated leadership like qualities may be promoted as a supervisor of many repairers. Other repairers who have obtained invaluable experience might opt to open their repair business.

Home Electronics Technician and Repair Job and Employment Opportunities

Employment growth of electronic home entertainment equipment installers and repairers is projected rise more slowly than the average through 2012, on account of a decline in demand for repair work. Some job openings may occur due to employment growth, as well as resulting from the need to replace those who retire or who move to better paying jobs in other various occupations which require electronics experience. The best opportunities exist for those with a good understanding of electronics and real world experience.

Since the prices of home entertainment systems are on the decline, the demand for repairers is projected to grow slowly. The advancements made in technology have led to lower prices and more reliable products, creating a decrease in the demand for repair services. More often than not, it is less expensive to replace a broken device than it is to pay to have repaired.

With the introduction of more complicated equipment like DVDs, digital televisions, and digital camcorders employment growth will rise. If such equipment remains expensive, customers will turn to repair services when operation failures happen.

Historical Earnings Information

The median earnings of electronic home entertainment equipment installers and repairers on an hourly rate were $13.08 in 2002. The middle 50 percent hourly rates earned fell between $10.20 and $17.00. The bottom 10 percent made less than $8.18, and the top 10 percent pulled in more than $21.48. The median hourly earnings of electronic home entertainment equipment installers and repairers in the year 2002 were $12.73 in electronics and appliance stores and $11.99 in electronic and precision equipment repair and maintenance.