Electronics

As an electronic technician, you could work behind the scenes at a rock concert. Or accelerating atoms in a physics lab. Or programming robots in a state-of-the-art factory. Wherever you find electronic components, someone has to design, analyze, install and fix them.

Companies need technicians to integrate and maintain their systems. Your ability to analyze problems and work in teams could propel you to success. Your job could lead you anywhere: entertainment, transportation, communications, healthcare, energy, research or manufacturing. It's hard to imagine an industry that doesn't rely on electronics.

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Essential Skills and Salary Information

Wages & Employment Trends

National

  • Median wages (2011): $27.36 hourly, $56,900 annual
  • Employment (2010): 151,000 employees
  • Projected growth (2010-2020): Little or no change (-2% to 2%)
  • Projected job openings (2010-2020): 31,800
  • Top industries (2010): Manufacturing, Professional, Scientific, and Technical Services
Location Pay Period 2011
10% 25% Median 75% 90%
United States Hourly $16.36 $21.04 $27.36 $33.03 $39.30
Yearly $34,000 $43,800 $56,900 $68,700 $81,700
Pennsylvania Hourly $15.60 $20.01 $27.29 $32.62 $36.68
Yearly $32,400 $41,600 $56,800 $67,800 $76,300
United States Employment Percent Change Job Openings 1
2010 2020
Electrical and Electronics Engineering Technicians 151,100 154,000 +2% 3,180
Pennsylvania Employment Percent Change Job Openings 1
2008 2018
Electrical and Electronics Engineering Technicians 7,550 7,000 -7% 150

1 Job Openings refers to the average annual job openings due to growth and net replacement.

Note: The data for the State Employment Trends and the National Employment Trends are not directly comparable. The projections period for state data is 2008-2018, while the projections period for national data is 2010-2020.

Information provided by CareerOneStop, sponsored by the U. S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration

Tasks

  • Read blueprints, wiring diagrams, schematic drawings, or engineering instructions for assembling electronics units, applying knowledge of electronic theory and components.
  • Test electronics units, using standard test equipment, and analyze results to evaluate performance and determine need for adjustment.
  • Perform preventative maintenance or calibration of equipment or systems.
  • Assemble, test, or maintain circuitry or electronic components, according to engineering instructions, technical manuals, or knowledge of electronics, using hand or power tools.
  • Adjust or replace defective or improperly functioning circuitry or electronics components, using hand tools or soldering iron.
  • Write reports or record data on testing techniques, laboratory equipment, or specifications to assist engineers.
  • Identify and resolve equipment malfunctions, working with manufacturers or field representatives as necessary to procure replacement parts.
  • Maintain system logs or manuals to document testing or operation of equipment.
  • Provide user applications or engineering support or recommendations for new or existing equipment with regard to installation, upgrades, or enhancements.
  • Provide customer support and education, working with users to identify needs, determine sources of problems, or to provide information on product use.

Tools used in this occupation

  • Electronic measuring probes — Current probes; Voltage probes
  • Power screwguns — Power screwdrivers
  • Signal generators — Function generators
  • Stripping tools — Wire strippers
  • Voltage or current meters — Digital voltmeters DVM; Voltage testers

Technology used in this occupation

  • Analytical or scientific software — Cadence PSpice; Mentor Graphics ModelSim; Root cause analysis software; The MathWorks MATLAB
  • Computer aided design CAD software — Cadence software; National Instruments Multisim
  • Data base user interface and query software — Database software; Microsoft Access
  • Development environment software — C; Microsoft Visual Basic; National Instruments LabVIEW; Verilog
  • Spreadsheet software — Microsoft Excel

Knowledge

  • Engineering and Technology — Knowledge of the practical application of engineering science and technology. This includes applying principles, techniques, procedures, and equipment to the design and production of various goods and services.
  • Computers and Electronics — Knowledge of circuit boards, processors, chips, electronic equipment, and computer hardware and software, including applications and programming.
  • Mechanical — Knowledge of machines and tools, including their designs, uses, repair, and maintenance.
  • Telecommunications — Knowledge of transmission, broadcasting, switching, control, and operation of telecommunications systems.
  • English Language — Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
  • Design — Knowledge of design techniques, tools, and principles involved in production of precision technical plans, blueprints, drawings, and models.
  • Mathematics — Knowledge of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, statistics, and their applications.

Skills

  • Complex Problem Solving — Identifying complex problems and reviewing related information to develop and evaluate options and implement solutions.
  • Reading Comprehension — Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.
  • Time Management — Managing one's own time and the time of others.
  • Active Listening — Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
  • Critical Thinking — Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
  • Speaking — Talking to others to convey information effectively.
  • Coordination — Adjusting actions in relation to others' actions.
  • Operations Analysis — Analyzing needs and product requirements to create a design.
  • Writing — Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.
  • Monitoring — Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.

Abilities

  • Problem Sensitivity — The ability to tell when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong. It does not involve solving the problem, only recognizing there is a problem.
  • Oral Comprehension — The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
  • Oral Expression — The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.
  • Written Comprehension — The ability to read and understand information and ideas presented in writing.
  • Deductive Reasoning — The ability to apply general rules to specific problems to produce answers that make sense.
  • Inductive Reasoning — The ability to combine pieces of information to form general rules or conclusions (includes finding a relationship among seemingly unrelated events).
  • Near Vision — The ability to see details at close range (within a few feet of the observer).
  • Information Ordering — The ability to arrange things or actions in a certain order or pattern according to a specific rule or set of rules (e.g., patterns of numbers, letters, words, pictures, mathematical operations).
  • Written Expression — The ability to communicate information and ideas in writing so others will understand.
  • Finger Dexterity — The ability to make precisely coordinated movements of the fingers of one or both hands to grasp, manipulate, or assemble very small objects.

Work Activities

  • Getting Information — Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
  • Repairing and Maintaining Electronic Equipment — Servicing, repairing, calibrating, regulating, fine-tuning, or testing machines, devices, and equipment that operate primarily on the basis of electrical or electronic (not mechanical) principles.
  • Making Decisions and Solving Problems — Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.
  • Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates — Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.
  • Interacting With Computers — Using computers and computer systems (including hardware and software) to program, write software, set up functions, enter data, or process information.
  • Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge — Keeping up-to-date technically and applying new knowledge to your job.
  • Documenting/Recording Information — Entering, transcribing, recording, storing, or maintaining information in written or electronic/magnetic form.
  • Organizing, Planning, and Prioritizing Work — Developing specific goals and plans to prioritize, organize, and accomplish your work.
  • Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships — Developing constructive and cooperative working relationships with others, and maintaining them over time.
  • Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events — Identifying information by categorizing, estimating, recognizing differences or similarities, and detecting changes in circumstances or events.

Interests

Interest code: RI

  • Realistic — Realistic occupations frequently involve work activities that include practical, hands-on problems and solutions. They often deal with plants, animals, and real-world materials like wood, tools, and machinery. Many of the occupations require working outside, and do not involve a lot of paperwork or working closely with others.
  • Investigative — Investigative occupations frequently involve working with ideas, and require an extensive amount of thinking. These occupations can involve searching for facts and figuring out problems mentally.

Work Styles

  • Dependability — Job requires being reliable, responsible, and dependable, and fulfilling obligations.
  • Cooperation — Job requires being pleasant with others on the job and displaying a good-natured, cooperative attitude.
  • Attention to Detail — Job requires being careful about detail and thorough in completing work tasks.
  • Initiative — Job requires a willingness to take on responsibilities and challenges.
  • Integrity — Job requires being honest and ethical.
  • Adaptability/Flexibility — Job requires being open to change (positive or negative) and to considerable variety in the workplace.
  • Analytical Thinking — Job requires analyzing information and using logic to address work-related issues and problems.
  • Persistence — Job requires persistence in the face of obstacles.
  • Independence — Job requires developing one's own ways of doing things, guiding oneself with little or no supervision, and depending on oneself to get things done.
  • Innovation — Job requires creativity and alternative thinking to develop new ideas for and answers to work-related problems.

Work Values

  • Support — Occupations that satisfy this work value offer supportive management that stands behind employees. Corresponding needs are Company Policies, Supervision: Human Relations and Supervision: Technical.
  • Relationships — Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to provide service to others and work with co-workers in a friendly non-competitive environment. Corresponding needs are Co-workers, Moral Values and Social Service.
  • Working Conditions — Occupations that satisfy this work value offer job security and good working conditions. Corresponding needs are Activity, Compensation, Independence, Security, Variety and Working Conditions.