STRAC Institute
Formerly known as VAe
Call Us! 888-754-1383

Written by Tim Sawyer. 

Over the past six months, I have spent a significant amount of time researching the field of electronics. In addition to online research, I have interviewed tech executives, corporate recruiters, teachers, administrators, bestselling authors, and everyday people seeking careers in this rapidly growing industry. As an advocate for increasing awareness and attracting more young workers to the field, I’ve discovered there is a gap between the opportunity presented (high value) and the amount of knowledge (relatively low awareness) here. There certainly seems to be no shortage of interest, based on the questions I often receive, so I wanted to provide some answers to the most frequently asked questions related to the training, employment, and long-term career opportunities for Certified Electronics Technicians. Let’s start with the obvious:

What is the definition of a certified electronics technician?

An electronics technician is responsible for the maintenance of the technology and electrical equipment to ensure its performance with the highest quality standards. Electronic Technicians will help design, develop, test, manufacture, install, modify, repair, and improve existing electronic products, equipment, and controls. ET’s will also assist in developing new or updated electronic systems, components, or products. An electronics technician must have excellent attention to detail and decision-making skills, as well as the ability to multi-task in performing tasks accurately and efficiently to deliver the best services to clients.

In other words, a certified electronics technician must be mechanically proficient, a skilled technician, and a critical thinker. This unique combination of skills is a big part of the reason the modern certified electronics technician is in such high demand in the new economy.

What are some of the day-to-day tasks performed by a certified electronics technician?

  • Here is a partial list of the most common responsibilities appearing on a certified electronics technician resume:
  • Design basic circuitry and draft sketches for clarification of details and design documentation under engineers’ direction, using drafting instruments or computer-aided design (CAD) equipment.
  • Read blueprints, wiring diagrams, schematic drawings, or engineering instructions for assembling electronics units, applying knowledge of electronic theory and components.
  • Identify and resolve equipment malfunctions, working with manufacturers or field representatives as necessary to procure replacement parts.
  • Test electronics units, using standard test equipment, and analyze results to evaluate performance and determine need for adjustment.
  • Adjust or replace defective or improperly functioning circuitry or electronics components, using hand tools or soldering iron.
  • 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.
  • 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.

To some readers, this will look familiar. To those readers who are new to exploration in the field of electronics, you can see there is a wide variety of applications for electronics certifications. Again, a big reason for the appeal and high demand for newly minted certified technicians.

How does a technician get started?

There are a few ways for those new to the electronics field to begin the journey to becoming a certified electronics technician. There are self-paced online programs that provide modulated course curriculum with descriptions of the basic knowledge base required to enter the workplace. These programs come with a lower tuition structure as they are essentially do-it-yourself with the convenience of 100% distance-based learning, also convenient for those with full-time jobs. The cons of these types of programs are the lack of hands-on learning which most employers require for entry and intermediate level positions. In addition, these programs do not come with the necessary certifications to command higher levels of pay. The result is a longer on-the-job learning curve, lower entry wage, and fewer employment options. The idea of the dual-focused curriculum; textbook learning combined with hands-on training is considered the gold standard for new technicians.

Another pathway for new technicians is to incorporate the technical training required with a traditional two- or four-year degree. The value of this approach is unique to the student. In that, they must spend time and money taking courses unrelated to the field of electronics. If the student is unsure about becoming a full-time certified electronics technician looking to enter the workforce with the highest probability of immediate employment, this may be an option as the degree obtained may be applicable to other fields of study. Most associate and bachelor incorporated electronics programs are limited in the scope and number of certifications offered given the time required for other course work.

In terms of time, money, and employability, a hyper-focused dual-based curriculum is the most desirable to the employer as well as the most effective and efficient for the certified electronics technician candidate. In my work with STRAC Institute, I have witnessed this firsthand. For example, motivated students can obtain thirteen high-demand certifications in approximately eighteen weeks. Given the relatively small class sizes and low instructor-to-student ratio, learning curves are shortened with the opportunity for one-on-one instruction. In these settings, students tend to form strong bonds where they can leverage the strengths of other students to gain insight into becoming a proficient certified electronics technician. The group-think mentality fostered by the instructor creates a spirit of healthy competition and a constant source of motivation which students describe as a significant benefit in this learning environment.

The key takeaway is to make sure they offer reputable certifications that companies in the electronic industry recognize.

What type of companies hire certified electronics technicians?

The demand for CTEs is at an all-time high for companies of all sizes. According to the Department of Defense, there are currently 117,000 unfilled CTE positions. While all branches of the military are included in the list are industry leaders like Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, AT&T, Raytheon, Boeing, and Best Buy just to name a few. Needless to say, the companies included in this list tend to be fairly recession-proof with possibly the exception of those in the consumer electronics categories. Given the technology trends driving demand for all types of electronic components the industry outlook remains strong for the foreseeable future. As I mentioned in a previous article just on Indeed.com alone, there are currently more than 18,000 open electronics technicians’ positions listed on their site.

What is the salary range for a certified electronics technician?

According to Salary.com, the base salary range for certified electronics technicians in the Providence, RI market is $47,144 to $65,231 with an average of $54,560. One of the keys to determining factors in compensation is the level and number of certifications obtained prior to employment. Other factors include experience and geography. To put this in perspective, the average starting salary for a teacher and nurse in the same market is $45,000 and $63,000.

As I stated in my opening there remains a significant gap in the objective benefits offered by a career in electronics versus the amount of education, awareness, and attention paid to these opportunities specifically and other non-college-based career choices. As it is often stated “education starts at home” and we need to encourage early career exploration at all ages. STRAC Institute has helped thousands of veterans, recent graduates, and career changers transition into high paying rewarding careers in electronics. STRAC provides a unique dual-based curriculum that is recognized as the gold standard in electronics certification. STRAC’s graduates are highly sought after upon completion of the program. Click here to learn more or call (888)754-1383 to speak with one of the STRAC admission experts today.