What Do Electrical and Electronics Engineering Technicians Do?
Electrical and electronics engineering technicians help design, develop, test, manufacture and repair electrical or electronic equipment. They work under the supervision of an electrical engineer, and electronics engineer or a computer hardware engineer.
Electrical engineering technicians install and maintain electrical control systems and components that provide power. Their work may also include electronics engineering work.
Electronics engineering technicians troubleshoot and test circuitry and electronic components. They also build prototypes from plans.
Both types of engineering technicians set up and run tests on equipment, systems and products. Items include computers, medical monitoring equipment, navigational tools, communications systems or other electronic systems. However, these technicians — also called research electricians or product engineering technicians — usually specialize in one area.
These skilled technicians are needed in many work settings, from manufacturing to power-generation to the federal government. Their tasks can vary, depending on the employer.
Electrical and electronics engineering technicians serve as important connectors between two different worlds. They translate engineering concepts into hands-on production work.
If this sounds like an area where you could excel, keep reading to learn more.
- Assemble electrical and electronic systems and prototypes
- Read blueprints, schematic drawings and instructions
- Design basic circuitry
- Draw diagrams and write specifications
- Perform equipment maintenance
- Repair electrical instruments and electronic systems
- Make coils, terminal boards and other parts using lathes, drills and other machine tools (electronics tech only)
- Test and analyze results
- Describe equipment failures or limitations accurately and in detail for engineers
- Write reports and record data
- Research equipment and component needs
Becoming an Electrical or Electronics Engineering Technician: FAQs
What is required to become an electrical or electronics engineering technician?
Most employers look for candidates who have earned an associate degree in electrical or electronics engineering technology. Other employers accept candidates who have equivalent experience learned in the military but may lack an associate degree.
Community colleges and technical schools offer certificate and degree programs that include courses on circuitry, programming languages, equipment testing, chemistry and physics.
Technical school offerings tend to be more hands-on. They often partner with local businesses to offer detailed, on-the-job training.
Certification for engineering technicians isn’t required, but it may open up new job opportunities and allow technicians to specialize. Several groups offer certification. For example, the National Institute for Certification in Engineering Technologies (NICET) offers certification in electrical power testing.
Continuing education is a must to keep up with the changing technology.
WANT TO KNOW MORE? Read How To Become an Electrical Engineering Technician
Electrical engineering vs. electronics engineering: What’s the difference?
Electrical and electronics engineering are related and, in some cases, overlapping fields, but they differ in some key areas.
Electrical engineering covers power transmission and distribution through equipment, whether that’s a power-generating system for an electrical grid, a factory or a vehicle.
Electronics engineering is a subset of electrical engineering that focuses on electronics, such as cellphones or medical equipment.
The two disciplines often overlap, which is why engineering technicians from both disciplines often work on the same team.
Where and when do these engineering technicians work?
Electrical and electronics engineering technicians work for engineering services companies, state or federal government agencies, manufacturers of semiconductors, medical equipment and navigational equipment.
They typically work full-time. Hours may follow a standard workweek or may include night shifts, depending on production schedules.
What skills and qualities would make someone a good fit for this job?
Successful engineering technicians tend to possess these traits:
- A keen eye for detail
- Strong communication skills, including writing
- Excel in a team atmosphere
- Excellent trouble-shooting skills
- Excel at math and science
- Strong mechanical skills