Do you love solving logic problems? Do you take things apart, just to see how they work? When an electronic appliance breaks, are you the one to fix it?
If so, you may be cut out for a career in electronic engineering technology.
Electronic engineer technicians work with engineers; they assist with the design, development, and manufacturing of all types of electronic equipment ranging from computers to communication technology to manufacturing gear.
There's a good deal of overlap between engineers and engineer technicians, as technicians tend to specialize in the same areas as electrical or electronic engineers.1
But there are differences, too, starting with their education: engineering programs tend to focus on theory, higher-level mathematics, and conceptual design. Engineering technology programs, however, focus more on the practical.
That difference extends to career paths, with engineers often pursuing conceptual design or R&D; engineering technicians often focus more on construction, sales, product testing, diagnosing problems, and repairing electronic equipment.2
Engineering technologists work with many types of technologies - from enormous power station generators to the tiniest of microchips' and everything in between!3 Whatever their area of expertise, technicians generally do similar work:
' Design and drafting: design and draft sketches of electronic circuitry
' Design verification: build prototypes to make sure designs will work as planned
' Manufacturing/Assembly: make parts using standard tools and put circuitry together
' Testing: test equipment and evaluate its efficiency
' Maintenance: perform regular upkeep and repair
' Documenting: keep accurate records of equipment testing, efficiency, and maintenance
To become an electronic engineer technician, you will likely need at least an associates degree in electronic technology.4 Look for an ABET (Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology) accredited program at a vocational school or community college near you.
This is generally a two-year commitment. Your course load will require the same skills you will need in the field: math, logic, problem-solving, observation, and writing.5
According to the BLS, electronic engineer technicians earn a median income of just under $60,000 per year. Top earners can make close to $90,000, while entry-level technicians may make around $35,000.6
Keep in mind employment and income cannot be guaranteed by any educational institution for students or graduates. Additionally, salary data cited in this article is based on median data provided by the United States Department of Labor, does not reflect starting or entry level salaries, and can vary widely based on geographic location.
Electronic engineering technicians have challenging and rewarding jobs. They are a crucial part of the team that develops and maintains many of the electronic items we use every day, as well as the electronic systems everyone depends on.
With your basic aptitude for logic and problem solving, plus a two-year investment in your education, you could begin work in this important, engaging, and forward-looking field.