Although employers prefer to hire applicants who have completed postsecondary training courses, many service technicians train informally on the job. Industry certification is becoming increasingly important.
Many service technicians become qualified through informal on-the-job training, working closely with experienced technicians. Trainees receive from a few weeks to a few months of guidance and often learn the basics of electronics diagnostics and repair before beginning to work independently.
Although informal on-the-job training remains common, employers generally prefer to hire workers who have attended postsecondary vocational, technical, or associate’s degree programs in electronics repair. These programs, which include hands-on and theoretical training in digital consumer electronics, often help reduce the amount of training new workers need.
Service technicians must stay familiar with rapidly changing technologies. Employers frequently require technicians to attend training sessions and read manuals and reports on new products to keep their knowledge and skills up to date.
Employers increasingly expect service technicians to be certified because certification shows competence. Technicians who gain employment through on-the-job training are often later required by their employer to become certified.
Various organizations offer certification in several different specializations and technologies. The Electronics Technicians Association International, for example, offers specialty credentials, including the Residential Electronics Systems Integrator certification. Also, the International Society of Certified Electronics Technicians offers certification in multimedia and electronic systems. To become certified, service technicians must meet several prerequisites and pass a comprehensive exam.
Customer-service skills. Because many service technicians work in customers’ homes, they must be friendly and polite. Also, they must often clearly explain how to operate home entertainment equipment to people with little or no technical knowledge.
Dexterity. Many service tasks, such as repairing small devices, connecting or attaching parts, and using handtools, require a steady hand and good hand–eye coordination.
Recordkeeping skills. Service technicians must keep accurate records of the number of hours worked, parts used, and bills collected. This is especially important for self-employed service technicians.
Technical skills. Service technicians often use sophisticated diagnostic equipment when working on complex electronic equipment. They must, therefore, be familiar with the components’ internal parts and be able to choose the appropriate tools.
Troubleshooting skills. As home entertainment equipment becomes more intricate, malfunctions become more difficult to identify. As a result, service technicians must be able to find and solve problems that are not immediately apparent.
In addition to the above qualities, service technicians must have excellent vision and a keen sense of sound to fine-tune the products they install or repair.
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2012-13 Edition