California Occupational Guides

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Detailed Guide for

Electrical and Electronic Engineering Technicians in California

May also be called: Electrical Technicians; Research Electricians; Electronics Technicians; Electrical Mechanical Technicians; Product Engineering Technicians; and Field Technicians

Specialties within this occupation include: Semiconductor Development Technicians; Calibration Laboratory Technicians; and Instrumentation Technicians

What Would I Do?

Electrical and Electronic Engineering Technicians perform work essential to the research and development, manufacture, modification, and maintenance of a wide range of products and equipment. These range from small household appliances like toasters to huge power generating plants.

Electrical Engineering Technicians install, maintain, and repair electric power distribution, generators, and motors. This branch of engineering mainly deals with the design of equipment that generates and controls electrical energy. However, electrical engineering frequently encompasses electronics engineering.

Electronic Engineering Technicians help in the development of circuits that use the electromagnetic qualities of electrical components. They lay out, build, test, trouble shoot, repair, and modify electronic components. Their use of electricity tends to be more for transmitting information and data.

Engineering Technicians often work with engineers. They set up and run a variety of tests on components, systems, and new products. Sometimes they devise new test procedures as well. Engineering Technicians may also write computer programs to test new systems. They also analyze and interpret test data; write technical reports; and develop graphs or charts to describe operating characteristics, failures, and limitations for the engineers to consider.

Engineering Technicians use their knowledge of electronic theory and circuitry, test procedures, mathematics, and physics. They work with tools such as voltmeters, ohmmeters, signal generators, ammeters, and oscilloscopes. They may sketch; make layouts; and build or modify circuits, prototypes, and production equipment. Other Engineering Technicians install and maintain equipment and systems which may involve developing tests for quality and investigating problems often down to the level of the individual components.

Technicians may work in many industries but usually specialize in one field.

Calibration or Instrumentation Technicians work on specialized equipment necessary for the research and manufacturing processes in a variety of fields. They test, calibrate, adjust, operate, and repair measuring and recording instruments, apparatus, and equipment. Some of the tools they use include flow meters, gas analyzers, mass balances, microscopes, digital multimeters, and oscilloscopes.

Semiconductor Development Technicians design or modify electronic circuits and recommend changes in circuitry or specifications. Circuits are used in communications, computers, control, and detection technology. Examples of products using circuitry are cell phones, circuit boards, and computer modems. Examples of components they might work with include capacitors, resistors, microprocessors, electron tubes, electronic connectors, memory chips, diodes, transistors, solar cells, and other optoelectronic devices.

Important Tasks and Related Skills

Each task below is matched to a sample skill required to carry out the task.

View the skill definitions
TaskSkill Used in this Task
Provide technical assistance and resolution when electrical or engineering problems are encountered before, during, and after construction.Troubleshooting
Set up and operate test equipment to evaluate performance of developmental parts, assemblies, or systems under simulated operating conditions, and record results.Deductive Reasoning
Assemble electrical and electronic systems and prototypes according to engineering data and knowledge of electrical principles, using hand tools and measuring instruments.Engineering and Technology
Install and maintain electrical control systems and solid state equipment.Mechanical
Modify electrical prototypes, parts, assemblies, and systems to correct functional deviations.Computers and Electronics
Test electronics units, using standard test equipment, and analyze results to evaluate performance and determine need for adjustment.Mathematics
Read blueprints, wiring diagrams, schematic drawings, and engineering instructions for assembling electronics units, applying knowledge of electronic theory and components.English Language
Perform preventative maintenance and calibration of equipment and systems.Equipment Maintenance
Identify and resolve equipment malfunctions, working with manufacturers and field representatives as necessary to procure replacement parts.Repairing
Source: U.S. Department of Labor Occupational Information Network (O*NET)

Working Conditions

Electrical and Electronic Engineering Technicians work in various locations depending upon the industry. Those in electronics manufacturing plants work in modern, air-conditioned buildings. Some may be exposed to hazardous materials that are used in their operations. Those working in the electrical industry may be susceptible to electric shock. Accidents can usually be avoided by observing industry operating procedures and safety practices. Due to the delicate nature of many electronic products, Engineering Technicians may perform much of their work in clean rooms in which the environment is carefully controlled. Some Engineering Technicians wear masks, gloves, and smocks or coveralls. Protective clothing, if required, is supplied by the employer. Those who work in generating plants or production lines may be exposed to high noise levels. Others may need to work off-site travelling to customer worksites.

Electrical and Electronic Engineering Technicians usually work a standard 40-hour week, unless a plant operates longer hours. They may work swing and night shifts at plants that operate around the clock. Occasionally, Engineering Technicians may work overtime hours to meet production deadlines.

Unionization is not widespread among the engineering field. Unions such as the International Federation of Professional and Technical Engineers, the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, and International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers represent Engineering Technicians. Also, the Society of Professional Engineering Employees in Aerospace represents employees of Boeing in California.

Will This Job Fit Me?

Electrical and Electronic Engineering Technician jobs will appeal to those with realistic interests who like practical, hands-on problems and solutions and paying close attention to detail. An interest in math and science is helpful. The ability to work independently and as a member of a team is important in this occupation.

What Wages and Benefits Can I Expect?

Wages

The median wage in 2016 for Electrical and Electronic Engineering Technicians in California is $66,165 annually, or $31.80 hourly. The median is the point at which half of the workers earn more and half earn less.

Change to Hourly Wages
Annual Wages for 2016Low
(25th percentile)
Median
(50th percentile)
High
(75th percentile)
California$51,871$66,165$80,896
Source: EDD/LMID Occupational Employment Statistics Survey, 2016 Wages do not reflect self-employment.
View Wages for All Areas

Benefits

Generally, benefits include medical, dental, vision, retirement, and life insurance plans, as well as holidays. Some employers offer profit sharing, stock purchase plans, and bonuses. Temporary agencies may offer fewer benefits.

What is the Job Outlook?

Employment of Engineering Technicians is expected to increase due to competition, forcing companies to improve and update manufacturing facilities and product designs. Some companies may relocate part of their development operations to facilities overseas to reduce costs and speed project completion. However, much of the work of Technicians requires on-site presence, so demand should continue to grow. Most growth is expected in temporary employment agencies.

Projections of Employment

In California, the number of Electrical and Electronic Engineering Technicians is expected to grow slower than average growth rate for all occupations. Jobs for Electrical and Electronic Engineering Technicians are expected to increase by 6.6 percent, or 1,500 jobs between 2014 and 2024.

Estimated Employment and Projected Growth
Electrical and Electronic Engineering Technicians
Geographic Area
(Estimated Year-Projected Year)
Estimated
Employment
Projected
Employment
Numeric
Change
Percent
Change
Additional Openings
Due to Net
Replacements
California
(2014-2024)
22,90024,4001,5006.65,600
Source: EDD/LMID Projections of Employment by Occupation
View Projected Growth for All Areas

Annual Job Openings

In California, an average of 150 new job openings per year is expected for Electrical and Electronic Engineering Technicians, plus an additional 560 job openings due to net replacement needs, resulting in a total of 710 job openings.

Estimated Average Annual Job Openings
Electrical and Electronic Engineering Technicians
Geographic Area
(Estimated Year-
Projected Year)
Jobs From GrowthJobs Due to
Net Replacements
Total Annual
Job Openings
California
(2014-2024)
150560710
Source: EDD/LMID Projections of Employment by Occupation
View Data for All Areas

How Do I Qualify?

Education, Training, and Other Requirements

Most employers expect applicants to have an associate degree in electrical or electronics engineering technologies or related degree typically offered by community colleges and technical institutes. Some companies accept equivalent experience instead of a degree, such as military training. Certain companies offer on-the-job training that may be combined with formal schooling. Graduates of programs accredited by the Technology Accreditation Commission of the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology are usually recognized as having achieved an acceptable level of competence.

Early Career Planning

Those interested in an Electrical and Electronics Engineering Technician career should take many courses in math and science. Because effective written and oral communications are important when working with customers and in a team setting, English courses are valuable. Computer technology, electronics, and shop classes are also helpful.

Work Study Programs

Electrical and electronic training programs are offered through Regional Occupational Programs (ROP). To find an ROP program near you, go to the California Association of Regional Occupational Centers and Programs Web site.

Continuing Education

Technicians will need a lifetime commitment to learning new information in their field. They will need to take additional courses and study technical manuals to stay current in the changing technology. Professional associations provide opportunities to learn through conferences, educational programs, and published literature.

Certification

While certification is usually not required by employers, it does provide a competitive edge for job seekers. The National Institute for Certification in Engineering Technologies provides a renewable three-year certification for electrical and mechanical systems engineering technology. The certification requires job-related experience, passing a written test, a supervisory performance evaluation, and a letter of recommendation. For more information, go to the U.S. Department of Labor's Career InfoNet Web site and scroll down to "Career Tools." Click on "Certification Finder" and follow the instructions to locate certification programs.

Where Can I Find Training?

There are two ways to search for training information:

  • Search by Field of Study to find what programs are available and what schools offer those programs. You may use keywords such as: Electric, Electronic, Technology, and Engineering.
  • Search by Training Provider to find schools by name, type of school, or location.

Contact the schools you are interested in to learn about the classes available, tuition and fees, and any prerequisite course work.

Where Would I Work?

Engineering Technicians who work in the aviation and marine fields work on communication, navigation, and radar equipment for boats/ships and airplanes. Other fields Engineering Technicians work include manufacturing, aerospace, railway, agricultural, and chemical industries, along with government, military, and public utilities. The largest industries employing Electrical and Electronic Engineering Technicians are as follows:

Industry TitlePercent of Total Employment for Occupation in California
Semiconductor and Electronic Components 12.8%
Architectural and Engineering Services 12.7%
Computers and Peripheral Equipment 9.7%
Electronic Instrument Manufacturing 8.4%
Scientific Research and Development Svc 7.5%
Source: EDD/LMID Staffing Patterns

Finding a Job

Direct application to employers remains one of the most effective job search methods. Electrical and Electronic Engineering Technicians can also contact their school placement center for job leads and apprenticeships. Newspapers, online classified ads, professional journals, and trade publications advertise job opportunities as well. Most private employers and the government list vacancies on their Web sites. Online job opening systems include JobCentral at www.jobcentral.com and CalJOBSSM at www.caljobs.ca.gov.

To find your nearest One-Stop Career Center, go to Service Locator. View the helpful job search tips for more resources. (requires Adobe Reader).

Yellow Page Headings

You can focus your local job search by checking employers listed online or in your local telephone directory. Below are some suggested headings where you might find employers of Electrical and Electronic Engineering Technicians.

  • Electric Contractors
  • Electric Service and Utility Providers
  • Electrical Power Systems Testing
  • Electronic Testing Equipment
  • Electronics Consulting and Research Development
  • Engineers, Communication
  • Engineers, Electrical
  • Engineers, Electronic

Find Possible Employers

To locate a list of employers in your area, go to "Find Employers" on the Labor Market Information Web site:

  • Select one of the top industries that employ the occupation. This will give you a list of employers in that industry in your area.
  • Click on "View Filter Selections" to limit your list to specific cities or employer size.
  • Click on an employer for the street address, telephone number, size of business, Web site, etc.
  • Contact the employer for possible employment.

Where Could This Job Lead?

Some Engineering Technicians eventually become supervisors, technical writers, sales representatives, and instructors. Others who continue their formal education to earn a bachelor’s degree or higher and pass required exams may advance to a wide range of professional engineering positions.

Related Occupations

Below is a list of occupations related to Electrical and Electronic Engineering Technicians with links to more information.

OccupationOccupational
Guide
Industry
Report
Occupational
Profile
Avionics TechniciansProfile
Electrical and Electronic Equipment AssemblersProfile
Electrical and Electronics DraftersProfile
Electrical and Electronics Repairers, Commercial and Industrial EquipmentProfile
ElectriciansGuide
Marine Engineers and Naval ArchitectsProfile
Mechanical DraftersProfile
Mechanical Engineering TechniciansProfile
Mechanical EngineersGuide
Model Makers, Metal and PlasticProfile

Other Sources

  • Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, Inc.
         www.ieee.org
  • American Society for Engineering Education
         www.asee.org
  • Electronics Technicians Association, International
         www.eta-i.org
  • Junior Engineering Technical Society (JETS)
         www.jets.org
  • American Society of Certified Engineering Technicians
         www.ascet.org

These links are provided for your convenience and do not constitute an endorsement by EDD.

For the Career Professional

The following codes are provided to assist counselors, job placement workers, or other career professionals.

SystemCode
SOC - Standard Occupational Classification17-3023
O*NET - Occupational Information Network
   Electronics Engineering Technicians17-3023.01
   Interest Codes (RIASEC)RIC
   Electrical Engineering Technicians17-3023.03
   Interest Codes (RIASEC)RIC