- Job opportunities will be best for applicants with a basic knowledge of electronics, as well as repair experience.
- Employment of repairers is expected to decline because it is often cheaper to replace equipment rather than pay for repairs.
Electronic home entertainment equipment repairers, also called service technicians, repair a variety of equipment, including televisions and radios; stereo components; video and audio disc players; video cameras; and videocassette recorders. They also repair home security systems, intercom equipment, and home theater equipment, consisting of large-screen televisions and sophisticated, surround-sound systems.
Customers usually bring small, portable equipment to repair shops for servicing. Repairers at these locations, known as bench technicians, are equipped with a full array of electronic tools and parts. When larger, less mobile equipment breaks down, customers may pay repairers to come to their homes. These repairers, known as field technicians, travel with a limited set of tools and parts, and attempt to complete the repair at the customers location. If the repair is complex, technicians may bring defective components back to the repair shop for a thorough diagnosis and repair.
When equipment breaks down, repairers check for common causes of trouble, such as dirty or defective components. Many repairs consist of simply cleaning and lubricating equipment. For example, cleaning the tape heads on a videocassette recorder will prevent tapes from sticking to the equipment. If routine checks do not locate the trouble, repairers may refer to schematics and manufacturers specifications that provide instruction on how to locate problems. Repairers use a variety of test equipment to diagnose and identify malfunctions. Multimeters measure the voltage and resistance of the power supply; color bar and dot generators provide on-screen test patterns; signal generators provide test signals; and oscilloscopes measure complex waveforms produced by electronic equipment. Repairers use handtools such as pliers, screwdrivers, soldering irons, and wrenches to replace faulty parts. They also make adjustments to equipment, such as focusing and converging the picture of a television set or balancing the audio on a surround-sound system.
Improved technologies have decreased the price of electronic home entertainment equipment. As a result, customers often replace broken equipment instead of repairing it.
Most repairers work in well-lighted electrical repair shops. Field technicians, however, spend much time traveling in service vehicles and working in customers residences.
Repairers may have to work in a variety of positions and carry heavy equipment. Although the work of repairers is comparatively safe, they must take precautions against minor burns and electric shock. As television monitors carry high voltage even when turned off, repairers need to discharge the voltage, before servicing such equipment.
Electronic home entertainment equipment repairers held about 36,000 jobs in 1998. Most repairers work in stores that sell and service electronic home entertainment products, or in electrical repair shops and service centers. About 1 in 5 electronic home entertainment equipment repairers was self-employed.
Employers prefer applicants who have basic knowledge and skill in electronics. Applicants should be familiar with schematics and have some hands-on experience repairing electronic equipment. Many applicants gain these skills at vocational training programs and community colleges. Some learn from working with electronic equipment as a hobby. Entry level repairers may work closely with more experienced technicians who provide technical guidance.
Field technicians work closely with customers and must have good communications skills and a neat appearance. Employers may also require that field technicians have a drivers license.
The International Society of Certified Electronics Technicians (ISCET) and the Electronics Technicians Association (ETA) administer certification programs for electronics technicians. Repairers may specialize in a variety of skill areas, including consumer electronics. To receive certification, repairers must pass qualifying exams corresponding to their level of training and experience. Both programs offer associate certifications to entry level repairers.
Experienced repairers with advanced training may become specialists or troubleshooters, who help other repairers diagnose difficult problems. Workers with leadership ability may become supervisors of other repairers. Some experienced workers open their own repair shops.
Employment of electronic home entertainment equipment repairers is expected to decline through 2008, due to decreased demand for repair work. Some job openings will occur, however, as repairers retire or gain higher paying jobs in other occupations requiring electronics experience. Opportunities will be best for applicants with hands-on experience and knowledge of electronics.
The need for repairers is declining because home entertainment equipment is less expensive than in the past. As technological developments have lowered equipment prices, the demand for repair services has decreased. When malfunctions do occur, it is often cheaper for consumers to replace equipment, rather than to pay for repairs.
Employment of repairers will continue to decline, despite the introduction of sophisticated equipment, such as digital televisions. As long as the price of such equipment remains high, purchasers will be willing to hire repairers when malfunctions occur. However, the need for repairers to maintain this costly equipment will not be great enough to offset the overall decline in demand.
Median hourly earnings of electronic home entertainment equipment repairers were $11.32 in 1998. The middle 50 percent earned between $8.90 and $14.59. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $6.82 and the highest 10 percent earned more than $18.59. Median hourly earnings in the industries employing the largest number of electronic home entertainment equipment repairers in 1997 are shown below:
|Electrical repair shops
|Radio, television, and computer stores
Other workers who repair and maintain electronic equipment include broadcast and sound technicians; computer, automated teller, and office machine repairers; electronics repairers, commercial and industrial
equipment; and telecommunications equipment mechanics, installers, and repairers.
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For information on careers and certification, contact:
- The International Society of Certified Electronics Technicians, 2708 West Berry St., Fort Worth, TX 76109.
- Electronics Technicians Association, 602 North Jackson, Greencastle, IN 46135. Internet: http://www.eta-sda.com