The field of industrial electronics employs people who have a broad understanding of electricity and electronic systems. To enter this field, you can study at multiple educational levels, which can lead to a variety of professional titles in various specialties. Read on to learn if work in electronic repair, installation or engineering is right for you.
The field of industrial electronics can include work in a variety of different fields, including transportation, communication, security, electronic control systems, telecommunication, industrial instrumentation, aerospace technology or medical technology. Working in these various fields, you can design, install, repair and maintain numerous electronic devices and systems.
Installation, maintenance and repair of new or existing electronic systems can be performed by certified electronics technicians, industrial electricians or electronics repairers. You can also work in avionics repair. To work in these fields, you will typically need a broad knowledge of electronics, including advanced electronic theory and the background to modify, adjust, repair and overhaul electronic industrial and production equipment and systems. The aviation industry requires additional credentials, such as Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) certification.
Working as an industrial engineer, electronics engineer or an electronic engineering technician, you can learn to test and analyze electronic systems and electrical parts. In this field, you can determine how to efficiently produce electronic products or systems. As an electronic engineer, you could utilize mathematics to develop new systems based on electrical and electronic components. As an electronic engineering technician, you could assist engineers with the development of new systems by applying analytical, evaluation and diagnostic skills to the task.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that job opportunities for electrical and electronics installers and repairers were expected to grow five percent from 2008-2018 (www.bls.gov). Electrical and electronics repairers of commercial and industrial equipment earned median annual salaries of $51,820 as of May 2010, according to the BLS. Those working with transportation equipment earned a median annual salary of $48,410, while those working with powerhouses, substations and relays earned a median annual salary of $65,230. Employment for electrical and electronics engineering technicians was expected to decrease by two percent from 2008-2018, and these professionals earned a median annual salary of $56,040 in 2010. Electrical and electronic engineers were only expected to see a one percent increase in job growth from 2008-2018 and earned a median annual salary of $90,170 in 2010, according to the BLS.
The educational requirements for industrial electronics positions vary significantly between career titles. Licensing and certification may also play an important role in obtaining a position. Although postsecondary education may not be strictly required for installer, repairer and technician positions, associate's degree programs may be preferred by employers and can help you gain the training required for these jobs. To become an engineer, you must typically hold at least a bachelor's degree.
Technical schools, community colleges and universities offer associate's degree programs in electronics technology and electronics engineering technology, as well as online programs in industrial engineering technology. Industrial electronics technology programs can provide coursework in physics, mathematics, communication, electrical circuitry, microprocessors and troubleshooting.
Bachelor's degree programs can take your education a step further by offering focused coursework through programs in electronic engineering or avionics. Pursuing a career in the aviation industry may require additional credentialing, depending on the employer. Aviation mechanics are typically required to possess FAA certification, which includes employees in the avionics industry. Electronic engineering programs provide a foundation in robotics engineering and automated systems. For advanced study, you may also choose to enroll in a master's degree in electrical engineering.