People study electrical and electronics equipment installation and repair to learn to work as technicians. Students learn how to apply technical knowledge to install and maintain appliances and various kinds of systems. They study how circuits and microchips work. They learn how to troubleshoot and diagnose problems.
Electrical and electronic devices surround us everywhere we go. They entertain us. They bring us important information. They help us do our jobs. They simplify work for us at home. They keep us safe from crime. But sometimes they break down, and often an untrained person cannot install them, so repair technicians remain happily employed.
If you work as a site (or field) technician, you go to where the problem is. For example, you may install a burglar alarm system: You'll be placing sensors, wiring the central alarm box, and showing the purchaser how to program the system's access code, arm the system, and disarm it. If one of the parts breaks down later, you may need to return to the site to fix or replace it. You may play a similar role for a home appliance, such as a dishwasher. You may go into a factory to install or service a machine that heat-seals plastic bags as they move down a production line. Or you may work for a cable TV company, maintaining the equipment that captures signals from the satellite dish and transmits them to customers.
If you work as a bench technician, the devices or parts that need to be fixed come to you. You have the expertise, diagnostic equipment, and spare parts to do repairs that the site technician can't do. You may use a multimeter to test the current in various parts of the device. You may pull out a circuit board and replace it, or re-solder a faulty joint.
Almost all of these jobs involve at least a few weeks of on-the-job training. Manufacturers and service companies need to train you to service the specific products they sell, install, or maintain. But they generally prefer you to have some previous formal education or training in this field. You can get this in a technical institute or community college. Many offer certificate or degree programs in electronics technology or with a more specific name. The programs may take from six months to two years. The quality of training programs at proprietary schools varies greatly. You may want to look for programs approved by the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology. Usually it takes two years of full-time study beyond high school to earn an associate degree. You may find the degree useful if you intend to go into management later. Several colleges offer degree programs in this field.
You may also get training in the military. The armed forces use a lot of electronic equipment. It is vital for communicating, controlling weapons, navigating, and detecting mines, among other things. Your training with some military equipment may not apply directly to civilian work, but your knowledge of electronic theory and common tools will be valuable.