Businesses and other organizations depend on complex electronic equipment for a variety of functions. Industrial controls automatically monitor and direct production processes on the factory floor. Transmitters and antennae provide communication links for many organizations. Electric power companies use electronic equipment to operate and control generating plants, substations, and monitoring equipment. The Federal Government uses radar and missile control systems to provide for the national defense and to direct commercial air traffic. These complex pieces of electronic equipment are installed, maintained, and repaired by electrical and electronics installers and repairers.
Electrical and electronics installers and repairers, transportation equipment install, adjust, or maintain mobile electronic communication equipment, including sound, sonar, security, navigation, and surveillance systems on trains, watercraft, or other mobile equipment. Electrical and electronics repairers, powerhouse, substation, and relay inspect, test, repair, or maintain electrical equipment in generating stations, substations, and in-service relays. These workers may be known as powerhouse electricians, relay technicians, or power transformer repairers. Electric motor, power tool, and related repairers—such as armature winders, generator mechanics, and electric golf cart repairers—specialize in repairing, maintaining, or installing electric motors, wiring, or switches.
Electronic equipment installers and repairers, motor vehicles have a significantly different job. They install, diagnose, and repair communication, sound, security, and navigation equipment in motor vehicles. Most installation work involves either new alarm or sound systems. New sound systems vary significantly in cost and complexity of installation. Replacing a head unit (radio) with a new computer disc (CD) player is quite simple, requiring the removal of a few screws and the connection of a few wires. Installing a new sound system with a subwoofer, amplifier, and fuses is far more complicated. The installer builds a fiberglass or wood box designed to hold the subwoofer and to fit inside the unique dimensions of the automobile. Installing sound-deadening material, which often is necessary with more powerful speakers, requires an installer to remove many parts of a car (for example, seats, carpeting, or interiors of doors), add sound-absorbing material in empty spaces, and reinstall the interior parts. The installer also runs new speaker and electrical cables. The new system may require additional fuses, a new electrical line to be run from the battery through a newly drilled hole in the firewall into the interior of the vehicle, or an additional or more powerful alternator or battery. Motor vehicle installers and repairers work with an increasingly complex range of electronic equipment, including DVD players, satellite navigation equipment, passive-security tracking systems, and active-security systems.
Job Outlook and Growth Potential:
Job opportunities should be best for applicants with a thorough knowledge of electrical equipment and electronics, as well as with repair experience. Overall employment of electrical and electronics installers and repairers is expected to grow more slowly than the average for all occupations over the 2002–12 period, but varies by occupational specialty. In addition to employment growth, many job openings should result from the need to replace workers who transfer to other occupations or leave the labor force.
Wages and Earnings Potential:
Median hourly earnings of electrical and electronics repairers, commercial and industrial equipment were $19.77 in 2002.
Median hourly earnings of electric motor, power tool, and related repairers were $15.49 in 2002. The middle 50 percent earned between $11.82 and $19.99.
Median hourly earnings of electrical and electronics repairers, powerhouse, substation, and relay were $24.85 in 2002.
Median hourly earnings of electronics installers and repairers, motor vehicles were $12.51 in 2002.
Median hourly earnings of electrical and electronics repairers, transportation equipment were $18.56 in 2002