Top Electronics Systems Technology Training
Electronic systems encompass a vast array of devices and equipment that are vital to modern society, from smartphones to automotive GPS systems to aerospace propulsion control. Electronics power tiny consumer devices as well as huge commercial and industrial systems. Electronic systems run the utilities that in turn produce electricity for the world's gadgets and machinery.
Individuals interested in studying electronics can find a multitude of different courses. Some schools offer a curriculum for electronic repair technicians with courses ranging from telecommunications to security systems. Another possible path is electronic engineering, with studies in electrical construction and manufacturing processes, and programs designed for both engineers and engineering technicians.
Aspiring electronic engineering professionals explore the design and development of products like computers, communications equipment, medical monitoring devices and navigational equipment.
Students looking at an engineering career trajectory can consider a wide variety of choices, with degree programs at different levels. Comprehensive electronics systems technology school rankings are not available at the time of this article’s publication, but Business Insider named the following institutions among world's best engineering schools in 2012. These types of programs typically include training in both or either electronics systems and electronics/electrical engineering.
1. California Institute of Technology
2. Massachusetts Institute of Technology
In the field of electronics system technology, the National Systems Contractors Association supports industry education through scholarships for students. The NSCA Education Foundation teamed up with Bosch in 2010, honoring students enrolled in these programs:
- Audio Arts and Acoustics -- Columbia College (Chicago)
- Automated Systems & Robotics -- Dunwoody College of Technology (Minneapolis)
Studies in electrical and electronic technology typically dive into different aspects of electricity: conductors, insulators, voltage, Ohm's law and more. Below are some of the courses available at electronic systems technician schools.
Electronics maintenance and repair
Courses can demonstrate how to install, repair and maintain various types of electrical and electronic equipment. Programs cover the basics of maintaining and repairing electronic systems in home and business environments, with courses such as industry safety standards, cabling, audio/video circuitry, computer networking, and fiber optics or telecommunications.
The wide range of available subjects spans consumer electronics, computer service, satellite systems, appliance installation or service, wireless communications, mobile electronics, security alarm service and entertainment systems.
Students can become familiar with tools used for various functions -- calibrating, installing, evaluating and repairing electronic equipment. Different programs focus on computer repair, communications technologies, automotive electronics or other areas. Students can seek certificates, associate and bachelor's degrees, or advanced programs at the master's or doctoral level. Both aspiring and practicing technicians may seek professional certification to showcase their competencies. Employment opportunities for electrical and electronics installers and repairers vary by specialty, but they should be strongest for candidates with a degree in electronics, certification or experience, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS.gov, 2012).
The BLS provides national 2011 salary information for electrical and electronics repairers of commercial and industrial equipment, such as transmitters, antennas and so on: the median annual wage was $52,320 in 2011, with the bottom 10 percent of workers earning $32,570 nationally and the top 10 percent earning $73,010 nationally in 2011 (BLS.gov, 2012).
Electrical or electronic engineering
Electrical engineering courses show students how to design, develop, test and manufacture electrical equipment such as wiring and lighting systems for buildings, automotive and aeronautic engines, power generating systems and transmission devices used by electric utilities. The engineering curriculum typically includes digital systems design, differential equations and electrical circuit theory, with lab and field experience. Programs may also offer classes for in-demand technologies like mobile device hardware.
Training may target technicians or engineers. Electrical and electronics engineers usually hold at least a degree, according to the BLS (BLS.gov, 2012), which forecasts a competitive hiring environment for these professionals nationally from 2010 to 2020. Electrical and electronic engineering technicians work with engineers on many phases of the product life cycle. These technicians usually need an associate degree, reports the BLS, which foresees competition between 2010 and 2020 in this manufacturing-related occupation (BLS.gov, 2012).
Electrical engineers saw median annual earnings of $85,920 nationally in the U.S. in 2011, with the lowest 10 percent earning $54,710 nationally and the top 10 percent earning $131,660 nationally (BLS.gov, 2012). Electronics engineers (except for those in the computer industry) earned a median annual wage of $91,500 nationally in 2011, with the lowest 10 percent earning $58,870 nationally and the top 10 percent earning $139,500 nationally (BLS.gov, 2012).
Learn more about electronics systems training
Prospective students can browse course descriptions for electronic systems technician schools and request more information on the programs. Schools should be accredited by organizations that are approved by the U.S. Department of Education or the Council for Higher Education Accreditation, for example, industry-focused associations like the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology.