Commercial and Industrial Equipment Repairers Overview
Overall, employment for commercial and industrial equipment repairers is expect to grow at a slower than average rate compared to other occupations. However, applicants with a certificate, associate degree or related experience will find the best opportunities. In fact, employers usually prefer an associate degree in electronics and many require a professional certification. Prospective commercial and industrial equipment repairers should be knowledgeable about electronics and electrical equipment.
Nature of the Work for Commercial and Industrial Equipment Repairers
Businesses rely on complex electronic equipment for many reasons including controls that monitor and direct factory floor production processes, transmitters that provide communication links, radar control systems to direct commercial air traffic and more. This complex electronic equipment is installed, repaired and maintained by commercial and industrial equipment repairers.
Commercial and industrial equipment repairers, also known as field technicians, must often visit factories or travel to repair equipment. They usually have particular areas or organizations for which they complete preventive maintenance regularly. Commercial and industrial equipment repairers are responsible for repairing equipment on site when it breaks down.
Commercial and industrial equipment repairers may deal with both electrical and electronic equipment, which are two distinct types of industrial equipment, but both may be in one piece of equipment. Electronic components control the device while electrical parts provide power.
Some industrial equipment has self-monitoring alerts that tell repairers when there is a malfunction. When the equipment breaks down, commercial and industrial equipment repairers go through a common list of troubleshooting such as clearly defective components or loose connections. When routine checks come up short, commercial and industrial equipment repairers may look to manufacturers’ specifications, which offer instructions for tracing problems. The more complex automated electronic control systems become, the more challenging a diagnosis can be. Often commercial and industrial equipment repairers must use software programs to test and diagnose equipment. They also use a variety of tools including pliers, screwdrivers, wrenches, and soldering irons to adjust and replace parts. In additions, signal generators provide test signals, oscilloscopes display signals graphically and multimeters measure voltage, current and resistance.
On the factory floor, commercial and industrial equipment repairers usually replace broken units, circuit boards for example, instead of fixing them to keep production running as repairing the components is a complex and often time-consuming process. Those defective units are then either returned to the manufacturer or a special shop for repair or discarded.
Commonly, commercial and industrial equipment repairers work in factories where they encounter heat, dirt, vibration and loud noise. They may also need to do heavy lifting and work in uncomfortable positions. Safety guidelines must be followed including wearing hardhats and protective goggles. Harnesses are required on elevated equipment and ladders to avoid falls. Before repair, they must lock off power to the unit to protect against electric shock and follow procedures to ensure others cannot start the equipment during the job.
Training, Other Qualifications and Advancement for Commercial and Industrial Equipment Repairers
Employers usually prefer commercial and industrial equipment repairers to have an associate degree in electronics from a technical school or a community college associate degree. That said, sometimes a high school diploma is sufficient. At the entry-level commercial and industrial equipment repairers often begin working alongside experienced technicians who can provide guidance. Later, after the necessary skills are built, they work independently.
Because commercial and industrial equipment repairers work with intricate electronic equipment components, they need both good eyesight and color perception. In the field, commercial and industrial equipment repairers often work closely with customers so a neat appearance and good communication skills are needed. Some may also need a driver’s license.
A professional certification is often required to work as commercial and industrial equipment repairers. Certifications are available through many organizations including the Electronics Technicians Association (ETA) with over 50 programs in a variety of specialties and the International Society of Certified Electronics Technicians focuses on a range of topics including appliance service and electronic systems. For these certifications, applicants must pass an exam and meet a list of prerequisites. Certified commercial and industrial equipment repairers are often more attractive to employers and have a greater chance for advancement.
With advanced training and experience commercial and industrial equipment repairers can become troubleshooters or specialists who help others diagnose challenging problems. With leadership skills commercial and industrial equipment repairers can become supervisors. And some workers even open up their own commercial and industrial equipment repair shops.
Top 10 Most Popular Electrical/Electronics Equipment Installation and Repair Schools
1. Mt San Antonio College (Walnut, California)
2. South Florida Institute of Technology (Miami, Florida)
3. Wichita Technical Institute, Wichita (Main) (Wichita, Kansas)
4. Lincoln College of Technology, Columbia (Columbia, Maryland)
5. New England Institute of Technology, East Greenwich (Warwick, Rhode Island)
6. Industrial Management Training Institute (Waterbury, Connecticut)
7. East Los Angeles College (Monterey Park, California)
8. Contra Costa College (San Pablo, California)
9. Harper College (Palatine, Illinois)
10. TESST College of Technology (Multiple Campus Locations)
Most Popular Online Electrical/Electronics Equipment Installation and Repair Schools
Employment and Job Outlook for Commercial and Industrial Equipment Repairers
Number of People in Profession
Changing Employment (2008-2018)
Employment is projected to grow more slowly than average (increase 3 - 6%).
Job Opportunities & Competition
Good or favorable job opportunities. Job openings compared with job seekers may be in rough balance.
There were about 78,000 commercial and industrial equipment repairers working, many of which worked for repair and maintenance establishments. While overall employment is expected to grow slower than the average occupation at a rate of only 4 percent, commercial and industrial equipment repairers applicants with an associate degree, related experience or a certification will find the best opportunities.
As companies cut costs, they look to more sophisticated equipment that can help them increase and improve automation. More commercial and industrial equipment repairers will be needed to install electronic controls, sensors, robots and other automated equipment, but the equipment’s improved reliability may slow the growth of installation workers. Either way, malfunctions that stop production are costly so commercial and industrial equipment repairers will be required to fix defective equipment.
Beyond employment growth, some jobs will arise as workers retire or transfer to other occupations.
Earnings and Salary for Commercial and Industrial Equipment Repairers
The median hourly wages for commercial and industrial equipment repairers was $24.39. The highest 10 percent earned $34.76, the lowest 10 percent earned $15.12 and the middle 50 percent earned between $19.34 and $29.53. The two largest industries employing commercial and industrial equipment repairers, the Federal Government and building equipment contractors had median hourly wages of $25.31 and $22.46 respectively.
Hourly Wage for Commercial and Industrial Equipment Repairers
On average, Commercial and Industrial Equipment Repairers earn $24.39 per hour.
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook