Explore top technician careers, their salary expectations, and education requirements. See how you can prepare for computer or medical technician careers.
If you are interested in science and mathematics but do not have the time or the funding to invest in a bachelor’s or master’s degree, a technician career may be for you. Most technician careers require only an associate’s degree or a certificate from a career training school. At technician school, you are trained in the technical aspects of the job with a general knowledge of theory.
Explore programs that offer bachelor’s degrees and master’s degrees if you want a more general education in addition to learning a trade. Of course, the advantage of choosing to pursue a bachelor’s or master’s is that it will increase your earning potential and make it easier to advance at your job. It may also be possible to use your associate’s degree in combination with work-related experience to advance in your technician career.
Technician schools mix classroom learning with hands-on training so that students can easily transition to an entry-level position after graduation. Courses focus on mathematics, science, and engineering, so an interest in these subjects is the key to getting started in this career. A practical understanding of the general knowledge related to your field is learned at technician schools.
Computer Systems Technology Careers
Computer systems technology schools prepare students to assist professionals with troubleshooting and repair for hardware and software. Within this field, you can go on to become a computer systems analyst or, with the right amount of training, a computer and information systems manager.
Related computer technician careers include the following:
- Computer hardware technician
- Computer software technician
- Drafting and design technician
- Computer engineering technician
Computer Systems Technology Salary
As a computer support specialist, the median 2020 pay was $55,510, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). PayScale reports that the median annual salary for computer systems technologists was approximately $56,500, as of February 2022.
Computer Systems Technology Education Requirements
The most popular types of technician schools for computer systems technology majors are one- or two-year computer technician certificate programs or an associate’s degree program. Students who wish to compete for the more technologically advanced computer technician careers and desire to receive a general education should pursue a bachelor’s degree in computer systems technology.
Engineering Technology Careers
Engineering technicians often work under the supervision of engineers and are specifically focused on the application of the project. With a strong background in science and mathematics, engineering technicians are hired to solve technical problems in development, sales, inspection, manufacturing, maintenance, and construction.
Career options for engineering technologist:
- Civil engineering technician
- Electrical engineering technician
- Electro-mechanical engineering technician
- Environmental engineering technician
- Industrial engineering technician
- Mechanical engineering technician
Engineering Technology Salary
The expected salary for engineering technologists varies depending on the area of focus. Here are the median annual salaries as of 2020, according to BLS:
- Civil engineering: $54,080
- Electrical engineering: $67,550
- Electro-mechanical engineering: $59,800
- Environmental engineering: $51,630
- Industrial engineering: $57,320
- Mechanical engineering: $58,230
Engineering Technology Education Requirements
Most employers prefer to hire applicants who hold a certificate or associate’s degree in engineering technology earned at a two-year career training program, community college, trade, or vocational school. The advantages of earning your associate’s degree in engineering technology at an accredited community college include more training in theory and courses in general education.
Laboratory Technician Careers
Laboratory technicians work in clinical and medical settings to detect, identify and diagnose disease and illnesses. As an applicant, you must have a solid background in science and be comfortable with bodily fluids, as you will mostly be working with blood and saliva samples.
Career options for laboratory technologists:
- Chemical technician
- Industrial radiologic technician
- Nuclear power technician
- Physical science technician
- Clinical laboratory science technician
- Cytogenetics/genetics/clinical genetics technician
- Cytotechnology technician
- Hematology technician
Laboratory Technician Salary
As a laboratory technician or technologist, you can expect to earn a competitive salary. According to BLS, the median pay in 2020 for these roles was $54,180.
Laboratory Technician Education Requirements
You may choose to attend a one- or two-year laboratory technician certificate program, however, employers favor laboratory technician job applicants who have completed the two-year program. The curriculum for a laboratory technician associate’s degree and a bachelor’s degree is almost identical, except in the bachelor’s program you also take core curriculum classes.
Clinical Medical Lab Technician or Phlebotomy Careers
As a phlebotomist, you’ll work primarily in a medical center, hospital, blood donor center, or medical laboratory. Phlebotomists and other medical technician careers are trained to draw blood for a variety of purposes, from transfusions to blood donations.
Clinical Medical Lab Technician Salary
BLS reports that the median pay in 2020 for phlebotomists, or clinical medical lab technician careers, was $36,320. The number of jobs is expected to increase by 22% between 2020 and 2030.
Clinical Medical Lab Technician Education Requirements
The most common degree to train as a phlebotomist or for related medical technician careers is a postsecondary nondegree award. You can enroll in one of these programs and complete it in one year or less. You typically must be certified by a reputable organization to qualify for lab technician careers.
Ultrasound Technician Careers
An ultrasound technician is also known as a medical sonographer. Medical sonographer technologists and technicians are trained in using ultrasound equipment and other special imaging equipment to conduct tests and create images.
Most of these positions are in hospitals, although you can also work in a physician’s office. The same training can prepare you for a career as an ultrasound technician or cardiovascular technologist.
Ultrasound Technician Salary
As of 2020, the median salary for medical sonographers and cardiovascular technologists and technicians was $70,380, according to BLS. The number of jobs in this field is expected to increase by 14% between 2020 and 2030, with a total of 19,100 new jobs added, according to BLS.
Ultrasound Technician Education Requirements
The most common minimum education required for ultrasound technicians is an associate’s degree in a relevant field. You can also enroll in a one-year certificate program, particularly if you’ve already earned an associate’s degree or higher.
For more career opportunities, consider enrolling in a bachelor’s degree program in sonography or in cardiovascular and vascular technology. These programs cover medical terminology, anatomy, applied sciences, and related fields.
Pharmacy Technician Careers
Work with customers and pharmacists to collect information, measure medication, label prescriptions, and coordinate care. Most pharmacy technician careers work closely with a pharmacist in a hospital, pharmacy, or another setting.
Pharmacy Technician Salary
Pharmacy technicians earned median pay of $35,100 per year in 2020, according to BLS. This role is expected to grow by 4% between 2020 and 2030, which is slightly slower than the national average.
Pharmacy Technician Education Requirements
Earn a high school diploma and enroll in a certificate program to prepare for a career as a pharmacy technician. This position typically doesn’t require an associate’s degree, but a degree can be helpful to improve your application and take the next step in your training.
X-Ray Technician Careers
Also known as radiologic technicians, x-ray technicians are trained in using advanced scanning and diagnostic equipment. X-ray technician careers require you to maintain equipment, keep careful records of all examinations, and prepare patients for radiologic procedures.
Related x-ray technician careers include the following:
- Radiologic technician
- Computed tomography (CT) technician
- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) technician
- Mammography technician
X-Ray Technician Salary
Radiologic technicians earned median pay of $63,710 in 2020, according to BLS. With job growth of 9% between 2020 and 2030, this career is expected to grow about as fast as the national average.
X-Ray Technician Education Requirements
Most x-ray technicians and related positions must have an associate’s degree from an accredited program and a license or certification. Some positions require five or fewer years of experience in a related healthcare technician role.
Consider enrolling in a bachelor’s degree program in healthcare, science technologies, or a related field. These programs cover courses in radiation physics and protection, pathology, anatomy, image evaluation, patient care, and other helpful topics.