Electrical or electronic engineering technicians are involved in developing, manufacturing, testing, installing and maintaining electrical and electronic equipment. They can work with either electrical systems and controls that generate and supply power, or electronic components for a wide range of devices, such as computers or transportation systems.
There can be an overlap between the two.
You could be:
working with engineers to help design, develop and test systems, components and equipment
installing and maintaining equipment which generates power, such as boilers and turbines
manufacturing the transformers and transmission systems which distribute electricity to homes, offices and factories
working with building systems such as heating, lighting, lifts, ventilation and refrigeration
installing and maintaining electronic systems in industry, including automated machinery
developing and testing the circuits and components which control the functions of electronic equipment, such as computers, medical apparatus and mobile phones
testing, repairing and ensuring efficient running of a wide range of electrical and electronic equipment
installing and connecting cables and components
using a range of specialist tools and equipment to diagnose faults and carry out maintenance.
The figures below are only a guide. Actual pay rates may vary, depending on:
where you work
the size of the company or organisation you work for
the demand for the job.
The starting salary for electrical or electronic engineering technicians is normally in the range £17,000 to £24,000 a year. With experience this can rise to around £35,000 a year.
Depending on your job you would work in a design laboratory, factory, workshop or onsite, perhaps in a power station.
Working conditions and hours will vary greatly depending on the industry in which you are employed.
You may work normal daytime hours or have to work shifts, including nights and weekends.
You may have to wear overalls and, in some cases, protective glasses, gloves and shoes.
The work may involve bending, lifting and working at heights.
You could enter through the Engineering Foundation Apprenticeship (FA), which you can start in S5 and study at school and college. Entry requirements vary between colleges, but you usually need 3 subjects at National 5 including English and Maths. Some colleges also ask for Physics.
You could enter through a Modern Apprenticeship. Requirements vary, but you usually need 3 subjects at National 4 or 5 including English, Maths and a science or technological subject.
You will have to take an aptitude test.
Or you could start by taking a qualification in electrical or electronic engineering or a similar subject. Relevant courses include a National Certificate (NC), National Qualification (NQ), Higher National Certificate (HNC) or Higher National Diploma (HND).
Entry requirements range from about 3 subjects at National 4 or 5 for NC and NQ courses to 1-2 Highers for HNC and HND courses.
You should normally have English, Maths and at least one science or technological subject at National 4 or 5 as a minimum.
You may be able to qualify by other training routes.
Certain colour vision conditions may affect entry to careers in this branch of engineering.
A driving licence is useful.
Electrical or electronic engineering technicians work in a wide variety of industries including manufacturing, renewable energy, aerospace, chemicals, transport and utilities as well as in local and central government and the health service.
Training through a Modern Apprenticeship combines on the job and off the job training and leads to a Scottish Vocational Qualification (SVQ) in electrical and electronics subjects at SCQF Level 6.
If you take a college course first, you would then take a job with an employer and do further training to gain SVQs.
After your apprenticeship or college course, and further training with your employer, you can work towards registering as Engineering Technician (EngTech) with the Engineering Council.
If you do not follow either of the above training routes, you may still be able to achieve EngTech by another approved route. You can check these alternative routes with the Engineering Council or with the relevant professional engineering institution.
You need to keep up to date with new developments throughout your working life.
With experience, you may be promoted to work as a supervisor and could perhaps move into management later.
You might move into marketing, sales or electrical design work.
Technicians usually work under the general supervision of professional electrical or electronic engineers. With further study and training, you could progress to become an electrical or electronic engineer at the higher levels of Incorporated Engineer (IEng) and Chartered Engineer (CEng).
UK engineering qualifications are respected throughout the world and so there may be opportunities to work abroad.
The Engineering Council sets and maintains the standards of the engineering profession in the UK. It does so through 35 professional engineering institutions which are Licensed Members of the Engineering Council.