Field service technicians install, maintain and repair a variety of machinery and equipment. They usually go out to business premises or people's homes. They specialise in one particular area, such as home or office appliances and equipment, medical equipment or industrial machinery.
Depending on the type of equipment you specialise in, you could be:
visiting homes or businesses to deal with emergency repairs or routine maintenance
using testing equipment to diagnose faults
doing repairs on site or taking items to the workshop for repair and arranging for replacement goods if necessary
installing, servicing and repairing a range of office equipment such as computers, scanners, photocopiers and vending machines
installing, servicing and repairing a variety of factory machinery and equipment
showing clients how to use new equipment
recycling and safely disposing of older appliances
keeping detailed records of jobs attended and problems resolved.
The figures below are only a guide. Actual salaries 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 qualified Modern Apprentice may start on the National Minimum Wage (NMW). At present the apprentice rate, for those aged under 19 or aged 19 or over and in the first year of their apprenticeship, is £4.81 an hour (1 April 2022). Some employers may pay their apprentices more.
The starting salary for qualified service technicians is normally around £20,000 to £24,000 a year. With experience this can rise to £30,000 or more a year. If you work on specialist equipment, such as medical or scientific (see Clinical Technologist job profile), you can earn up to £40,000 a year. You may earn extra through bonuses and shift allowances.
You would spend a lot of time travelling between business premises or customers’ homes. You also have to transport tools and materials.
You may spend some time in workshops equipped with benches and specialist machines and tools.
You may have to work in cramped or awkward positions at times.
Depending on the job, you may have to work shifts and overtime may be available. You may have to be on call for out of hours emergencies.
Most employers will expect applicants to have some subjects at National 4 or 5 including English, Maths and relevant science or technological subjects.
Many employers look for applicants with an HNC (SCQF Level 7), HND (SCQF Level 8) or a degree (SCQF Level 9-10) in electrical, electronic or mechanical engineering. An IT qualification that includes modules on hardware can be useful.
For entry to an HNC or HND course you normally need 1-2 Highers plus some subjects at National 5. Degree courses require 4-5 Highers.
You could enter through a Modern Apprenticeship (SCQF Levels 5-8). This could be in Computing and ICT or Engineering.
You usually need a driving licence.
You may need to have a colour vision test.
You will require a satisfactory criminal record check from Disclosure Scotland to show that you are suitable for this type of work. Contact Disclosure Scotland for details on the type you would need.
There are employment opportunities in a wide range of industries including manufacturing industries for forklifts, business equipment servicing, and in the area of assistive technology systems, which includes lifting platforms and stairlifts.
What Does it Take?
You need to be:
accurate and methodical
honest, trustworthy and reliable
able to work without supervision
focused on customer service.
You need to have:
good concentration skills
good communication skills
practical and technical ability
excellent problem solving skills
good IT skills
a good understanding of safety and regulations about electrical waste.
Training through a Modern Apprenticeship combines on the job and off the job training and usually leads to SVQs at SCQF Levels 5 and 6.
SVQs are available in Process Engineering Maintenance in different specialisms.
If you enter with an HNC, HND or a degree, you are likely to follow an employer’s training scheme.
After your initial training, you will continue to do further short training courses to update your skills.
Promotion prospects will depend on the size of the organisation. In larger organisations you may be able to progress from technician to senior technician, to supervisor and then to service manager.