How To Become a TV Technician: Salary, Skills and Steps
Updated June 30, 2023
If you're interested in how electronics work, you might consider becoming a TV technician. A technician's chief goal is to assess, repair and improve televisions. As a TV technician, you can ensure that electronics work properly, educate customers about how to operate their TVs and install new systems safely.
In this article, we discover what TV technicians do, the average salary they make, the skills they need for a successful career and how to become a TV technician.
TV technicians perform maintenance, repairs and installations of television equipment on behalf of electronic stores, repair centers and other businesses.
TV technicians may possess a variety of competencies that allow them to succeed in their role, including attention to detail, mechanical skills and problem solving.
To become a TV technician, candidates can begin by earning a GED or high school diploma then earn an associate degree in a relevant field or pursue certification to validate and hone their skills.
What is a TV technician?
A TV technician is an electronics professional who installs, repairs and tests television equipment. They provide service in repair centers and electronics stores, and they often travel to a customer's private residence or business to work on large electronic systems. To ensure they avoid electric shocks, they follow strict safety guidelines in the workplace. TV technicians may also work on satellite dishes and home theater systems.
A TV technician might also be referred to as a:
Electronic home entertainment equipment installer and repairer
What does a TV technician do?
TV technicians diagnose, test and fix malfunctions in televisions as well as other electronic equipment. They may solve a problem by replacing defective parts, realigning the color balance on a TV set or educating customers about how to best use their devices. Whether in a repair shop or on-site, TV technicians often have the following duties:
Investigating challenges customers have with specific devices
Taking equipment apart
Referring to schematics, diagrams and manuals to discover the origin of a malfunction
Estimating service costs so that customers can make informed decisions about the services they choose
Installing new television parts
Repairing broken electronics
Providing suggestions to customers about how to best use and take care of equipment
Salary and job outlook for a TV technician
The national average salary for a TV technician is $19.61 per hour. However, this salary can vary widely based on a technician's education, experience and location. It may also depend on their specific industry. The highest-earning industries for TV technicians include utilities and work within the government sector.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts the field of electrical and electronics installers and repairers, such as TV technicians, will decline by 1% from 2019 to 2029. Employers may provide more opportunities to TV technicians who have a degree or significant experience in electronics. Consider contacting your target employer to find out more about what types of certifications and experience they require.
Skills you need to become a TV technician
The typical skills needed to become a successful TV technician include:
Communication: TV technicians often work directly with customers, so it's essential that they have advanced customer service skills, including being able to explain electronics to non-experts, describe a malfunction and negotiate a sale.
Problem-solving: During the installation and repair process, TV technicians use their creative problem-solving skills to resolve challenges with wiring, picture quality, faulty connections and defective parts.
Mechanical skills: With highly developed mechanical skills, TV technicians use specialized tools and technology such as multimeters, voltmeters and oscilloscopes correctly and safely.
Attention to detail: While working on electrical equipment, TV technicians may keep records, handle small parts and adjust color settings. By maintaining acute attention to detail, technicians ensure they complete each project efficiently and effectively while avoiding the risk of electric shock.
How to become a TV technician
By following the steps below, you can learn the skills, obtain the education and get the experience you need to become a TV technician:
1. Earn your high school diploma or GED
For most TV technician jobs, employers require a high school diploma or General Education Development (GED) diploma. Postsecondary electronics programs, such as associate degree programs, also typically require this type of diploma. You can start preparing for a career as a TV technician while pursuing your education by enrolling in courses such as:
Communication, such as a speech class
2. Consider getting a postsecondary degree
While it's not required for all employers, earning a postsecondary certificate, associate degree or vocational diploma can help advance your career and make you stand out from other candidates. Before enrolling, find out if your target program is accredited by the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET) to ensure your degree is well-respected in the industry.
An associate degree often takes one to two years to complete. You may consider majoring in subjects such as electronics technology, electronics engineering technology or something similar. While earning your degree, consider taking courses that prepare you for an electronics technician exam and on-the-job training, such as classes that cover:
Electronics: In electronics courses, you may learn about the fundamentals of electricity, semiconductor and transistor principles and types of circuits, such as direct current, alternating current and linear integrated circuits.
Device types: While pursuing a degree to become a TV technician, students often explore related technologies such as solid-state devices, wireless connections, microprocessors, control systems, robotics, computers and telephones.
Tools: To prepare to use common tools in electronics repair, you may benefit from courses focusing on soldering, using a voltmeter or oscilloscope and working with other industry-specific tools.
3. Gain a certification
While employers often consider certifications voluntary, you can pursue a certification to enhance your career opportunities, update your skills and show your professional commitment. In the United States, two main organizations offer relevant certifications: the Electronics Technicians Association (ETA) and the International Society of Certified Electronics Technicians (ISCET). Here are some of the credentials they offer:
The Associate Certified Electronics Technician (CETa) certification: This certification from the ETA is targeted toward aspiring technicians who have less than two years of experience or have finished an electronics program, such as a vocational or associate degree. Training often encompasses subjects such as optical electronics, audio and video systems and cable installation.
The Residential Electronics Systems Integrator (RESI) certification: This ETA certification is available for anyone interested in developing in-depth skills related to maintaining computer networks or repairing security systems, closed-circuit TVs, climate control regulators or audio and video systems.
The Electronics Systems Associate (ESA) certification: This ISCET certification provides training in subjects such as semiconductors and AC and DC circuits. To complete the training and earn the ESA certification, aspiring TV technicians must pass a written examination.
The Journeyman Certified Electronics Technician (JCET) certification: This certification from the ISCET also requires candidates to pass the ESA exam. In addition, JCET-certified technicians need to pass a consumer electronics exam. Training may cover topics such as antenna installation, digital circuits, best practices for solving common challenges and professional troubleshooting.
The Journeyman-Level Multimedia Systems Technician (MST) certification: This ISCET credential requires candidates to pass an exam covering electronic theory and technology related to installing home theater systems. By obtaining this specialization, employers can quickly gauge your advanced expertise, which may help you accelerate your TV technician career.
4. Complete on-the-job training
You can get TV technician training in the field by obtaining an entry-level job or internship. Entry-level technician jobs, such as sales positions, can offer you direct customer service experience and enhance your ability to discuss complex electronics topics with people who may not be experts. During training, an experienced technician may explain how to use specialized equipment, teach best practices for handling customers and outline processes for installing and repairing specific brands, such as ones that offer a warranty.
Some aspiring TV technicians also apply for an internship while they are pursuing an electronics degree. Doing an internship can maximize the time you spend in school, offer training in specialized areas and expand your network of industry professionals, which can increase your job prospects after graduation. For advice about choosing the right internship for your target career, consider contacting a student adviser, teacher or mentor in your educational program.
5. Continue your education
To maintain your certifications, it's often necessary to continue your education. This can also keep you updated on advancing technology, expand your professional network and help you advance your career. You can pursue additional education by:
Completing training for new certifications
Taking online courses
Requesting extra on-the-job training
Attending industry workshops
Enrolling in continuing education courses
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