Electronic Home Entertainment Equipment Repairers Career Information
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Nature of the WorkElectronic home entertainment
equipment installers and repairers, also called service technicians,
repair a variety of equipment, including televisions and radios, stereo components,
video and audio disc players, video cameras, and videocassette recorders.
They also repair home security systems, intercom equipment, and home theater
equipment, which consist of large-screen televisions and sophisticated, surround-sound
Customers usually bring small, portable equipment to repair shops for servicing. Repairers at these locations, known as bench technicians, are equipped with a full array of electronic tools and parts. When larger, less mobile equipment breaks down, customers may pay repairers to come to their homes. These repairers, known as field technicians, travel with a limited set of tools and parts, and attempt to complete the repair at the customer's location. If the repair is complex, technicians may bring defective components back to the repair shop for a thorough diagnosis and repair.
When equipment breaks down, repairers check for common causes of trouble, such as dirty or defective components. Many repairs consist of simply cleaning and lubricating equipment. For example, cleaning the tape heads on a videocassette recorder will prevent tapes from sticking to the equipment. If routine checks do not locate the trouble, repairers may refer to schematics and manufacturers' specifications that provide instructions on how to locate problems. Repairers use a variety of test equipment to diagnose and identify malfunctions. They use multimeters to detect short circuits, failed capacitors, and blown fuses by measuring the voltage, current, and resistance. They use color bar and dot generators to provide onscreen test patterns, signal generators to test signals, and oscilloscopes and digital storage scopes to measure complex waveforms produced by electronic equipment. Repairs may involve removing and replacing a failed capacitor, transistor, or fuse. Repairers use handtools such as pliers, screwdrivers, soldering irons, and wrenches to replace faulty parts. They also make adjustments to equipment, such as focusing and converging the picture of a television set or balancing the audio on a surround-sound system.
Improvements in technology have miniaturized and digitized many audio and video recording devices. Miniaturization has made repairwork significantly more difficult, as both the components and acceptable tolerances are smaller. For example, an analog video camera operates at 1800 revolutions per minute (rpm), while a digital video camera may operate at 9000 rpm. Components now are mounted on the surface of circuit boards, instead of plugged into slots, requiring more precise soldering when a new part is installed. Improved technologies also have lowered the price of electronic home entertainment equipment. As a result, customers often replace broken equipment instead of repairing it.
Electronic home entertainment equipment installers and repairers held about 47,000 jobs in 2009. Most repairers worked in electronics and appliance stores that sell and service electronic home entertainment products or in electronic and precision equipment repair and maintenance shops. About 1 electronic home entertainment equipment installers and repairers in 3 were self-employed, more than 4 times the proportion for all installation, maintenance, and repair occupations.
of electronic home entertainment equipment installers and repairers is expected
to decline through 2010, due to decreased demand for repair work. Some job openings will occur, however, as
repairers retire or gain higher paying jobs in other occupations requiring electronics
experience. Opportunities will be best for applicants with hands-on experience
and knowledge of electronics.
The need for repairers is declining because home entertainment equipment is less expensive than in the past. As technological developments have lowered equipment prices and improved reliability, the demand for repair services has decreased. When malfunctions do occur, it often is cheaper for consumers to replace equipment rather than to pay for repairs.
Employment of repairers will continue to decline despite the introduction of sophisticated digital equipment, such as DVDs, digital televisions, and digital camcorders. So long as the price of such equipment remains high, purchasers will be willing to hire repairers when malfunctions occur. However, the need for repairers to maintain this costly equipment will not be great enough to offset the overall decline in demand for their services.
Median hourly earnings of electronic home entertainment equipment installers and repairers were $13.44 in May 2009. The middle 50 percent earned between $10.39 and $17.10. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $8.17, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $21.36. In May 2009, median hourly earnings of electronic home entertainment equipment installers and repairers were $12.86 in electronics and appliance stores and $12.28 in electronic and precision equipment repair and maintenance.
Other workers who repair and maintain electronic equipment include broadcast and sound engineering technicians and radio operators; computer, automated teller, and office machine repairers; electrical and electronics installers and repairers; and radio and telecommunications equipment installers and repairers.
For information on careers and certification, contact:
- ACES International, 5241 Princess Anne Rd., Suite 110, Virginia Beach, VA 23462. Internet: http://www.acesinternational.org
- Electronics Technicians Association International, 5 Depot St., Greencastle, IN 46135.
- International Society of Certified Electronics Technicians, 3608 Pershing Ave., Fort Worth, TX 76107-4527. Internet: http://www.iscet.org