Associate of Electrical Technology: Degree Overview
Electrical technology associate degree programs train students to work with electrical and electronic systems, machines and devices. Programs generally are 1.5-2 years in length and divide instruction between classrooms and hands-on labs.
Associate Degree Programs in Electrical Technology
Associate of Science or Associate of Applied Science programs in electrical technology train students to install, test, maintain and repair electrical equipment and electronic circuits and devices. Coursework covers general electrical theory and relies heavily on math and science concepts. Classroom instruction also emphasizes standards required by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), an agency that governs worker safety practices, as well as technical wiring methods. Some programs also include training on programmable logic controllers (PLC), which are used in manufacturing and other applications.
Labs provide opportunities for students to develop skills in wiring, installation, troubleshooting and repair according to the National Electrical Code (NEC). Specific lab exercises may include wiring a new building, installing a lighting system or connecting industrial equipment. OSHA safety practices are also covered in labs.
Programs generally require a high school diploma or GED equivalent. Some require passing math placement exams. Programs may require students to acquire a set of specific tools.
Students are exposed to broad academic courses in addition to core electrical technology subjects. Coursework may include the following:
- Alternating and direct current (AC and DC)
- Wiring techniques
- Motor controls
- Electrical drawings and blueprints
- NEC and OSHA standards
Popular Career Options
Programs teach the knowledge and skills needed by such employers as construction companies, utility companies and telecommunications companies. Typical careers include the following:
- Electronics troubleshooter
- Electrical relay technician
- Electrical research technician
- Electrical distribution salesperson
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that employment opportunities for electricians will increase by 20% between 2012 and 2022, which is faster than the national average. These workers earned an average salary of $53,030 as of May 2012.
Continuing Education and Licensure Information
Graduates who choose to pursue careers as electricians need to be licensed in most states, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). To obtain a license, aspiring electricians might need to take tests that cover NEC and state and local codes, the BLS reports. Employers could also require applicants to acquire hands-on training through apprenticeships after completing classroom training.
Bachelor's degree programs are available for students who desire to expand career opportunities in this field. These programs may include building automation technology and electronics engineering technology. Some programs allow students to apply related associate degree coursework towards bachelor's degree requirements.
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