Guitar Technician Training and Certification Program Overviews
Guitar technicians or guitar techs can work in repair shops, custom shops or factories. They may also travel with musicians on tour and be responsible for the maintenance of guitars used on stage. Most guitar technicians learn the trade through on-the-job training or through a certificate program at a community college or lutherie school.
Certificate Programs in Guitar Making and Repair
Many technical schools or schools specializing in guitar making (called lutherie) offer certificate or diploma options for guitar making and repair. Depending on the length of the program, students receive an overview of custom construction of guitars, repair work, electronics and audio engineering. Though not required, students may benefit from personal experience with guitar playing.
Some guitar repair shops may also offer training in guitar repair. However, these are typically not accredited schools, and the courses they offer are non-credit.
Guitar technicians are trained to be experts in guitar maintenance; they must learn the techniques to repair both acoustic and electric guitars. Most guitar technician programs have students build at least one guitar from start to finish and provide an overview of the most common repairs requested. Courses can include:
- Fret design
- Woodworking and refinishing
- Repair diagnostics
- Soldering and electronics
- Amplifier repair
- Sound theory
Employment Outlook and Salary Info
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment of musical instrument repairers was expected to change very little between 2010 and 2020, with 6,000 workers employed as of 2010 (www.bls.gov). Guitar technicians can find work in guitar manufacturing facilities, small music stores or repair shops. They may also be self-employed. The BLS reported that in 2012, musical instrument repairers earned an annual mean wage of $33,620; technicians who worked for postsecondary schools earned significantly more.
Continuing Education and Certification Information
Graduates seeking further education can find broader degree programs in guitar or musical instrument repair. In addition to courses in crafting and repair, curriculum includes general education classes such as English, musical theory and business management.
Several major guitar manufacturers offer certification for repairs to their specific guitars. While certification is not required to work as a guitar technician, it can help to demonstrate proficiency to potential employers.
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