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Online Electrical Technician Degrees and Certificate Programs

Electrical technicians perform installation, repair and maintenance on electrical systems. An online certificate or associate's degree program in electronics technology may give graduates an advantage in securing an entry-level position in the field, and most employers prefer to hire graduates from an accredited school program, or those with related experience.

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Essential Information

Electrical technicians install and repair various types of electrical equipment. Most employers prefer to hire technicians who have taken at least some courses and have some training in the field, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Completing courses in an online certificate or associate's degree program can also prepare electrical technicians to earn voluntary certification from organizations such as the International Society of Certified Electronics Technicians. Some associate's degree programs require attendance at campus-based sessions for hands-on training.

Related Programs

Students who want to focus on a particular branch of electrical and electronics technology may want to enroll in related certificate and associate's degree programs such as the following:

  • Electromechanical Technician Certificate
  • Programmable Logic Controllers Technician Certificate
  • Associate of Science in Industrial Electronics Technology
  • Associate of Science in Computer and Electronics Technology

Overview of an Online Electrical Technician Certificate Program

Students learn the fundamentals in electronics essential for entry-level employment. Topics of study include assembly, repair, installation, maintenance, testing, troubleshooting and upgrading electronic systems and equipment. Prerequisites for enrollment may include a high school diploma and experience in the field. Most certificate programs offer credits towards an associate's degree.

Program Information and Requirements

These programs take approximately three terms or 34-37 weeks to complete on a part-time basis. The courses use multimedia audio and video tools, lab simulations, CD-ROMs, the Internet and e-mail to conduct classes and to communicate with peers and faculty. Online electrical technician certificate program coursework may require some on-campus attendance due to practical hours required in the specialty.

List of Common Courses

Electrical technician certificate coursework includes introductory theory, vocabulary, laws and safety measures. Classes cover circuits, voltages, currents, instruments and other electrical basics necessary in the field.

Electronics Introductory Course

Basic electronics fundamentals are introduced in this class, including scientific and engineering notation, units of measure and electric charges. Atomic structure, molecular principles, the history of electricity and the principle of electric charge are other areas of study.

Circuits Course

Students learn how to apply Ohm's law in circuit configurations. The class also covers topics of resistance, voltage, power, troubleshooting and problem solving in circuits. Participants learn to calculate voltage and determine the total resistance in specific types of circuits and resistor networks.

Digital Electronics Course

Topics that are related to digital electronics like number systems, counters, flip flops and logic gates are explored. Students learn DeMorgan's theorem and Boolean algebra related to solving digital electronic problems. The class also covers math skills related to converting between binary, decimal and hexadecimal numbers.

Career Information for Graduates

Knowledge of electrical systems is necessary for employment in the field, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). A high-school diploma may be sufficient to work under the supervision of an experienced electrician or technician; however, workers must develop their electronic knowledge and skills to work independently. Growth in the field varies by specialty, but in 2012, employment for electrical and electronics repairers and installers was expected to grow by just 1% from 2012-2022 (www.bls.gov).


Overview of an Online Electrical Technician Associate's Degree Program

Online associate's degree curriculum focuses on career skills in electronic systems, computer programs, programming and networking. Graduates are awarded an Associate of Applied Science (A.A.S.) degree. Some schools require prerequisite coursework, high school transcripts and journeyman certification prior to consideration for entry.

Program Information and Requirements

Coursework for online associate's degree programs for electrical technicians is available online; however, apprenticeship requirements vary by program and state of practice. The programs consist of 50-60 credit hours of study, and they take approximately two years to complete. Some apprenticeship portions require as much as five additional years of on-the-job training.

Students access classes via the Internet and personal computer. Some schools have a specific student portal and offer online learning sessions to train their participants on their systems.

List of Common Courses

Students learn about residential and commercial wiring during the course of their studies. They learn about blueprints, code requirements and specifications along with electrical theory and layout.

Programming Concepts and Controllers Course

This class covers basic programming and relay logic, operation theory and applications, control structures, systems programming, applications and modularization. Students learn to apply ladder diagrams and other techniques in programmable controllers and apply programming concepts to solve problems.

Electronic Mathematics Course

This course introduces the application of mathematics in the electronics field. Basic concepts and graphs of functions, linear and quadratic equations, algebra, trigonometry, vectors, mathematical circuits and voting systems are some mathematical topics of study.

Electronic Software and Computer Applications Course

Students are provided with an overview of electronic computer operations, applications, operating systems, hardware, software and information processing. The class also teaches skills in common word processing, spreadsheet, presentation, Web design and Internet applications.

Career Information for Graduates

Electrical and electronics repairers and installers earned a median annual wage of $51,220 in 2012, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). In that same year, the electrical repairer and installer category consisted of 144,700 employees. Most of these professionals - 69,000 in 2012 - worked in the commercial and industrial equipment industry. Second in line were servicing powerhouse, substation and relay, totaling 24,500 workers (www.bls.gov).

Continuing Education Information

For those wishing to pursue further education in the electrical technician concentration, bachelor's degree programs are available online in electrical engineering. Most schools offer transferable college credits for classes taken in their certificate or associate's degree electrical technician program.

The Electronics Technicians Association (ETA) and the International Society of Certified Electronics Technicians both offer certification in several specialties for those who meet requirements and pass an examination.

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  • Areas of study you may find at Southwestern College include:
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  • Areas of study you may find at New England Institute of Technology include:
      • Non-Degree: Coursework
      • Undergraduate: Associate, Bachelor
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      • Graduate: First Professional Degree, Master
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Avg. Wages For Related Jobs

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics