Electrical Engineering Technician
Electrical Engineering Technicians support electronics engineers in the research, design, development, maintenance or repair of electronic products, such as televisions, mobile phones and computers, etc.
Electrical Engineering Technicians work in the generation and supply of electricity, as well as on related equipment, including generators and turbines.
Also known as
- Engineering Technician, Electronics/Electrical
As an Electrical Engineering Technician, you will support the work of Electrical Engineers in a wide range of areas, including research and development, design and technical drawing (draughtswork), maintenance, and quality assurance (testing products to make sure they are safe and of high quality).
In manufacturing, you'll work on a range of products, from telephones, radios and televisions to aircraft and satellites.
You could be involved in researching and designing new products or working on ways to improve existing ones. For example, you may test the electronic performance and reliability of televisions before they go into full production.
You may also be involved in testing printed circuit boards (PCBs) to make sure they respond correctly to the user's instructions, checking that all connections and joints are made properly and that there are no short circuits.
Electrical Engineering Technicians also maintain and repair the assembly lines that carry equipment through the production cycle.
If there is a fault, you will plug your laptop into the Programme Logic Controller (PLC) system, which controls the vital production equipment and machinery. The laptop displays what the fault is, so you can carry out a repair or re-program the faulty equipment.
You could also help to develop and maintain the equipment used to control and manage processes, systems and machinery in many different areas.
All large processing plants, North Sea oil installations, energy generating and manufacturing industries have sophisticated systems, for example, to control temperature and pressure, or to manage waste.
Electrical Engineering Technicians help to design and produce equipment such as electrical generators and turbines. You'll need to make sure that all the equipment is safe and runs efficiently. You'll carry out repairs to any faulty equipment, perhaps supervised by an electrical engineer.
In distribution companies, you'll work on transformers and transmission systems. You'll also install electrical industrial machinery, including heating, ventilating and lighting systems.
You may supervise teams made up of craftspeople and other technicians.
Being able to read, write and speak Welsh may be an advantage when you’re looking for work in Wales.
Personal Qualities and Skills
As an Electrical Engineering Technician, you need:
- Strong technical and computer skills.
- Practical skills.
- Excellent problem-solving skills.
- A willingness to keep up to date with advances in technology.
- A logical, accurate and methodical approach to your work.
- The ability to stay calm under pressure.
- An understanding of electrical health and safety regulations.
- Strong communication skills.
- To work well with other technicians and engineers.
- The ability to read and interpret technical drawings and plans, and to explain them to others.
Your colour vision may be tested, as you will be working with colour-coded parts and wires.
Pay and Opportunities
Salaries for Electrical Engineering Technicians vary depending on the company, role and level of responsibility.
The pay rates given below are approximate.
As an Electrical Engineering Technician, you can expect to earn in the range:
- Starting: £22,500 - £25,000
- With experience: £30,000 - £40,000.
Hours of work
Most Electrical Engineering Technicians work around 35-40 hours a week, Monday to Friday. Early starts, late finishes, and some weekend work may be required. Some technicians may be required to work shifts.
Future skills needs
The main skills gaps for the automotive industry are:
- Computer-Aided Design (CAD).
- CNC machine operation.
- Assembly line/production robotics.
- Electrical engineering.
Where could I work?
Employers are firms in a variety of industries, including manufacturing, electricity generation and distribution, communications, transportation, chemical, water, and marine and offshore industries.
There are also opportunities within the public sector, the armed forces and computer manufacturers.
Opportunities for Electrical Engineering Technicians occur throughout the UK.
The highest number of people employed in the electronics industry are based in the South East, East of England, Scotland and the South West.
Where are vacancies advertised?
Vacancies are advertised in local/national newspapers, on recruitment and employers' websites, and on Universal Jobmatch (www.gov.uk/jobsearch).
Social media websites, such as LinkedIn, Twitter or Facebook, are a great way to network, find vacancies and get in contact with possible employers. Make sure that your profile presents you in a professional manner that will appeal to potential employers.
Take a look at our General Information Article 'Finding Work Online'.
GreenJobs is a job board aimed at people interested in green careers:
Entry Routes and Training
An Intermediate or Advanced Level Apprenticeship is a great place to start. You may be able to study for an NVQ as part of your apprenticeship.
You may also be able to enter employment as a trainee, receiving day- or block-release to go to college part-time.
Another entry route is to take a full-time college course, leading to a relevant A level or vocational qualification (see below for details) before looking for employment.
You may be able to work towards a relevant work-based qualification.
Professional registration - known as EngTech - is available for those who have joined a professional engineering institution licensed by the Engineering Council.
You also need to complete a relevant Advanced Apprenticeship; or hold a qualification such as a BTEC Level 3 Certificate or Diploma, alongside relevant experience.
You can apply if you don't have a qualification, but you need to have substantial work experience.
Full details on how to register as an EngTech are available in the Engineering Council's UK-SPEC document, which can be viewed on their website.
With further education and training, engineering technicians can go on to register at Incorporated Engineer (IEng) and Chartered Engineer (CEng) level.
Previous experience working in the engineering industry (mechanical, chemical or electrical) would be really useful for this career.
To get onto an Intermediate or Advanced Level Apprenticeship, you’ll usually need five GCSEs at grade C/4 or above, possibly including English and Maths.
Relevant courses include:
- BTEC Level 3 - Electrical Technologies Theory
- BTEC Level 3 - Electrical Engineering
- City & Guilds Level 3 - Electrotechnical Technology
- City & Guilds Level 1, Level 2 and Level 3 - Electrical Installation.
It is illegal for any organisation to set age limits for entry to employment, education or training, unless they can show there is a real need to have these limits.
Most colleges will consider applications from older candidates who don't have the usual entry requirements. You should check the admissions policy of individual colleges.
London South Bank University offers an HNC and HND in Electrical and Electronic Engineering, via part-time evening study.
London College UCK offers an HNC and HND in Electronic/Electrical Engineering, via distance learning.
Information on pathways to registration as an Engineering Technician (EngTech) can be found on the Engineering Council's website.
Professional institutions have the following roles:
- To support their members.
- To protect the public by keeping standards high in their professions.
For more information on the institution(s) relevant to this career, check out the contacts below.
Apprenticeships: Get In. Go Far
National Apprenticeship Service (NAS)
Tel: 0800 015 0400
Skills Development Scotland - Modern Apprenticeships
Tel: 0800 9178000
Skills for science, engineering and manufacturing technologies
Address: 14 Upton Road, Watford, Hertfordshire WD18 0JT
Tel: 0845 6439001
Engineering technology news
Publisher: EngineeringUK and Royal Academy of Engineering
City & Guilds
Address: 1 Giltspur Street, London EC1A 9DD
Tel: 020 7294 2468
Construction Industry Training Board (CITB)
Address: Blue Court, Church Lane, Kings Langley, Hertfordshire WD4 8JP
Tel: 01923 260000
Publisher: Venture Marketing Group
Address: 105 West George Street, Glasgow G2 1QL
Tel: 0141 2213181
Address: 246 High Holborn, London WC1V 7EX
Tel: 020 3206 0500
Engineering Training Council Northern Ireland (ETC NI)
Northern Ireland Enquiries
Address: Sketrick House, Ards Business Park, Jubilee Road, Newtownards BT23 4YH
Tel: 028 9182 2377
Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET)
Address: Michael Faraday House, Six Hills Way, Stevenage, Hertfordshire SG1 2AY
Tel: 01438 313311