There are many paths to successful careers. College degrees aren’t for everybody, so technical certification may be a key factor to increased employment opportunities and higher pay. In today’s competitive job market, certifications can provide validation of industry-specific knowledge.

Of all the hiring and recruiting activity that occurred on LinkedIn in 2015, electronics technologies ranked as one of the top 25 in-demand technical skills.

What Skills Do Employers Want?

Employability skills have often been cited by employers as the skills most critical to workplace success in the 21st century economy. These skills include, but are not limited to; critical thinking, adaptability, problem solving, oral and written communications, collaboration and teamwork, creativity, responsibility, professionalism, ethics and technology use.

Of all the hiring and recruiting activity that occurred on LinkedIn in 2015, electronics technologies ranked as one of the top 25 in-demand technical skills. The nation’s primary source of occupational information in the research for the U.S. Department of Labor’s (USDOL) database, Occupational Information Network (O*NET), designates electronics technologies as a “Bright Outlook” occupation, meaning that the jobs in this industry are growing more rapidly than others. It also gives electronics technologies the “Green” designation, since many of the careers in the electronics industry are emerging because of green environmental trends.

What Kind of Education is Needed for an Electronics Career?

Most occupations in this industry require high school Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) courses. According to the U.S. Department of Education (USDOE), competency-based learning systems lead to better student outcomes because the pace of learning is customized to each student.

By enabling students to master skills at their own pace, competency-based learning systems create multiple pathways to graduation. School systems are requiring educational institutions to prove that their training actually is giving the student his or her money’s worth. They want proof that the time and money spent in learning will pay off with a good career after graduation.

For example, ETA® International’s accredited certification programs, modeled after international competency standards, are used by some states as third party final exams for electronics students and can motivate students to excel in their education to pursue the next step in their careers.

Certifications are portable credentials awarded to individuals once they have proven a level of mastery of core competencies for a specific set of skills. By obtaining a professional certification, students gain a level of confidence in their own abilities, allowing students to enter the workforce immediately with a proven skill set or continue on to college. This confidence and the options certification creates give certified students the tools to put together a serious plan for their career path.

Aligning with the ISO 17024 Standards, ETA certifications test the knowledge and hands-on skills needed in today’s electronics industry and are accredited by the International Certification Accreditation Council (ICAC).

What Kinds of Careers are Available in Electronics?

Entry-level jobs often require professional certification, and can be achieved through various organizations.

Electronics installers and technicians install or repair a variety of electrical equipment in telecommunications, transportation, utilities and many other industries. Some occupational titles include: Alarm Security Technician, Avionics Electronics Technician, Biomedical Imaging Electronics Technician, Commercial Audio Technician, Data Cabling Installer, Computer Service Technician, Electric Vehicle Technician, Fiber Optics Installer, Gaming and Vending Technician, Industrial Electronics, Mobile Communications Electronics Installer, Photovoltaic (Solar Panel) Installer, Telecommunications Technician, Wireless Network Technician and many more.

Explore many different electronics career opportunities, including education and credential requirements, job tasks, wages and employment trends on the O*NET or USDOL websites. According to the USDOL’s Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual wage for electrical and electronics installers and repairers was $53,900 in May 2014.

Employers Prefer Certified Job Candidates!

When employers interview job candidates, the competition can often be very stiff. Certification is frequently the deciding factor when one candidate is certified and the other is not, offering a distinct advantage. A certified professional often appears more dedicated, more skilled and thus more attractive to prospective employers, and can help one advance in their chosen career. Certification enables employers to better evaluate the potential candidates’ talents and skills and takes a lot of the guess work out of the hiring process. Not only can certification get one’s foot in the door, but it can also enable employees to make more money as well as advance into positions of greater responsibility. Some employers require certification as a condition of employment. Job interviewers look for continuous learners and professional certification often requires the certification holder to maintain a certain number of continuing education credits to stay current in their chosen industry.

What Are the Benefits of Membership in a Professional Association?

Plugging into an industry’s community provides links with other people entering the profession along with industry practitioners to share experiences and make career connections. There are associations for nearly every profession or area of interest and many have national, state and regional chapters available to join. Associations sponsor numerous events throughout the year that foster connection with peers. Mentoring is the cornerstone of many professional associations when it comes to working with younger members. They also keep members up to date on industry trends and how to deal with them.

Another important reason to consider membership to a professional association is to take advantage of their career resources. ETA’s free Career Resource Center offers employers and job seekers a way to connect professionals with the most in-demand careers available.

In Conclusion: A Testimony to Success

From a recent ETA 2015 survey of technicians, educators, students, retirees and business-owners around the world, the overwhelming majority of respondents said that their certification had benefited their career or educational training program, with opened opportunities and advancement. Almost 74 percent predicted job growth in their industry.

Michele Lawson is the marketing coordinator and HTN editor at Electronics Technicians Association. Learn more about the benefits of adding ETA International technical certification, professional trade membership and the many careers available in electronics at www.eta-i.org.

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