Home entertainment equipment installers and repairers set up and fix household audio and video equipment, such as televisions, stereo components, and home theater systems. Although most home entertainment equipment installers and repairers work in electronics repair shops, many spend significant time traveling to customers’ homes. They generally work full time, and many work evenings or weekends, including overtime.
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Audio and Video Equipment Technicians generally do the following:
Audio and video equipment technicians install, troubleshoot, and fine-tune sound and picture quality, ensuring that a client’s home entertainment system works at its peak capability. They work on many types of equipment, including customer’s televisions, stereos, satellite dishes, and surround-sound systems. They may specialize in one or many kinds of products. When working on small portable equipment, such as DVD players and video cameras, technicians generally work in central repair shops. When repairing less mobile equipment, such as big-screen televisions, however, they must travel to the customer’s location. If the job is overly complex, technicians may take the equipment back to the shop for further work.
Service technicians’ work involves many different tools. For example, they may use basic hand tools, such as screwdrivers, hammers, and wrenches, to disassemble and reassemble components. They may also use more sophisticated diagnostic tools, including multimeters, voltmeters, oscilloscopes, and digital storage scopes, to identify electronic malfunctions, such as short circuits and failed capacitors. Because of the growing complexity of home entertainment systems, service technicians frequently consult schematics and manufacturers' specifications for instructions on how to repair certain problems.
Although employers prefer to hire applicants who have completed postsecondary training courses, many service technicians train informally on the job. Industry certification is becoming increasingly important. Many service technicians become qualified through informal on-the-job training, working closely with experienced technicians. Trainees receive from a few weeks to a few months of guidance and often learn the basics of electronics diagnostics and repair before beginning to work independently.
Although informal on-the-job training remains common, employers generally prefer to hire workers who have attended postsecondary vocational, technical, or associate’s degree programs in electronics repair. These programs, which include hands-on and theoretical training in digital consumer electronics, often help reduce the amount of training new workers need.
Service technicians must stay familiar with rapidly changing technologies. Employers frequently require technicians to attend training sessions and read manuals and reports on new products to keep their knowledge and skills up to date. Employers increasingly expect service technicians to be certified because certification shows competence.
Home entertainment equipment installers and repairers held about 36,800 jobs in 2010. Nearly half of these service technicians worked for electronics sales stores and repair shops. About 17% were self-employed.
The median annual wage of home entertainment equipment installers and repairers was $32,940 in May 2010. The median wage is the wage at which half the workers in an occupation earned more than that amount and half earned less. The lowest 10% earned less than $20,650, and the top 10% earned more than $53,500.