The Future of Work for Electromechanical Technicians
Learn about the skills, roles, and salaries of EM technicians.
Have you ever stopped to consider where your career will take you in the next five years?
Will your current skill set continue to serve you throughout your working life? The fact is, most of us make at least one major career change in our lives, but it isn't always easy to choose a field to direct our focus on.
If your goal is to find a job that is rewarding, offers compensation that reflects the value of the trade, and one that offers long-term security, you may consider a career as an electromechanical (EM) technician. Employment of EM technicians is projected to grow 4 per cent by 2026. This article will examine why this field is a safe bet in these uncertain times. Specifically, we will explore:
- What EM technicians do
- What the payscale is for EM technicians
- The types of environments EM technicians work in
- What it takes to become an EM technician, including electromechanical courses that might be required, along with licenses, certificates and qualities that will help you excel
What do electromechanical technicians do?
Electromechanical technicians are often referred to as generalists in technology; their ability to wear different "hats" enables them to apply their skills in different niches within the tech industry. This, of course, lends to plenty of job opportunities. This is perhaps best exemplified in the manufacturing sector, where demand is steadily rising for EM technicians experienced in working with machines connected to an expansive controls system.
The role of EM technicians on the factory floor is becoming more significant as companies continue to invest in sophisticated automation systems. Among other things, EM technicians are relied on to operate and service the mechanical sensors that make automated processes possible. Since automation is still only in its infancy, the outlook for this field is quite good. Learn more about the top industries hiring electromechanical technicians today.
Should you choose to pursue this career path, it's important to understand some of the daily core tasks you will be responsible for. As mentioned, EM technicians do operate and maintain sensor technology used in manufacturing products, but they must also be well-versed in electrical and electronic circuits, and are often expected to operate, test and maintain robotic equipment. Additional duties may include (but aren't limited to):
- The ability to read blueprints, schematics, and technical documentation to develop methods and sequences of assembly
- Work to align and fit physical components using a variety of tools and templates
- Provide quality assurance by inspecting components for surface abnormalities and defects that could hinder performance
- Use precision measurement devices to verify that part dimensions meet specifications
- Operate metalworking machines to fabricate necessary fittings, housings, jigs, etc
- Program and test new robotics, and train others in their use and maintenance
How much do electromechanical technicians earn?
Before you embark on this career path, you are probably curious as to how much electromechanical technicians earn. While entry-level EM technicians can earn between $35,000 to $45,000 a year, more experienced tradespersons can earn an annual salary of between $68,000 and $70,000, or more (estimates vary based on factors such as position or title, experience and location).
Work environment & schedule
If you're intrigued by automation technology or operating and maintaining robotics, you might be curious about where you could end up working. The most common employers of electromechanical technicians include:
- Manufacturers of semiconductor and other electronic components
- Manufacturers of navigational, measurement and electromedical instrumentation
- Manufacturers of transportation equipment
- Engineering firms
- Manufacturers of heavy equipment and machinery
If you don't have experience in this sector, it can be difficult to get a sense of the environment you will be working in. Granted, the lion's share of an EM technician's work is done in industrial environments, but taskwork does alternate between site and office settings. Sites can range from energy to aerospace, plastics to facilities where raw materials are handled.
In terms of scheduling, your role as an EM technician will vary from one company and industry to the next, but EM technicians generally work regular shifts, unless immediate repairs are required on a piece of machinery that is vital to operations.
Education & valuable skills
As you might expect, this particular field does require a fair amount of education and qualifications. For example, an emerging electromechanical technician will usually have either an associate's degree or a postsecondary certificate, which can be obtained by enrolling in a vocational school or community college.
Enrolling in a vocational school will teach you the skills required by local employers, while community colleges may include a more theory-based curriculum. In either case, it's worth making a few phone calls, examining the syllabuses, and taking campus tours if possible before choosing where to enroll.
In addition to the hard skills you'll learn through an academic program, there are a number of soft skills that will help you succeed as an EM technician. These include:
- Attention to detail - Since EM technicians must make and keep precise measurements that engineers will need, it's important that they possess a keen attention to detail
- Physical dexterity - Your role as a technician will likely require you to use a variety of tools and soldering irons on small parts and circuit boards
- Communication skills - Since you'll be working with other professionals in your field, it is vital that you are able to communicate effectively within a team and accept constructive criticism and instruction when needed
- Critical thinking - As an EM technician, you'll need to follow instructions and specific sequences, in order to carry out or inspect designs, or assemble prototypes
Opportunities for electromechanical technicians will continue to grow as demand increases for engineers to design and build new equipment in various fields. Consequently, employers will likely seek out EM technicians with knowledge of photonics to help implement and maintain automated processes. Check out George Brown College's Electromechanical Training course to future-proof your career. And, if you're exploring a career in electronics, read our overview of the skills you will gain through our Electronics Technician program.
Check out George Brown's Electromechanical Training course