How to Become a Test Technician



How to Become a Test Technician: Career Path Guide

Although there are other paths to take, the most common way to become a test technician is to follow these essential steps:


1. Make sure you have the right personal traits for this profession

2. Pursue an associate’s degree or diploma in engineering technology/quality assurance

3. Get work experience as a student (an entry-level job, or a co-op position facilitated by your school)

4. Get an entry-level job after graduation

5. Earn relevant certification for your field

6. Advance your career as you gain more experience and knowledge 


Below we've expanded on these points to give you a good idea of what you'll need to become a test technician in the United States or Canada. We've also included helpful information for this career, such as what you’ll be doing, what you could earn, and a list of “Test Technician” job postings in your area!



What Education Will I Need?

The educational requirements for becoming a test technician can vary by employer, as this is not a regulated profession. However, employers typically require test technicians to have an associate’s degree or a diploma in a field of engineering or science relevant to their operations, although some will require a bachelor’s degree in engineering or science. 




What is a Test Technician?

Test technicians are responsible for analyzing systems and conducting various performance and production related tests on equipment and instruments used in the production area of a specific business. Test technicians generally perform their duties within engineering and quality control arenas. 


The tests these professionals perform vary depending on the product and industry, but typical testing methods often involve monitoring, assembling, improving, and manipulating a component, product or system to ensure it is in no way defective.


The method of their testing depends on the product being tested. For example, technicians responsible for reviewing electronic components will assemble and run test circuits, whereas technicians reviewing mechanical parts might perform calibration tests under real-world conditions.



What Does a Test Technician Do?

Although the duties of a test technician can vary, they are generally responsible for the following: 


• Using standard testing instruments, software and other tools to perform tests

• Evaluating the overall performance of machinery, electronics, equipment, components, products or systems by conducting functional and operational tests

• Recommending changes to the engineering design of equipment in order to simplify its assembly and maintenance 

• Assembling, calibrating, improving and performing maintenance on test equipment

• Using statistical methods to identify recurring problems and giving detailed reports on defects

• Traveling to a customer’s location in order to install, repair or evaluate machinery and equipment

• Assisting with training a customer’s employees in the operation, maintenance and repair procedures of equipment and machinery



What High School Courses Will Prepare Me?

Excelling at math, physical and life sciences, as well as trades, will serve as excellent preparation for this career while you’re a high school student. Be sure to absorb as much information as you can and get good grades in these areas.


Success Tip: Excelling in these subjects will give you a head start in preparing for this career, and will help you qualify for engineering diploma and degree programs!



Will I Need Certification?

Certification for test technicians is generally considered voluntary, as their work is not regulated. Having said that, obtaining relevant certification for your area of engineering in your specific region once you have acquired some work experience, is generally considered a good idea, and should help  you advance your career. 


Success Tip: Talk to your class instructors and work supervisors about the most relevant forms of certification you can pursue!





Should I Become a Test Technician?

A career as a test technician might be an excellent match for you if you have the following characteristics and attributes:


• You have a natural aptitude in technical applications (electronics, mechanics, etc.)

• You can work within a small team, and take directions from others

• You have a keen interest in using fine motor skills for a living

• You can adapt to using new technologies, and have an interest in learning them

• You're willing to work overtime when required, and possibly travel for work

• You’re able to pay extreme attention to detail, and concentrate for long periods of time

• You have a high degree of safety consciousness and the ability to follow strict safety procedures

• You're willing to work around hazards, such as potential electric shock



What is the Salary of a Test Technician?

Test technicians belong to the “Electrical and Electronics Engineering Technicians” and “Mechanical Engineering Technicians” occupational groups (among others). According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, Americans working in the former group earn a median salary of $61,130 per year, while those in the latter earn a median salary of $53,910 per year. 



More About Salary Levels

The salary you could earn as a test technician can vary based on many factors, including:


• Your level of education, experience and certification

• The level of responsibility involved in your job

• The size and type of your employer

• The region in which you work

• The industry in which you work

• If you receive any medical, dental, vision, profit sharing, and/or retirement benefits

• Many other factors


Test Technician Salary - Alberta: According to the 2015 Alberta Wage and Salary Survey, the average salary of Albertans working in the “Electrical and electronics engineering technologists and technicians” occupational group is $78,349 per year, while the salary of those working in the “Mechanical engineering technologists and technicians” group is $106,274 per year. Unfortunately, similar statistics are not available from reliable sources for the rest of Canada.


Test Technician Salary - United States: According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, the overall median salary level of Americans working in the “Electrical and Electronics Engineering Technicians" occupational group is $61,130 per year, while that of workers in the “Mechanical Engineering Technicians” group is $53,910 per year.



Who Creates Jobs for Test Technicians?

The range of possible employers for test technicians is as broad as the field of engineering itself; they can be employed by virtually any organization involved in the design, development, quality assurance and testing of electronic, mechanical or electrical parts, components, products and systems.



Test Technician Jobs - Opportunities in Your Area

Our job board below has "Test Technician" postings in Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom and Australia. 

What is the Work Environment Like?

Test technicians usually work indoors in offices, laboratories, manufacturing and processing facilities, but depending on the nature of tests being conducted, they may work outdoors at construction, pipeline, mining and other fieldwork sites.


They use computers for testing software, word processing and spread sheet functions. Physical demands include using fine motor skills, lifting heavy objects, bending, reaching, twisting, sitting and/or standing for extended periods of time, possibly outdoors in adverse weather conditions.



What Are the Working Hours Like?

Most test technicians work full-time, although part-time work is available. On occasion, test technicians may be required to work overtime to complete projects. They may also be required to work in shifts, that include working long hours for several days at a time (including weekends), followed by having a few days in a row off in between “sets”.



What are Careers Similar to “Test Technician”?

Listed below are careers that may be in the same field, or they may involve many of the same skills, competencies and/or responsibilities as “Test Technician”:


• Avionics Technician

• Civil Engineering Technologist

• Computer Service Technician

• Drafting Technician

• Environmental Engineering Technician

• Quality Control Specialist

• Test Engineer



What Scholarships Are There for Aspiring Test Technicians? 

The “Majors in Our Database Relevant for this Career” section below lists fields of study that are relevant to becoming a test technician. You can search for relevant scholarships by finding those majors on our  “Any Field of Study Scholarships” page.


Success Tip: Be sure to apply for any scholarships that you even barely qualify for, as there are millions of dollars of scholarships that go unused every year due to a lack of applicants!




Please consult the following resources to learn more about what it takes to become a test technician:


• Occupational Profile: “Systems Tester.” (n.d.). Alberta Government - Alberta Learning Information Service. Retrieved February 23, 2017.

• Occupational Profile: “Non-Destructive Testing Technician.” (n.d.). Alberta Government - Alberta Learning Information Service. Retrieved February 23, 2017.

• Occupational Outlook Handbook: “Electrical and Electronics Engineering Technicians.” (n.d.). United States Bureau of Labor Statistics. Retrieved February 23, 2017.

• Occupational Outlook Handbook: “Mechanical Engineering Technicians.” (n.d.). United States Bureau of Labor Statistics. Retrieved February 23, 2017.

• Job Descriptions: “Electrical Test Technician.” (n.d.). Society for Human Resource Management. Retrieved February 23, 2017.


Please Note: Much of the information used for this career guide was sourced from actual “Test Technician” job postings, which due to their brief online nature, are not listed here as references. 



Majors in Our Database Relevant for this Career

We have career guides for over 60 university majors in our database. Below we've outlined those that are most relevant to becoming a test technician. Click on the links to see what else you can do with these majors!


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