An appliance repair specialist fixes various problems associated with various household machines and implements; the typical day for one of these professionals might include reconnecting a severed gas line, installing a new pilot light in an oven unit, measuring a home's electrical output, and/or locating the source of an air conditioning leak. In order to succeed at this versatile trade, appliance repairmen and women must be knowledgeable of various machines and their parts (big and small) and able to use a variety of tools, from wrenches and screwdrivers to high-tech gadgets like voltmeters and ammeters. In order to learn these various proficiencies, many aspiring repair professionals enroll in online appliance repair certificate programs.
While it is possible to become an appliance repair specialist with just a high school diploma, more opportunities are available for those who hold a certificate because of the increased technical knowledge required with today’s household appliances and infrastructural systems. Certificates also enable recipients to pursue advanced degrees in this field, such as an associate or bachelor’s degree in electronics engineering. Students can enroll in appliance repair certificate programs through vocational schools, universities or colleges, or through appliance repair courses online.
Certificate programs can take as little as six months to a year to complete, and most include an extensive hands-on component to prepare students for the practical vagaries of their profession. During this training component of the certification, repair professionals learn how to install various types of household appliance and connect them to water and gas lines; properly inspect and assess the workability of these appliances, and repair problems as needed; identify broken or faulty parts and replace them in a timely manner; teach customers how to evaluate appliances and make repairs independently in the future; and use virtually dozens of tools that perform various functions. The curriculum should also include topics related to business management, communication, customer service, and finance. Those who enroll in appliance repair schools online may also gain some knowledge related to web technology and operations.
Many repair specialists bypass the certification process and learn the trade as apprentices; however, those who obtain a certificate prior to entering the workforce typically require a shorter apprenticeship and are able to work independently in considerably less time. Since the student’s schedule typically determines the length of an online appliance repair training program, individuals can finish the course as quickly (or slowly) as they wish.
What's Next for Appliance Repair Certificate Holders?
Once their educational program is complete, appliance repair specialists must take a series of tests in order to earn the certification required to enter the field and work independently. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the National Appliance Service Technician Certification (NASTeC) is an exam available through the International Society of Certified Electronics Technicians that evaluates individual abilities related to the repair and maintenance of various machines. An alternative to the NASTeC is the exam administered by the Professional Service Association; those who successfully complete this exam will be able to use the title of Master Certified Appliance Professional (MCAP).
In addition to these general exams, certain aspects of the profession require their own levels of certification. One example is the exam administered by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) that evaluates appliance repair specialists’ ability to follow proper environmental procedures for refrigerants like fluorocarbons, sulfur dioxide, and propane. Ongoing education is a vital part of the appliance repair profession; most specialists will take various classes throughout their careers to stay informed and up-to-date on the latest technologies.
According to the BLS, appliance repair specialists earned a median salary of $36,170 in 2014. Those who worked with manufacturing earned the highest median pay at $42,670. Total job growth for this profession is projected to reach 6% between 2014 and 2024.