A bench technician is a person who maintains, repairs, and fabricates electronic components in a workshop. Bench technicians can work in a wide variety of industries related to electronics, handling both consumer electronics and electronic components used in manufacturing equipment and other industrial settings. At a minimum, a bench technician needs a high school diploma, but an associate degree from a technical school and professional certification is strongly recommended for people interested in pursuing this work as a career.
In companies that manufacture electronics, bench technicians are responsible for fabricating prototype models. These models are used for testing, further design refinements, and quality checks. Ultimately, they will be used to develop plans used in mass production of these components. Bench technicians performing this type of work must think not only about how to assemble components, but how to create components for mass production, ideally using existing equipment and technology. They can also perform maintenance and repairs on products in the company's current product lineup.
Other bench technicians perform maintenance and repair on electronics. These electronics professionals can work in a shop attached to an industrial facility like an airplane hanger or manufacturing facility, maintaining equipment and performing repairs as needed. In these facilities, floor technicians will perform basic tasks on the floor, but if a part needs more work, the technicians will replace it with a functioning part and send the broken part to a bench technician for inspection and repair. This avoids holdups caused by waiting for repairs on the floor.
An electronics bench technician can also work in repair of consumer electronics. Most electronics manufacturers offer warranty services to their customers, allowing people to ship components to a facility to repair for free. When components are outside their warranty, people can opt to send them to the manufacturer for servicing for a fee, taking advantage of the experience and training of the company's bench technicians. Freeland technicians can offer similar services on their own and such services are also available through bench technicians employed by consumer electronics stores.
This work typically takes place in well ventilated areas because bench technicians may need to solder or perform other activities that generate gases or smoke. The environment can be noisy, depending on the facility. Bench technicians need steady hands and good coordination. The work can strain the eyes, especially if technicians are not in the habit of regularly using magnifiers to help them focus on small tasks, and it is important to get in the habit of stretching periodically during the work day to avoid strain caused by sitting and leaning. Pay varies for a bench technician, depending on training and level of experience, and may come with benefits if people are working for large companies.