An appliance technician installs different appliances, performs scheduled maintenance, repairs damaged units, and replaces parts or systems when necessary. Many technicians may have a very general knowledge of appliance repair, and can work on several different types of machines and fixtures. Others specialize in certain services, such as plumbing or electrical work, or in the type of appliances they service, such as ovens or refrigerators. An appliance technician may work for a repair shop or retail store, or become a self-employed contractor.
Many technicians perform maintenance on small appliances, such as microwaves and vacuum cleaners. They typically work in repair shops, where people bring in their malfunctioning appliances. A technician will usually take an appliance apart to diagnose the problem, perform any necessary repairs or replacements, and put it back together. Some repair jobs require very simple repairs, such as changing a belt on a vacuum cleaner. Others may require extensive investigation, of an electrical motor, for example, to find and fix a problem.
Large fixtures and appliances in people's homes require routine maintenance and occasional repairs by a trained appliance technician. Experts install and repair large appliances, including washers, dryers, ovens, and dishwashers. Often, technicians are required to perform extensive repairs on damaged electrical systems or gas ranges. Therefore, technicians must have a strong understanding of the principles of electricity and physics to prevent hazards and accidents while doing repair work. Some technicians receive special training to work on refrigerators and freezers, where they learn about the proper handling and disposal of dangerous refrigerants.
To become an appliance technician, a person must typically obtain at least a high school diploma or GED. Community college or vocational school programs in appliance repair can be helpful for new technicians seeking employment. Most new workers receive informal, paid training under the supervision of experienced technicians for up to one year, depending on an employer's requirements and the amount of proficiency workers display. Additional licensing or certification is not usually required to work as an appliance technician, though some professionals choose to improve their credentials by taking a nationally recognized certification exam. In the United States, a worker can obtain the National Appliance Service Technician Certification by taking a written test that covers basic skills, terminology, codes, and safety.
With enough training and experience, many technicians are able to open their own businesses, contracting their services to homeowners and businesses. Many technicians open their own repair shops and hire other technicians and administrative personnel. Some professionals choose to become certified electricians or plumbers to further advance their careers.