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What does a Test Technician do?

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  • Written By: D. Jeffress
  • Edited By: Jenn Walker
  • Last Modified Date: 16 November 2016
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A test technician is an electronics and engineering specialist who performs quality control trials on various types of products. He or she carefully inspects parts or finished products to make sure they were built according to specifications. The technician then puts items through a series of tests to determine their effectiveness, durability, and safety. Technicians work in many different industries and settings, but most professionals are employed by large manufacturing plants that produce electronics, tools, or machinery.

Daily responsibilities for a test technician can vary depending on what types of items he or she inspects. A technician who works for a consumer electronics firm, for example, may use voltmeters and other sophisticated measuring tools to make sure electricity flows uninterrupted and at the correct current level throughout a unit. He or she typically follows an established protocol to inspect workmanship and the overall quality of every component piece. Devices that pass testing normally are ready to be packaged and shipped to distributors.

Technicians at large manufacturing plants that produce industrial machines, airplanes, or automobiles may focus their testing on particular parts, such as drive shafts or ignition systems. They usually inspect pieces along an assembly line as they are put together and again once the final product is built. In addition, test technicians may work in teams to put cars or machinery through extensive durability and safety runs before they can be approved for distribution.

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Some test technicians inspect materials and products while they are still in the research and development phase of production. Under the supervision of an engineer, a test technician makes sure physical prototypes match technical schematics. He or she follows standard testing protocol to see if a device functions properly. Notes are made regarding any problems or potential hazards during initial product testing, which are submitted to the design engineer so the appropriate changes can be made.

The requirements to become a test technician can vary between different industries and employers. Most companies prefer to hire applicants who have completed two-year engineering technician programs at vocational schools or community colleges. Previous experience in assembly line production, packaging, quality control, or a related industry job can be very helpful in finding entry-level work. With ongoing experience, a test technician may be able to become a supervisor within his or her company. Technicians who are interested in designing and building new products can pursue continuing education to become professional engineers.

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anon340157
Post 5

Sometimes things like that fail not just at the factory end, but also at the user's end. Having worked on aircraft, I can tell you that if it was a small plane it is usually inspected by one, two or even three people. If this was one of several to get inspected, there is a routine inspection the group or individual would know to do. They would look at specific problem zones and sometimes overlook areas that normally wouldn't cause such problems. All in all, everyone fails from the manufacturers to the company that bought the plane. Just goes to show you, never allow complacency to make you take shortcuts.

David09
Post 2

@NathanG - There should have been quality control in that situation. It’s rarely the fault of one person. Usually a team fails to do their job well, like in both cases of the Space Shuttle disasters.

Building the Shuttle is a collaborative effort, so if there is something like a faulty tile shield I doubt that it’s only one person who is involved. Regardless, however, one person does usually take the blame – the supervisor.

NathanG
Post 1

I think that this is a job that carries with it a big a responsibility, especially for test technicians that work in the aviation industry.

A few years ago I heard about an airplane crash where the investigators traced the problems to some loose bolts on the wings and other stuff like that. When they did further investigation, they found that the faulty maintenance had happened in the maintenance facility in our local airport.

You better believe that heads rolled after that. That would pretty much destroy your career, not to mention the kind of guilt that you would carry knowing that your negligence resulted in death.

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