Appliance repairers service either large or small household appliances. Those who work with larger appliances, such as stoves, ovens, refrigerators, dishwashers, and washing machines, usually complete the repairs in the homes of customers. Those who work with smaller appliances, such as coffee makers, vacuum cleaners, and lawn mowers, typically do their work in repair shops. Both types of repairers use diagnostic equipment to determine the problem with a given appliance. They look for symptoms like overheating, excess vibrations, or unusual noises. They usually check all electrical connections, looking for damaged circuit boards. If the job requires it, they will disassemble the appliance and examine its internal parts. For this phase of the repair, they use a variety of hand and power tools.
When working with electronic, gas, and electric systems, they often use tools such as ammeters, voltmeters, digital logic testers, pressure gauges, and manometers. When they have determined the exact type of problem, they give the customer a written estimate that includes parts and labor. If the customer approves this estimate, they make adjustments, replace any parts that need replacing, and install new parts. Sometimes they connect new pipes to feeder lines. If the customer suspects gas or microwave leaks, the repairer will test for these types of leaks using specialized equipment. Repairers also keep records of their work, including time spent and parts used. They answer questions from customers regarding the proper maintenance and care of their appliances.
Appliance repairers need to have a strong mechanical aptitude. They must have good problem-solving and analytical skills. They must have a pleasant personality and the ability to deal with many different types of customers. They often work independently, so the need to be able to work well without supervision.
Appliance repairers without any experience may begin by earning minimum wage; some may earn up to $12 per hour. Those who have some experience may earn up to $17 per hour, and those who have 3 or more years of experience can earn up to $26 per hour or more. On top of their hourly wage, many repairers receive some type of commission. Large firms usually offer higher wages than smaller ones. Benefits usually include health plans, vacation time, and sick leave.
Training and Education
Most appliance repairers have at least a high school diploma and knowledge of the concepts of electricity and electronics. High school students interested in this field should take classes in English, algebra, geometry, mechanical drawing physics, and basic electricity and electronics. Formal training in this occupation is available through community colleges and private vocational schools. Community college programs usually last 2 years, and vocational programs may take between 26 and 36 weeks. Journey-level status usually takes about 5 years to obtain, and most shops give their employees on-the-job training during that period.
Those who work for franchised appliance dealers are required to attend periodic refresher courses a couple days a year. Most repairers drive vehicles, so they are required to have a valid driver's license and a good driving record. Repairers can advance to shop supervisor or manager. Visit this page about trade schools for more information on related careers.
Between 2002 and 2012, employment of appliance repairers is expected to increase more slowly than the average. This is due to advances in appliance technology, such as solid state circuitry and sensing devices, which reduce the rate of breakdown or failure in appliances. Job opportunities usually fluctuate with the state of the overall economy. The number of workers who are employed by department stores will decrease, while the number of positions at appliance stores, electrical repair shops, and electronics stores will increase.