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Automotive Electronics Installers

At a Glance

  • Install stereos, speakers, GPS, and alarms
  • Use a variety of tools and techniques
  • May help customers pick out components
  • May work nights and weekends
  • Train on the job

Career summary

Automotive electronics installers set up and repair sound, security, and navigation components in vehicles.

Automobile electronics installers may also be called car stereo installers or car alarm installers.


Vehicles contain many electronic components, including:

Automotive electronics installers talk to customers to find out what they need. If the customer has not already purchased their electronic equipment, installers make recommendations about buying equipment.

Installers must remove the seats, carpeting, and inside padding to make room for wiring and some of the equipment. Wires and cables are run through the vehicle. Sometimes installers have to split and splice the wires. They use power tools, drills, and pliers.

Installers sometimes must build enclosures to house larger items such as woofers and speakers. When everything is installed properly, installers replace the seats, carpeting, padding, or anything else they may have taken out.

Installers also repair electronic equipment. They use a variety of tools to diagnose and test problems. Sometimes cleaning is all that is needed, but often additional repairs are necessary.

Installers keep records of their installations and repairs.

Related careers

This career is part of the Transportation, Distribution, and Logistics cluster of careers.

Related careers include:

Job duties

Task list

The following list of tasks is specific to automotive electronics installers.

Common work activities

Automotive electronics installers perform the following tasks. These tasks are common to many careers.

Work requirements

Working conditions

In a typical work setting, automotive electronics installers:

Interpersonal relationships

Physical work conditions

Work performance


Physical demands

Automotive electronics installers frequently:

It is important for automotive electronics installers to be able to:

It is not as important, but still necessary, for automotive electronics installers to be able to:

Skills and abilities

Automotive electronics installers need to:


Reason and problem solve

Manage oneself, people, time, and things

Work with people

Work with things

Perceive and visualize

Education and training

Educational programs

The programs of study listed below will help you prepare for the occupation or career cluster you are exploring.

Programs of study directly related to this occupation

Other programs of study to consider


To work as an automotive electronics installer, you typically need to:

Education after high school

Some automotive electronics installers complete a formal training program in mobile electronics installation and repair. Professional-technical schools or two-year colleges offer these programs. They grant a certificate or associate degree. In these programs you learn to read schematic drawings, analyze problems, and follow safety procedures.

On-the-job training

Automotive electronics installers typically learn through on-the-job training. This usually lasts up to one year. An experienced worker teaches you the skills needed for the job. You begin as a helper and do basic tasks. As you gain experience you work on more complex tasks.

Helpful high school courses

You should take a general high school curriculum that meets the state's graduation requirements (external link). You will be required to take both math and science classes to graduate. You should consider taking Algebra and Geometry as your math courses and Chemistry and Physics as your science courses.

Helpful electives to take in high school that prepare you for this career include:

The courses listed above are meant to help you create your high school plan. If you have not already done so, talk to a school counselor or parent about the courses you are considering taking.

You should also check with a teacher or counselor to see if work-based learning opportunities are available in your school and community. These might include field trips, job shadowing, internships, and actual work experience. The goal of these activities is to help you connect your school experiences with real-life work.

Join some groups, try some hobbies, or volunteer with an organization that interests you. By participating in activities you can have fun, make new friends, and learn about yourself. Maybe one of them will help direct you to a future career. Here are examples of activities and groups (PDF file) that may be available in your high school or community.

Things to know

Most employers prefer applicants who have completed a formal training program. Experience installing automotive equipment as a hobby may also be helpful. Employers also look for applicants with strong reading, math, and computer skills. These skills allow installers to read and understand technical manuals and to keep up with new technology. Employers also look for installers who can diagnose problems quickly and correctly.

Industry certification, such as the Mobile Electronics Certified Professional (MECP), may be required by some shops. Certification can be obtained through the Consumer Technology Association. More information on this organization can be found in the Other Resources section of this description.

Costs to workers

Workers may have to buy their own tools and test equipment. Some workers may want to become certified and would need to pay for study materials and testing.

#Verified certification info 2/7/18 cj.

Job listings

Listed below are links to job categories from the National Labor Exchange that relate to this career. Once you get a list of jobs, you can view information about individual jobs and find out how to apply. If your job search finds too many openings, or if you wish to search for jobs outside of Washington, you will need to refine your search.

To get a listing of current jobs from the WorkSource system, go to the WorkSource website (external link).


Electronic equipment installers and repairers, motor vehicles (SOC 49-2096)

Pay Period
Washington Hourly $15.46 $18.81 $25.64 $30.56 $35.86
Monthly $2,679 $3,260 $4,443 $5,296 $6,215
Yearly $32,150 $39,120 $53,320 $63,570 $74,590
    Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue Hourly $16.28 $21.01 $27.07 $31.39 $36.86
Monthly $2,821 $3,641 $4,691 $5,440 $6,388
Yearly $33,863 $43,690 $56,309 $65,295 $76,666
    Vancouver Hourly $19.90 $20.85 $22.42 $23.99 $24.93
Monthly $3,449 $3,613 $3,885 $4,157 $4,320
Yearly $41,409 $43,366 $46,628 $49,889 $51,846
United States Hourly $10.69 $13.65 $17.11 $21.15 $25.06
Monthly $1,853 $2,366 $2,965 $3,665 $4,343
Yearly $22,230 $28,390 $35,590 $43,980 $52,120

Wages vary depending on the employer and the area of the country. Wages also vary according to the level of skill and experience of the installer.

Benefits vary by employer. Many full-time automotive electronics installers receive benefits. These may include paid vacation, sick leave, and health insurance.

Employment and outlook

Washington outlook


The table below provides information about the number of workers in this career in various regions. It also provides information about the expected growth rate and future job openings.

Electronic Equipment Installers and Repairers, Motor Vehicles (SOC 49-2096)

Location Current employment Growth over 10 years Annual openings
Washington 198 -4.5% 16.1% 17
    Island, San Juan, Skagit, and Whatcom Counties 18 -22.2% 14.6% 1
    King County 127 3.1% 19.6% 13
    Snohomish County 29 -10.3% 12.4% 2
United States 11,000 -28.2% 5.2% 800

National employment

Major employers:

National outlook

Demand for this occupation will decline sharply as better sound and security systems are installed by car manufacturers. The new equipment is reliable and does not require a lot of maintenance.

Job prospects will be best for people with an associate degree in electronics and an industry certification.

Other resources

The International Society of Certified Electronics Technicians (external link)
P. O. Box 378
Hillsboro, TX 76645


Career cluster

Career path

O*Net (external link) occupation

O*Net job zone (external link)

DOT occupations

Holland occupational cluster