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Martin P. Durkin, Secretary


Ewan Clague, Com m issioner

Occupational Outlook Series

Bulletin No. 1131


Employment Outlook For


A Report on Draftsmen, Engineering Aids,
Laboratory Technicians, and Electronic Technicians

Bulletin No. 1131
Martin P. Durkin, Secretary
Ewan Clague, Com m issioner

in cooperation with
For sale by the Superintendent of Documents, U. S. Government Printing Office, Washington 25, D. C. - Price 25 cents

Cover picture— Technician operating vacuum distillation equipment.

Letter of Transmittal
U nited S tates D epartm ent of L abor ,
B u r ea u of L abor S tatistics ,

Washington, D. C., April 15, 1953.
The S ecretary of L abo r :
I have the honor to transmit herewith a report on the employment outlook
for technicians. This is one of a series of reports made available through the
Bureau’s Occupational Outlook Service for use in the vocational counseling
of young people in school, veterans, and others interested in selecting an occu­
pation. The study was financed largely by the Veterans Administration, and
the report was originally published as a Veterans Administration pamphlet
for use in vocational rehabilitation and education activities.
In view of the shortage of scientific manpower and the essential contribu­
tions technicians make to the national defense and welfare, it is important
that information on employment opportunities in these occupations be made
available to young people possessing the necessary aptitudes for and interest
in such work.
This study was conducted in the Bureau’s Division of Manpower and
Employment Statistics. The report was prepared by Howard Rosen under
the immediate supervision of Cora E. Taylor. Sylvia K. Lawrence assisted
in the library research. The Bureau wishes to acknowledge generous assistance
and cooperation from the various organizations and individuals interested in
the education and employment of technicians.
E wan C lague , Commissioner.
Hon. M artin P. D u r k in ,
Secretary of Labor.



Nature of work______________________________________________________________
Engineering aids________________________________________________________
Laboratory technicians and physical-science aids___________________________
Electronic technicians____________________________________________________
Related technician occupations______________________________________
Where employed____________________________________________________________
Private industry_________________________________________________________
Federal Government_____________________________________________________
How to become a technician__________________________________________________
Technical institutes______________________________________________________
Junior colleges__________________________________________________________
Training in industry_____________________________________________________
Other training_____________________ _____________________________________
Entrance requirements___________________________________________________
Selection of school_______________________________________________________
Employment experience of technician graduates___________________________
Employment prospects_______________________________________________________
Past trends________________________________
Private industry_________________________________________________________
Laboratory assistants in the industrial chemicals industry______________
Broadcasting engineers and technicians_______________________________
Technical institute and junior collegegraduates________________________
Federal Government_____________________________________________________



1. —Employment of selected occupational groups in 102 industrial chemical plants
in 6 regions, October 1951______________________________________________
2. —Distribution of personnel in selected technician occupations in Federal Govern­
ment, by agency, June 30, 1951_________________________________________
3. —Average straight-time weekly earnings for male draftsmen, in selected metro­
politan areas, June 1951-January 1952__________________________________
4. —Average weekly hours and earnings of selected full-time employees in radio and
television stations with 15 or more employees, October 1950_______________
5. —Percent distribution of 501 technical institute graduates, by weekly salary,
December 1950________________________________________________________
6. —Percent distribution by grade, and average annual salary of Federal Government
employees in selected technician occupations, June 30, 1951_______________


Employment of technicians in industrial laboratories is rising rapidly____________


A—Sources of information on training opportunities____________________________
B—Examples of curricula offered by schools training technicians________________
C—Job-cluster and promotion sequence_______________________________________
D—Technical occupations listed as critical_____________________________________
E—Samples of Federal civil service requirements for selected technical occupations.


Photographs are by courtesy of Rochester Institute of Technology, Capitol Radio Engineering Institute, American
Association of Junior Colleges, General Foods Corporation, and U. S. Coast and Geodetic Survey.


Employment Outlook for Technicians
Technicians who work with professional en­
gineers and scientists are a relatively new occupa­
tional group emerging from the growing complexity
of this country's industrial processes and the great
expansion in industrial research and development
work. The past half century has seen a tremen­
dous increase in the application of science and
engineering to industrial and military problems.
This growing reliance on scientific principles and
techniques has resulted in a sharp increase in the
employment of engineers, chemists, and, more
recently, physicists. In addition, an increasing
number of workers with a combination of basic
scientific knowledge and manual skill are being
employed as assistants to professional personnel.
These workers, often referred to as technicians,
are the subject of this report.1
Technicians work as members of an engineering
or scientific team in research and production plan­
ning, and in designing, constructing, and main­
taining the materials and machines of our massproduction economy. Approximately 2 years of
post-high-school training are needed usually. In
addition to basic mathematics and science, they
must have specialized education in some branch
of engineering or other technical fields such as
electricity or industrial chemistry.

Some of the main technician occupations covered
by this report are those of the electronic technician,
draftsman, laboratory technician, physical-science
aid, and engineering aid. It was not possible to
include in the present study all the many kinds of
jobs held by technicians. The report is concerned
only with the types of workers who work with
engineers, physicists, and chemists.2
The current international crisis has greatly
intensified America's need for engineers and
scientists. These professional workers can improve
their efficiency and increase their total output by
having technicians perform some of the more
routine tasks. Thus, technicians have an impor­
tant part in strengthening America's technical and
military position. Demand for their services has
been rising sharply since the current defense pro­
gram began and will probably continue to mount
in the near future. Furthermore, the long-term
outlook is for expansion in their employment.
This report describes the nature of the work
performed by technicians and the fields in which
they are employed. Information is given also on
how one can become a technician and on future
employment prospects. The concluding chapter
summarizes the available data on technicians'

Nature of Work
Technicians work alongside engineers and scien­
tists in a great variety of industries and at all
stages of production—from the origin of a product
on the drawing board to its sale to the customer.
When a new product is being developed, drafts­
men assist the engineers in translating their
design ideas into production. As the time for
actual production approaches, other technicians
aid in working out specifications regarding needed
materials and methods of manufacture. During

the production process, still other technically
trained workers serve as inspectors and supervisors.
Furthermore, manufacturers often depend on
salesmen with a technical background to sell
machinery or other specialized products, especially
if these are to be used in industry. Though many
technical salesmen have professional engineering
degrees, others with less professional training
often can sell equally well.

2 The medical field is another important area in which technicians are em­
ployed. For information on medical laboratory technicians, medical X-ray
1 The occupations covered in this report fall within the semiprofessional technicians, and dental hygienists, see Occupational Outlook Handbook,
Bureau of Labor Statistics Bulletin No. 998, XI. S. Government Printing
classification of the Dictionary of Occupational Titles, vol. II, 2d ed. Codes
Office, Washington 25, D. C., 1951.
assigned are in the 0-4. through 0-6. series.




Laboratory technicians assist scientists in re­
search and development work or perform functions
related to production control or testing. They
may perform simple tests or do highly technical
analytical work depending on their training and
experience. Some technicians supervise other
workers in a particular department of the labora­
The work of technicians, whether in research or
production, varies greatly among industries and
among plants in the same industry. Even within
a single plant, workers classed as technicians may
perform duties ranging from simple routine tasks
to those of a highly technical nature. Because of
wide variation in the types of work of technicians,
it is difficult to give an over-all description of the
nature of their work. However, the following
definition, which applies particularly to the work­
ers closely associated with professional engineers
(draftsmen, tool designers, engineering aids, and
assistants), seems to capture the “flavor” of the
work involved in many technician occupations.3
“The technician is a person who works at a job
which requires applied technical knowledge and
applied technical skill. His work, in this respect, is
somewhat akin to that of the engineer, but usually
the scope is narrower. His job also requires some
manipulative skills—those necessary to handle prop­
erly the tools and instruments needed to perform the
technical tasks.
“In his special field, he has considerable technical
knowledge of industrial processes, and in this field he
knows how to apply the necessary principles of the
physical sciences and of mathematics. In general,
he uses instruments, in contrast with tools. His
contribution is mainly through mental effort, in con­
trast with muscular exertion.
“The job of the technician is not easy to define.
On the one hand, it has many of the characteristics
of engineering, on the other, many of the qualities
associated with the skilled trades. Some technician
jobs lean toward the engineering type, jobs which
consist mainly of drafting, computations, and labora­
tory testing. Others border on the skilled crafts,
such as those which deal with repair of mechanical or
electrical equipment where much technical ‘know­
how* is demanded but which also require consider­
able manual skill. It hardly seems practical to set
up clearly defined boundaries within which lie all
technician jobs.
“We also find great differences in the ‘levels’ of
jobs of technician type. A job may be definitely
technical in character, yet be extremely limited in

3 Unpublished definition by Dr. Lynn A. Emerson, Director, Instruc­
tional Materials Laboratory, New York State School of Industrial and
Labor Relations, Cornell University, Ithaca, N. Y.

scope and of a repetitive type. Certain simple
inspection jobs are in this category. Yet other
technician jobs may require a high quality of tech­
nical knowledge and technical skill, such as all-round
tool and gage inspection, which requires the use of
many types of instruments.
“The kinds of technical ability found in the various
technician jobs are of considerable variety. Some
jobs emphasize analysis and diagnosis. Some require
visualization of drawings, or a flair for creative design.
Some demand a high degree of applied mathematical
ability. Some require a knowledge of practices in
the skilled trades, but not the ability to perform the
skilled tasks. Some require extensive understanding
of industrial equipment and processes. Sometimes
the job involves supervisory responsibilities, and com­
bines skill in handling people with skill in dealing
with technological matters.”

Although all jobs held by technicians who work
with engineers and scientists have some common
characteristics—notably, that they require a knowl­
edge and practical application of mathematics and
physical science—the nature of the work performed
differs considerably among occupations. The kind
of work done by some of the larger groups of tech­
nicians is described in the following sections.

Draftsmen prepare exact detailed drawings from
sketches or specifications furnished by engineers or
designers. Their work involves the use of small
instruments such as compasses, protractors, tri­
angles, dividers, scales, T-squares, special drafting
pencils, and lettering pens. They may have to
make calculations not only with respect to the
dimensions of an object but also with respect to
its weight and tensile strength.
Draftsmen use their knowledge of mathematics
in these calculations and in referring to engineering
handbooks for information on tolerances, tensile
strength, gear ratios, typas of threads, sizes of
bolts, metal finishes and composition, and related
matters. They use descriptive geometry in por­
traying objects in their correct relationships,
according to distance and size. In drawing plans
for machine parts, a draftsman may also use his
knowledge of physics and engineering.
Most of the draftsmen in an engineering team
are mechanical draftsmen who specialize in the
drawing of machines or parts. Others are spe­
cialists in aeronautical, marine, electrical, geolog­
ical, topographical, and similar fields.



Draftsman specialized in map making.

Draftsmen usually begin their careers as copy­
ists or tracers. At this level, their work is routine
and requires relatively little knowledge and skill.
With additional experience and training, workers
may advance to detailers, junior draftsmen, senior
draftsmen, and chief draftsmen.
Engineering Aids

Engineering aids assist engineers in production
planning and research. In general they work
under the supervision of an engineer and perform
specialized functions requiring less cultural and
theoretical training than is provided by a profes­
sional engineering course. Their work usually
239645— 53-------2

requires a knowledge of some specialized field—
for example, electrical, mechanical, or some other
branch of engineering, or an industry such as
petroleum, ship construction, or aircraft manu­
The aid may* assist the engineer in production
planning by designing and analyzing layouts.
When production begins, he may make tests,
record data, make computations, work on produc­
tion methods, or check materials. He may also
act as the liaison or contact man between the
engineering department and the drafting depart­
ment, tool room, and production department.
In the field of research, engineering aids perform
tests with regard to such matters as stress, strain,



motion, and impact. They may set up, calibrate,
and operate instruments such as revolution coun­
ters or torsion meters. They may also test and
calibrate electrical control devices employing vacu­
um-tube circuits. And they may make calcu­
lations with respect to weight, centers of gravity,
and a variety of other problems.
Many of the jobs performed b}7 engineering aids
require them to make rough drawings. Two of
their basic tools are slide rules, used in making
quick mathematical calculations, and micrometers,
used in making exact measurements.
Entry jobs for engineering aids often require
only the performance of routine tasks under close

supervision. With additional experience, the aids,
because of their technical background, may be
given more responsible jobs which require greater
use of judgment. In the more advanced jobs, they
will usually be expected to make the fullest utiliza­
tion of their educational preparation by perform­
ing highly technical work with a minimum of
Laboratory Technicians and Physical-Science Aids

These workers assist chemists, physicists, and
engineers in laboratories. Much of their work
involves conducting routine tests and recording the

Testing gelatin in a food products laboratory.


results—often in the form of reports, charts, or
graphs—for interpretation by the professional
Laboratory technicians and physical-science aids
must be familiar with a wide range of testing
equipment and apparatus such as dilatometers,
temperature control instruments, interferometers,
analytical balances, burettes, pipettes, centrifuges,
and furnaces. Technicians who assist physicists
may prepare samples for testing—performing tasks
like marking, measuring, drying, and weighing
materials or items. Some of the more common
tests are: liquid limit, plastic limit, shrinkage limit,
expansion and contraction, tensile strength, and
compression strength. Those technicians who
work with chemists may do both qualitative and
quantitative chemical analyses. Some of the
common analyses are: analysis of steel for carbon
phosphorous and sulphur content, analysis of oil
for viscosity and flash point, and mineral analysis
of water for amount of silicia, iron, and calcium
Laboratory technicians and physical-science aids
may, like the engineering aids, begin their work in
routine jobs and advance to positions of greater
responsibility after they have acquired additional
experience and demonstrated their ability to work
without close supervision.
Electronic Technicians

The electronic technicians considered within the
scope of this report have a background of electronic
theory, physical science, and mathematics which
enables them to perform jobs above the routine
operating, maintenance, and repair level. Their
work usually requires them to make practical
application of their theoretical knowledge. The
practical part of their job may call for the use of
such basic tools as pliers, screw drivers, wrenches,
soldering irons, and metal punches, whereas the
theoretical part of their job may call for the use,
understanding, and interpretation of results ob­
tained from instruments such as oscilloscopes,
signal generators, ohmmeters, ammeters, volt­
meters, multitesters, and Q-meters. Their work
often calls for a combination of manual skills in
handling simple tools and a knowledge of complex
testing equipment. They must be able to read
and interpret layout and other diagrams, use
mathematical formulas for circuit work, and wire


intricate electronic units.
The electronic technicians working in labora­
tories construct, test, install, modify, operate, and
under certain conditions, design experimental
electronic apparatus. They may be called upon to
offer ideas and suggestions, devise practical solu­
tions to problems of design, select suitable mate­
rials and methods of construction, evaluate the
operating characteristics of the equipment, and in
other ways contribute to the research and develop­
ment process.
In industry, electronic technicians may perform
“trouble-shooting” functions or do the more
complicated types of testing and inspection work.
An important function of electronic technicians
associated with production is the building of
testing equipment. They apply their technical
knowledge principally to communications equip­
ment. Some of the devices with which electronic
technicians work are in radio, television, facsimile,
and telephony operations. The more specialized
applications in the field include radar, sonar, radio
navigational equipment, and radiosonde.
Related Technician Occupations

In addition to the occupations described above,
a wide range of related jobs are open to persons
trained as technicians. For example, persons
trained as electronic technicians can often qualify
also as broadcasting engineers and technicians
in the radio and television industry, or as in­
spectors, draftsmen, or estimators in the electric
light and power or telephone and telegraph in­
dustries.4 Technicians can move not only from
one industry to another, but into many different
jobs within the same industry. A list of related
jobs into which technicians with the same basic
training may move is given in appendix C (p. 24).
The wide range of jobs open to technicians is
illustrated by the following list of occupations,
requiring vocational-technical training, found on
the payrolls of four industries.5
Air transportation: engineering assistant, flight
engineer, instrument technician, and technical
4 Further information on many related occupations and industries may
be found in the Occupational Outlook publications listed at the end of this
5 Vocational Technical Training for Industrial Occupations, Vocational
Division Bulletin No. 228, U. S. Office of Education, Federal Security
Agency, Washington, D. C., U. S. Government Printing Office, 1944.



Aircraft manufacturing: time study analyst,
tool designer, engineering draftsman, engineering
technician, laboratory technician, and junior
aerodynamics engineer.6
Automobile manufacturing: chemical analyst,
die designer, dynamometer technician, experi­
mental technician, chemical laboratory assistant,
physics laboratory assistant, metallurgical tech­
nician, and production supervisor.
Communications equipment manufacturing: detailer draftsman, engineering assistant, instrument

maker, material specification writer, production
supervisor, and test maintenance man.
Some of the job titles listed above, as well as
many others used by employers in referring to
technicians, do not accurately describe the duties
performed nor the requirements for a job. Fur­
thermore, job titles overlap and differ greatly
among companies. Trained technicians doing
the same type of work may be given titles as
engineering aid, junior engineer, physical-science
aid, or laboratory assistant.7

Where Employed
Private Industry

Technicians are employed in a wide range of
industries, in both large and small companies.
In general, large companies employing many
engineers and scientists are the greatest source
of employment for technicians. Technicians, how­
ever, are used also by smaller establishments,
when the technology of the industry makes it
advantageous to employ them.
The variety of industries in which technicians
find jobs is indicated by a study of selected estab­
lishments in the following 22 industries:8
Air transportation
Aircraft manufacturing
Automobile manufacturing
Building construction
Communications equip­
ment manufacturing
Electric power production
and distribution
Electrical equipment man­
Hydroelectric development
Industrial chemistry
Industrial electronics
Iron and steel production
Lumbering and wood proc­

Machine tool manufactur­
Metal mining
Metal products manufac­
Oil refining
Petroleum and butadiene
Pulp and paper manufac­
Rail transportation
Telegraph and telephone
communications service
Textile and garment man­

All these industries were found to employ
technicians. Altogether, several hundred differ­
6 This payroll designation, like all others in the list, referred to a job not
requiring 4-year college training.
7 In an effort to standardize the terminology used in referring to persons
performing technician-type jobs, the Technical Institute Division of the
American Society for Engineering Education recently adopted a resolution
to advocate use of the title “engineering technician.”
8 See footnote 5.

ent job titles referring to positions requiring
vocational-technical training were listed on the
payrolls of the companies surveyed.
Widespread employment of technicians is also
indicated by studies made in New York, Califor­
nia, Texas, and Louisiana. According to a
1945-46 survey in New York City and up-State
New York, an estimated total of about 25,000
technicians were employed in the metal products
manufacturing industries, 10,000 in printing,
6,000 in electric light and power, and 5,000 in the
chemical manufacturing industries.9 Other indus­
tries employing more than a thousand technicians
at the time of the New York survey were optical
goods manufacturing; subway and water trans­
portation; construction; and steel, paper, and
aircraft manufacturing. A 1950 California study
indicated that aircraft manufacturers and utility
companies employed many of these workers.10
Similarly, a 1951 survey in the Dallas-Fort Worth
area disclosed many technicians employed by five
companies engaged in the manufacture of air­
planes, airplane engines, aircraft parts, and guided
missiles.11 In Louisiana, a significant number of
technicians were employed in each of the follow­
ing eight manufacturing industries, according to
a 1950 study.12
9 Beach, C. Kenneth and Associates, Technical Occupations in the State
of New York, The University of the State of New York, the State Educa­
tion Department, Albany, March 30,1946, pt. IV, p. 6, and pt. V, p. 6.
70 Rodes, Harold P., A Report on a Preliminary Survey of the Needs of
California Industries and Governmental Agencies for Personnel with Train­
ing of Technical Institute Type (mimeographed), University of California,
Los Angeles, 1950.
71 Regional Defense Manpower Administration, Report of Training Need
Survey and Costs—Engineering and Subprofessional, Dallas-Fort Worth
area, September 1951.
12 Hampton, Thomas Edgar, A Study of Technical Occupations in
Louisiana Industry, Department of Commerce and Industry, State of
Louisiana, 1950.


Chemical and allied prod­
Petroleum and coal prod­
Sawmills and planing mills
Paper and allied products

Printing, publishing, and
allied products
Ship- and boatbuilding and
Rice cleaning and polishing
Malt liquors

The two industries employing the largest num­
bers of technicians were those producing chemical
and allied products and petroleum and coal
The fact that companies manufacturing aircraft
engines depend on technicians to assist their
engineers and scientists is also indicated by data
received in the early part of 1952. Technicians
constituted 3.6 percent of the 65,851 employees of
the 6 reporting companies. Professional personnel
consisting mainly of physicists, mathematicians,
engineers, and chemists, represented about the
same proportion (3.8 percent) of the total number
of workers.
The use of technicians in chemical production
varies considerably with the type of plant or
product. However, in 102 industrial chemical
plants manufacturing a variety of products 3.6
percent of all the employees were draftsmen and
laboratory assistants, according to a 1951 survey
(table 1). In these plants there were, on the
average, 10 laboratory assistants for every 28
professional workers.
1.— Employment of selected occupational groups in
102 industrial chemical plants in 6 regions, October

T able

Occupational group
All employees___________________________
Professional employees________________________
Laboratory assistants________ _______ _________
All other employees___________________________

79, 751
2 6,209
3 2, 242
70, 624


1 Data for the following regions: Southwest, Border States, New England,
Southeast, Pacific, and Middle Atlantic.
2 Includes 65 women chemists.
3 Includes 463 women.
S o u rc e : Unpublished data of U. S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor

Although technicians are to be found in many
different departments of factories, a large number
are employed in laboratories. In 1950, more than
40,000 technicians were in the Nation’s industrial
research laboratories (see chart). These techni­
cians carried on research and testing activities,
thus enabling the professional scientists to devote
more of their time to work requiring greater


Operating a vacuum evaporator in an industrial chemistry

scientific training. For every 17 professional
workers an average of 10 technicians were em­
ployed in the industrial laboratories.
Federal Government

The Federal Government is an important
employer of technicians in times of both peace and
emergency. Most Government technicians of the
types covered in this report are in jobs classified
in the following categories or series: engineering
aid, engineering drafting, surveying and cartog­
raphy, physical-science aid, and electronic tech­
nician. The jobs in each of these categories are
classified according to grade level. The lower
grade jobs may be entered by persons without
post-high-school education.13 Furthermore, some
of the highest grade jobs are primarily adminis­
trative rather than technical.14 On the other
hand, some occupations in the Government which
are not included in table 2 are open to persons with
training and experience as technicians; such
occupations are chiefly classified with various
mechanics groups and are not easily identified.
13 See appendix E for Civil Service requirements for some technician occu­
pations. Further information on job qualifications and procedures in apply­
ing for Government positions may be obtained from the U. S. Civil Service
Commission, Washington 25, D. C., and from State and local governments.
» For the distribution of Federal Government employees by grade level,
see table 6, p. 20.



T able 2.— D is tr ib u tio n of person n el in selected tech n icia n o ccu p a tio n s in F ederal G overn m en t, b y agen cy, J u n e 3 0, 1951
Total, selected occupations


Total. _____________________________________
N avy_____________________________________________
Air Force____ __________________ _________________
Agriculture------------------------------------------------------------Tennessee Valley Authority________ _ . _________
Federal Security Agency___________________________
State_____ ____ _______________ ________________ Treasury_________________________________ ______
Veterans Administration________ _______ __________
Atomic Energy Commission________________________
Justice. __________________________________________
General Services Administration. __________________
All other agencies............................ .......... ............................

Surveying Engineering PhysicalEngineering and
drafting science aid
aid series * raphycartog­
series2 series3
series *



Percent distribution of workers in jobs classified in—












series 5

1 Includes engineering aid and student-aid trainee.
2 Includes cartographer, cartographic aid, and student-aid trainee.
3 Includes draftsman (patent) and engineering draftsman.
< Includes scientific aid (cotton), scientific aid (nautical), student-aid trainee, computer, and physical-science aid.
6Includes electronic technician and laboratory electronic mechanic.
6 Less than 0.05 percent.
S o u r c e : Bureau of Labor Statistics and Civil Service Commission, BLS Bulletin No. 1117, Federal White-Collar Workers, Their Occupations and
Salaries, June 1951, in process.

As of June 30, 1951, the Federal Government
had 28,436 employees in the 5 selected technician
groups (table 2). About 17,000 or 60 percent of
these technicians were working in the Department
of Defense—in the Army, Navy, and Air Force.
The Department of the Interior was the largest
employer of technicians among the civilian agen­
cies, with the Departments of Commerce and
Agriculture ranking next.
The Department of the Army employed more
than 32 percent of the workers in jobs classed in
the engineering aid series, and the Department of
the Interior was the second largest employer of
these workers. More than 50 percent of the persons
in surveying and cartography jobs15 were working

for the Departments of the Army and the Interior.
The Department of the Navy was the largest em­
ployer of workers in engineering drafting jobs; the
Army and Navy together employed over 72 per­
cent of these workers. The Departments of Com­
merce, the Interior, Army, and Navy had more
than 70 percent of the physical-science aids on
their payrolls. Of the electronic technician group,
45 percent were employed chiefly in the Depart­
ment of Commerce, where large numbers are
needed by the Civil Aeronautics Administration
and the National Bureau of Standards. The re­
search laboratories and other units of the Depart­
ment of the Navy employed over one-fourth of the
electronic technicians.

How To Become a Technician
Not all persons who work as technicians are
specifically trained for their occupations. Engi­
neering college dropouts, graduates and dropouts
of liberal arts colleges, and other persons who have
received some post-high-school education often
take technical positions. Some workers qualify
as technicians through experience only. Young
» For a detailed description of the field of cartography in the Federal Gov­
ernment, see Cartographic Work in the Federal Civil Service, Pamphlet
No. 40, U. S. Civil Service Commission, Washington, D . C., February 1950.

men and women who wish to prepare specifically
for careers as technicians can, however, obtain
formal education for this work from at least eight
sources; namely, technical institutes, junior col­
leges, extension divisions of universities, colleges
offering 2-year special programs, technical high
schools, training programs operated by industry
and business, correspondence schools, and voca­
tional-technical training given by trade schools,
primarily in their evening classes.


Technicians need a good basic knowledge of mathematics and

The type of education given prospective tech­
nicians is often described as “vocational-techni­
cal,” i. e., vocational in objective and technical in
content. The education is designed to enable the
technician to become productive immediately
upon entering industry; it is expected that only a
minimum of on-tlie-job training will be necessary
to make him useful to his employer. Schools pre­
paring students for technician jobs give courses in
applied science, applied mathematics, and applied
engineering, with subject-matter related to the
practical problems students will face on the job
(for examples of curricula, see appendix B).
Students are also taught basic skills in the use of
instruments, machinery, and tools. This training,
however, is designed to familiarize the student
with equipment rather than to develop manual
skill. In contrast to the skilled craftsman whose
job depends primarily upon his manipulative
ability, a technician often uses instruments and
machinery merely as an aid in applying his scien­
tific knowledge to a particular problem.
A brief discussion of some of the types of educa­
tional institutions and other sources where young
people can obtain training as technicians follows.
Technical Institutes

These schools offer 1, 2, or 3 years of training
above the high-school level, 2 years being the most
usual training period.


The programs of technical institutes are specifi­
cally designed to give prospective technicians a
vocational-technical background. A student is
prepared for some specific job or cluster of related
jobs. In general the student receives less theoreti­
cal and general education than is provided by 4year engineering and academic colleges.
Some schools offer cooperative programs, under
which a student spends part of his time in school
and part in employment related to the occupation
for which he is preparing himself. It may take
more than 2 years to complete the course at the
technical institute with a cooperative program, but
this type of program gives students valuable expe­
rience in industrial situations, which often out­
weighs the disadvantage of a longer training period.
In addition, students participating in cooperative
plans are able to pay for at least a part of their
educational expenses from income derived from
their work.
Most technical institutes conduct both day and
evening sessions. Evening classes are of particular
importance to students who, for financial reasons,
must have full-time jobs. Often, employed
workers can up-grade themselves to higher level
technician jobs or obtain sufficient training to
shift from one field of work to a technician’s job
by attending evening classes. Almost half of all
the students attending technical institutes in 1951
were enrolled in evening and special courses.
Some technical institutes offer associate degrees
which signify that the student has completed at
least 2 years of college-level work. However, if a
prospective student desires eventually to obtain a
degree from a 4-year college, he should investigate
in advance whether his technical institute credits
are transferable to the college of his choice.
Although some colleges will give full credit for
work taken at technical institutes, others will give
either partial or no credit.
The amount of general education offered at tech­
nical institutes varies greatly. Some schools offer
intensive training for technical occupations but
almost no general education, whereas other schools
require their students to devote as much as 25
percent of their time to such courses as English
and history, and 75 percent to specific courses in
their vocational field. In selecting a school, the
advantages and disadvantages of both types of



curricula must be considered by the prospective
student in the light of his future needs as a citizen
and a worker.
The direct method of teaching used in many
technical institutes does not emphasize homework
and “book study” as much as academic colleges.
In many cases, the emphasis is on teaching job
techniques rather than theory. To familiarize the
students with instruments and equipment found
in industry, considerable laboratory work is re­
quired. However, manual skills are not stressed
as much as in vocational schools which prepare
students for skilled jobs.
Technical institutes offering similar programs
are operated under a variety of types of control
which may be categorized as State and municipal,
privately endowed, extension divisions of colleges
and universities, proprietary, and YMCA schools.
Altogether, there were about 64 technical insti­
tutes with a total of more than 46,000 students in
Eleven 2-year institutes in New York, a leading
State in the education of technicians, offer a wide
choice of curricula under the auspices of the State
University. There is no tuition charge to residents
of New York State. The schools are strategically
located throughout the State, for the convenience
of both students and industry. A close working
relationship exists between the schools and local
advisory groups who examine the curricula and
make suggestions affecting the preparation of
students for technical occupations. In October
1951, 7,333 students were enrolled in the 11 New
York State technical institutes; about 3,150 of
these students were preparing for work as tech­
nicians of the types covered in this report. This
latter figure included students enrolled for tech­
nical study in chemistry, electricity, industrial
instrumentation, metallurgy, aircraft instruments,
construction, and many other occupational fields
open to the technician. The New York State
institutes, like many other schools, prepare stu­
dents for “job clusters.” This type of preparation
enables graduates to qualify for a wide range of
jobs (appendix C). All graduates of these insti­
tutes are awarded the associate in applied science
10 Smith, Leo F., “Annual Survey of Technical Institutes, 1951-52,”
Technical Education News, vol. XL, No. 4, June 1952.
17 A list of junior colleges offering technician training is available from the
American Association of Junior Colleges, 1785 Massachusetts Avenue, NW.,
Washington 6, D. C.

Junior Colleges

Some of the approximately 500 junior or “com­
munity” colleges in the country also prepare stu­
dents for technician occupations in industry and
Government.17 These schools usually offer 2 years
of post-high-school education. It is common
practice to award the degree of associate in arts
upon completion of the 2-year program.
Not all junior colleges are equipped to give
technical training of the type described in this
report, nor do most of them consider this their
primary purpose. Many of them do not have the
shop and laboratory facilities required for thorough
technical training. Furthermore, in contrast with
the technical institutes which concentrate upon
terminal education (after which the student is not
ordinarily expected to take advanced work else­
where), junior colleges also give academic courses
equivalent to those offered in the freshman and
sophomore years of 4-year colleges, so that stu­
dents can begin with the junior year in such
Junior college courses in technical fields are
usually planned around the employment needs of
the industries in the community where the college
is located. The training programs for prospective
technicians therefore vary and may be highly
specialized. In some cases, the courses are de­
signed to meet the specifications of one or two
industries or even of a single plant. For example,
in California, where the junior college movement
has made great progress, several of the colleges in
the southern part of the State offer technical
training for jobs in the aircraft industry (appen­
dix B).
Many junior colleges are important adult educa­
tion centers and offer extensive part-time courses
at night. Through appropriate courses at junior
colleges, as at technical institutes, workers may
prepare themselves for higher grade jobs. Adult
and special students accounted for more than half
the total enrollment in junior colleges in 1950-51.18
Training in Industry

Some large corporations conduct training pro­
grams for technicians. This type of training is
primarily technical and rarely includes any general
studies. Instruction is given either through for­
mal classes or through training on the job.
is American Association of Junior Colleges, Junior College Directory, 19


Workers who receive their training on the job onlydo not usually get as much theory as those who
receive classroom instruction.
Other employers who do not have training pro­
grams but are aware of the need for technically
trained workers often encourage their employees
to attend classes in local schools. Employers
sometimes ask the schools to arrange special edu­
cational programs which will expand the technical
background of their employees. Some large cor­
porations reimburse their employees for tuition
after they have completed the course satisfactorily.
The workers are usually expected to take courses
directly related to their work assignment, and are
often allowed to attend classes on the employers’


improve their job status by acquiring a technical
background. Other technical high schools give an
additional year of schooling above the regular
fourth year. This extra year is at the vocationaltechnical level and is offered to students who are
interested in becoming technicians.

Other Training

Training for some occupations in the technician
category may be obtained through a formal ap­
prenticeship lasting more than 2 years. Occupa­
tions of which this is true include those of tool and
die designer and draftsman. Supplementary edu­
cation in mathematics and science may be neces­
sary in some cases. Persons interested in appren­
tice training can obtain further information from
the local office of their State Employment Service,
directly from employers, or from the local labor
union concerned with the occupation they wish to
learn (appendix A). High-school graduates are
given preference for openings. During normal
times, the age of apprentices at the start of train­
ing is generally from 17 to 22 years. However,
World War II veterans who were older have been
admitted for training.
Although most of the jobs considered in this re­
port require post-high-school education or the
equivalent in experience, a few technical high
schools offer programs which qualify their gradu­
ates for entry jobs as technicians. These high
schools have high admission requirements and offer
more thorough and advanced courses in mathe­
matics, science, drawing, and laboratory work than
either an academic high school or a vocational
school. Some schools have evening programs
which may be organized as formal technical pro­
grams to prepare technicians or which may merely
consist of selected subjects for a particular area of
work. These programs, like other evening courses,
appeal especially to employed persons who wish to
239645—53----- 3

Laboratory technicians must be familiar with a variety of

Correspondence schools and home study courses
constitute additional sources of preparation for
technicians. Persons who wish to learn more
about their jobs or who wish to advance to a
better job in the same field derive the most benefit
from such courses. But those who do not have
considerable theoretical background in mathe­
matics and science and do not understand their
practical application may find these courses of
limited value in preparing for technician positions.
Success in such courses depends greatly on the
ability of the student to study by himself without
the benefit of an instructor or of laboratory equip­
ment. Furthermore, the quality and extent of the
courses offered by correspondence schools vary
Entrance Requirements

The entrance requirements of most schools
specializing in education for technician jobs are
not as rigid or standardized as those of 4-year
colleges. A study of the entrance requirements



of 20 technical institutes indicated that all these
schools preferred high-school graduates.19 Eight
of them, however, would admit students who
could show the “equivalent” of a full high-school
course, and another eight schools would admit
persons without a high-school diploma if they
satisfied age requirements, could pass special
examinations, or could demonstrate that they
were “adult, mature individuals.”
A study of the entrance requirements of 88
junior colleges, not affiliated with 4-year colleges,
showed that more than 93 percent preferred their
applicants to be high-school graduates. Seventyone schools, however, would admit nongraduates if
they could meet one of the following requirements:
Be over 18 years of age, pass entrance examina­
tions, or indicate that they would “profit by train­
ing offered.”
An examination of the entrance requirements of
thirty-five 4-year colleges with technical institute
or junior college divisions indicated that the
majority preferred their applicants be high-school
graduates. However, more than half the schools
would admit applicants without high-school diplo­
mas if the applicants were above specified ages,
could demonstrate their ability to perform work
above the high-school level, or were veterans.
The flexible entrance requirements of many of
the schools offering education to prospective tech­
nicians make possible a career in the technical
field for many persons who could not gain admis­
sion to regular 4-year colleges. At the same time,
young people should realize that the technical
and scientific courses in many of these schools are
of college level. For all the occupations consid­
ered in this report, basic training in mathematics
and science is essential, and students who expect
to prepare for the technician field should, therefore,
obtain a good background in these subjects in
high school.
19 References to admission requirements and length of training are based
upon an examination by the Bureau of Labor Statistics in February 1952 of
143 catalogues of educational institutions offering post-high-school vocational
technical programs of less than 4 years. The schools included 88 junior
colleges, 20 technical institutes, and 35 degree-granting institutions having
2-year programs which prepared students for immediate employment as
semiprofessional workers. Curricula were examined which would primarily
apply to the preparation of technicians who could assist engineers, chemists,
and physicists in industry and government. Such courses as those in medical
and health service, agriculture, photography, homemaking fields, skilled
trades, and maintenance and repair work were excluded from this study.
The 143 institutions whose catalogues were reviewed offered training in 291
vocational-technical subject fields.

Selection of School

Although most schools in the field of vocationaltechnical education try to give their students
good technical preparation, other institutions
seem to have been created primarily for the per­
sonal profit of the proprietors. Through mislead­
ing advertisements and misrepresentation, dis­
honest technical, vocational, and correspondence
schools have fooled students into believing that
the educational background necessary to qualify
for the job of a technician could be gained through
shortcut methods.
The abuses found in the area of technical and
vocational training have been examined by agen­
cies of the Federal Government and Congress.
A congressional committee investigating all educa­
tional training under the GI bill for veterans of
World War II concluded: “There was a rapid
uncontrolled expansion of private profit schools
during the first several years of the veterans’
training programs. Many of these schools were
without educational background and experience
and offered training of doubtful quality.” 20*
A student seeking a technical education should
use more than ordinary care in selecting a school.
(See appendix A for sources of information on
schools.) If possible, information should be
secured about State accreditation, professional
recognition, the length of time the school has been
in operation, instructional facilities, faculty qualifi­
cations, and the success of the school’s graduates.
Above all, a student should realize that there is
no quick and easy method of acquiring the back­
ground in mathematics, chemistry, and other
physical sciences which will enable him to qualify
as a technician.
Employment Experience of Technician Graduates

As has already been indicated, technicians
obtain their education from widely differing
sources. This naturally raises a question as to
the types of jobs in which the various students
find employment. A wide range of jobs are
available, according to the follow-up studies of
their graduates made by some of the training
2®U. S. Congress, House of Representatives, House Select Committee to
Investigate Educational, Training, and Loan Guaranty Programs Under
GI Bill, 82d Cong., H. Rept. No. 1375, U. S. Government Printing Office,
Washington, D. C., 1952, p. 3.



The short- and long-term studies made by a
privately endowed technical institute provide
information concerning the opportunities for
employment and advancement of its graduates.21
A survey of the mechanical department graduates,
including only those who were out of school 5 or
more years, showed that only percent of the
graduates were employed in fields unrelated to
those for which they had been trained. The
following list of jobs serves as an example of the
types of employment found by the graduates of
the mechanical department. They were working
as draftsman, tool designer, machine designer,
instrument maker, tool and die maker, production
planner, inspector, mechanical engineer, engineer­
ing salesman, and foreman.
Those persons who graduated from the elec­
trical department between 1925 and 1947 were
working as technical salesman, administrator,
engineer, circuit engineer, technician, power plant
and substation operator, electrician, and inspec­
tor and tester.
Some of the graduates of the chemistry depart­
ment from 1927-48 were employed as apprentice
draftsman, processing assistant, assistant fore­
man, tester, laboratory technician and assistant,
junior chemist, and chemist.
Placement surveys by the New York State
technical institutes showed that their recent grad­
uates have taken jobs in industry as architectural
draftsman, construction estimator and layout
man, research assistant, control chemist, instru­
ment mechanic and tester, laboratory technician,
sales engineer, purchasing agent, junior engineer­
ing aid, and technical assistant to metallurgists.22
The same surveys also indicate that an extremely
high percentage of the graduates are employed in
the specific fields for which they were prepared.
Because the New York State schools have been
in existence only a short time, it is impossible
to know how far their graduates will advance
Another technical institute offering courses in
all technical branches of radio and television com­
munication examined the job placements of its
advanced technology graduates for the school
year 1949-50. Of the graduates available for
21 Unpublished reports, Rochester Institute of Technology, Rochester,
N. Y.
22 State University of New York, Long Island Agricultural and Technical
Institute, Report on Placement and Progress of Graduates, IndustrialTechnical Division, Farmingdale, N. Y„ 1951; Buffalo Technical Institute,
Technical Careers in Eight Fields, Buffalo, N. Y., 1951.

Electronic technician checking vertical sweep voltage generator in
television receiver.

placement, more than 98 percent were employed.
The following is a partial list of the jobs obtained
by the graduates of the advanced course. The
titles were given by the employers.23

T o ta l e m p lo y e d

Junior engineer______________________________
Laboratory technician________________________
Transmitter engineer (radio)__________________
Television technician (production)_____________
Television final tester (production)____________


An eastern junior college studied the work
careers of its graduates and reported that they
secured jobs specifically related to their education,
such as field service engineer, draftsman (design),
junior engineer, designer, shop superintendent,
and production manager.24 The school’s survey
revealed that, within 5 years after graduation, 64
percent of the graduates held technical-professional,
supervisory, or executive positions related to their
education; and 82 percent of those who graduated
10 or more years earlier were holding such posi­
These studies of the types of jobs obtained by
those who have technical training indicate a wide
range of occupational opportunity for technicians.
Graduates of vocational-technical educational pro­
grams have a good chance to obtain employment
in the occupations of their choice.
23 RCA Institutes Inc., Report on Job Placement of Graduates for School
Year 1949-1950, New York, N. Y., p. 6.
24 New Haven YMCA Junior College, Our Graduates and What They
Do—A Follow-Up Study, New Haven, Conn., March 1947.



Employment Prospects
The short-run outlook is good for well-trained
technicians, and employment of technicians will
probably tend to rise over the long run. Use of
technicians has increased sharply since the out­
break of hostilities in Korea, as it did during World
War II. In both these periods, a great expansion
occurred in research and development activity and
in types of production which employ the largest
number of engineers. This has led to an acute
shortage of engineers and scientists and, therefore,
to an increased demand for technicians who can
handle the more routine tasks thus enabling the
professional personnel to concentrate on more
advanced aspects of the work. Because a con­
tinued shortage of engineers and scientists is
expected during the next several years, the demand
for technicians will probably remain high, and the
prospect is that not enough well-trained people
will be available to meet this need. The general
advance of scientific knowledge and of its pract ical
application to industry should further expand the
employment of technicians over the long run.
Past Trends

Employment of technicians has increased mark­
edly over the past four decades.
Among the technicians allied with engineers and
scientists, draftsmen were the first group to be­
come established as a separate occupation, and
they still outnumber every other group of tech­
nicians. The number of draftsmen in the country
rose from 12,000 in 1910 to 88,000 in 1940. In
addition, the 1940 Census included 67,000 labo­
ratory technicians and assistants and 8,000 tech­
nicians of other types, but in both these groups
there were large numbers of workers (for example,
medical technicians) not covered by this report.
Before 1940, these occupations were not considered
important enough to be reported separately by
the Census.
A further sharp increase in employment of
technicians has taken place since 1940. One
reason for this conclusion is the rise in the number
of employed professional engineers (from 245,000
in 1940 to more than 400,000 in 1952). Employ­
ment of chemists, the largest group of natural
scientists; likewise increased greatly (from 55,000
in 1940 to nearly 100,000 in 1952). It is probable

that the number of technicians working with these
engineers and scientists also has increased rapidly,
although no nationwide statistics are yet avail­
able on the number in the field since 1940 nor on
the average number of technicians employed per
engineer or scientist.25
The best evidence of the increasing use of tech­
nicians during the last decade is from the National
Research Council's Directories of Industrial Re­
search Laboratories. (See chart.) These studies
show a greater relative growth from 1940 to 1950
in employment of technical workers than of pro­
fessional personnel or in the total staff of industrial
research laboratories. Over the decade, the num­
ber of technical workers in these laboratories in­
creased by nearly 150 percent (from 16,400 to
40,800), whereas professional personnel increased
only 93 percent (from 36,550 to 70,570) and the
total number of laboratory workers rose by 136
percent (from 70,000 to 165,000). One technical
worker was employed for every 2.2 professional
workers in 1940, but the ratio was 1 to 1.7 by 1950.
Most of the rise in employment of technicians oc­
curred during the World War II period, from 1940
to 1946. In the last 4 years of the decade, em­
ployment of technicians increased by only 18 per­
cent (compared with an increase of 111 percent
from 1940 to 1946) and professional personnel in­
creased 30 percent (compared with a 49-percent
increase over the earlier period).

The need for engineers, scientists, and other per­
sons with technical knowledge and specialized
skills is great as a result of defense activities and
25 Several studies have been made by different organizations of the relative
numbers of technicians, engineers, and scientists employed in certain indus­
tries. These studies indicate an extremely wide variation in the ratio of
technicians to engineers and scientists, due in part to the lack of uniform
definitions of technical and other related jobs. The ratio was found to vary
from 20 technicians for each engineer to 1.7 per engineer in different industries.
It also differed considerably among plants in the same industry. The
studies examined include the following:
Wickenden, W. E. and Spahr, R. H., A Study of Technical Institutes,
Society for the Promotion of Engineering Education, Lancaster, Pa.,
The Lancaster Press, 1931.
Federal Security Agency, U. S. Office of Education, VocationalTechnical Training for Industrial Occupations, Report of the Consulting
Committee on Vocational-Technical Training Appointed by the U. S.
Commissioner of Education, U. S. Government Printing Office, Wash­
ington, D. C., 1944 (Vocational Division Bulletin No. 228).
Anthony, Robert N., Selected Operating Data for Industrial Research
Laboratories, Harvard Business School, Division of Research, Boston,
Mass., 1951.
Hampton, Thomas Edgar, A Survey of Technical Occupations in
Louisiana Industry, Department of Commerce and Industry, State of
Louisiana, 1950.
Beach, C. Kenneth and Associates, Technical Occupations in the State
of New York, State Education Department, Albany, N. Y., 1946.




Source: Notional Research Council, National Academ y of Sciences,
Industrial Research Laboratories of the United States.




the generally high level of production in late 1952.
The heavy demand for such personnel has created
shortages of technicians in some fields and is ex­
pected to bring increasing employment opportuni­
ties for all technicians as long as the mobilization
program continues.
An indication of the shortage of certain types of
technicians is the inclusion of three types—elec­
tronic technicians, tool and die designers, and de­
sign engineer draftsmen—in the List of Critical
Occupations issued by the United States Depart­
ment of Labor. (See appendix D.) Workers in
occupations on the List may receive special con­
sideration in connection with military deferments
if they are employed in essential industries or

The current shortage of experienced mechanical
draftsmen is evidenced by numerous listings in the
“help wanted” sections of newspapers, especially
those in large industrial cities. The United States
Employment Service of the Department of Labor
also lists draftsmen among the occupations in short
supply in some localities. The demand for drafts­
men began to increase shortly after the outbreak
of hostilities in Korea. From July 1950 to March
1952, the number of draftsman jobs for which an
effort was made to recruit workers outside the local
labor market rose from about 150 to more than
3,000. This latter figure by no means represents
the total number of openings for draftsmen be­
cause not all employers report their job needs to
the United States Employment Service and its

Making precision measurements on a crankshaft in a quality control laboratory.


affiliated State employment services. The figures
do, however, indicate a continually rising demand
for draftsmen.
In addition to recruiting experienced draftsmen,
some employers are instituting their own programs
to train urgently needed draftsmen for their en­
gineering departments. The aircraft and elec­
tronics industries are making special efforts to
secure draftsmen. At least one large aircraft
company has been advertising for student drafts­
men whom it will pay while they are learning.26
Although some companies will hire inexperienced
draftsmen, the greatest demand is for mechanical
draftsmen who have had experience in particular
industries. Women are in demand for many types
of drafting jobs, employment experience during
World War II showed women to be well suited to
drafting work in many industries.27
Current announcements by the United States
Civil Service Commission of job opportunities
emphasize the Federal Government’s need for
additional technicians. In May 1952, the Com­
mission listed engineering aid, engineering drafts­
man, junior scientist, tool designer, electronic
equipment repairer, and electronic mechanic
among the personnel for whom there was urgent
need in specified localities.28
The demand for technicians will probably be
great as long as the defense program continues.
Because shortages of engineers, chemists, phys­
icists, and other scientific personnel are expected
to continue for some years,29 the need for tech­
nicians to work with them will probably rise
further. The current shortage of scientists and
engineers has given renewed impetus to the
trend, notable during World War II, toward
greater use of technicians. In some cases scien­
tific jobs are being “diluted” and “broken-down”
so that technicians may be used for some special­
ized activity. If the shortage of scientific person­
nel continues, alert management will probably
26 Business Week, Feb. 9,1952, pp. 46-48.
27 For information concerning opportunities for women in scientific and re­
lated occupations, see The Outlook for Women in Science, Bulletin No. 223,
vols. 1-8, U. S. Department of Labor, Women’s Bureau, 1948-49. (Available
from the Superintendent of Documents, U. S. Government Printing Office,
Washington 25, D. C.)
28 See Civil Service Commission, Federal Job Opportunities Throughout
the United States, Announcement No. 2280, May 1952. Information on
job openings in the Government may be obtained from State and local gov­
ernments and from the U. S. Civil Service Commission, Washington 25,
D. C. Announcements of Federal job openings are often posted in local
post offices.
See Occupational Outlook Handbook, Bulletin No. 998, Bureau of
Labor Statistics, U. S. Department of Labor, 1951, pp. 79-83. Available
from Superintendent of Documents, U. S. Government Printing Office,
Washington 25, D . C. Price $3.


employ additional technicians in order to make
more efficient use of their professional employees.
The need for better utilization of fully trained
professional personnel is receiving recognition
from many sources, and, to this end, the employ­
ment of greater numbers of technicians is recom­
mended. In line with this trend a writer has
noted: “It seems to me that we have been giving
thousands and thousands of young men a 4-year
training in the fundamentals of engineering at
considerable expense to them, and then putting
a great many of them in jobs that could be done
as well by people with a fraction of their train­
ing.” 30 It has also been suggested that we could
expand our research programs if we adopted the
European method of research which employs
many more assistants as aids to the professionals.31
It is expected that the greatest demand for
technicians in the next few years will be in the
defense-related industries. The electronics in­
dustry, for example, will need more technicians
to aid in the manufacture and servicing of elec­
tronic equipment important in military operations.
Employment in aircraft manufacturing, where
draftsmen and many other technicians are already
reported to be in short supply, is still expanding.
Current production schedules call for a continued
increase in defense output through the middle of
1953 and for a very high level of production for
several years thereafter. Other industries im­
portant in defense-connected research and pro­
duction, such as the machine tool, industrial
chemicals, and petroleum industries, are therefore
expected to need additional technicians.
The announcement in April 1952, by the Federal
Communications Commission, that 2,053 new
television stations would be allowed to open will
further intensify shortages of trained electronic
technicians, because sizable numbers will be
needed to maintain and service the additional
stations when they are established.
The supply of well-trained or experienced tech­
nicians available in the near future will probably
not be sufficient to meet the above-described
demands. Because of the wide variety of sources
from which industrial technicians may be recruited,
it is impossible to estimate the supply of workers
30 Mitchell, Don C., ‘'Engineering Manpower for Industry,” The Journal
of Engineering Education, vol. 42, No. 3, (November 1951), p. 134.
31 Morris, H. E., “Problems in Utilizing Technical Personnel,” Journal of
College Placement, vol. 12, No. 3, (March 1952), p. 34.



available at any time or likely to become available
in the future. However, placement officers of
technical institutes and junior colleges report that
they have many more calls for their graduates than
can be filled. Also, there probably will be fewer
new entrants from other sources than in times
when the general employment situation is less
Employment of technicians is likely to continue
to expand over the long run. Some of the factors
which are expected to affect favorably the long­
term employment for technicians are the general
advance of scientific knowledge and its practical
application in industrial operations, and the in­
creasing use of technically trained personnel in
sales jobs, supervisory jobs, and other types of
work. Further, it is probable that high levels of
expenditures for research and development will
persist over the long run. More and more com­
panies are establishing research programs and
existing programs are being expanded to meet the
strong competition in developing new products
and processes. Furthermore, in view of the long
period of defense mobilization which appears to
lie ahead of us, it is probable that expenditures
for this purpose will continue at a high level. The
demand for research personnel therefore will be
high. If the trend toward greater use of technical

workers continues (see chart), employment pros­
pects for technicians in laboratories will be good.
In addition to new positions created by growth in
the field, many employment opportunities for
technicians will occur each year because of deaths,
retirements, or transfer of experienced workers.
The number of job openings available to tech­
nicians over the long run, however, will reflect
the general economic situation. If international
conditions should improve and the defense pro­
gram should be cut, the demand for technicians
would be reduced. Furthermore, technicians face
special competitive problems when jobs become
scarce, because they are in occupations which
can be filled by persons with a wide variety of
backgrounds. In the past, during periods of
considerable unemployment, the most serious
contenders for technician jobs have been the pro­
fessional workers. In such periods, employers
are more selective because they can hire highly
trained employees at the salaries of lesser trained
workers. The possibility of greater flexibility
and broader background from the 4-year college
graduate may influence the employer’s preference.
The technician, then, would be well advised to
consider taking additional courses of a general
nature, as well as specialized courses in his field,
to better prepare himself to meet competition,

Private Industry

Information on the earnings of some types of
technicians, including draftsmen, is available from
a number of surveys in different industries and
localities, though no nationwide studies have been
made of technicians’ pay.
Draftsmen.—The job of tracer is the usual en­
trance position in the draftsman category. In
12 cities covered by Bureau surveys in 1951-52,
tracers had average straight-time weekly earnings
ranging from $47.00 in the Newark-Jersey City
area to $63.50 in Detroit (table 3).
Junior draftsmen, the group at the next higher
level of skill, tend to earn considerably more than
tracers in the same city. In the Newark-Jersey
City area, for example, their average straighttime weekly pay was $63.00; in Detroit, it was

$72.50. Altogether, information on earnings of
junior draftsmen was collected in 26 cities, many
more than were covered by the data for tracers.
In these cities, the range in average earnings for
workers in junior positions was from $48.00 in
Richmond to $72.50 in Detroit. The higher
earnings received by more highly skilled workers
who are classed as draftsmen and chief draftsmen,
are shown in table 3.
Laboratory assistants in the industrial chemicals
industry .—Male laboratory assistants in this in­

dustry had average straight-time hourly earnings
of $1.77 in late 1951 (or $70.80 for the 40-hour
workweek customary in industry), according to a
survey of 244 plants.32 The much smaller number

32 U. S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Wage Struc­
ture-Industrial Chemicals, Series 2, No. 87, October-November 1951. Avail­
able upon request as long as supply lasts.


T able 3. —

A vera ge stra ig h t-tim e w eekly e a rn in g s f o r male
draftsm en i n selected m e trop o lita n areas, J u n e 1 9 5 1 J a n u a r y 1952

Region and area

Tracers drafts­ Drafts­ drafts­

New England:
Worcester, Mass________________
Providence, R. I ______ ________
Bridgeport, Conn _______ .
Hartford, Conn___ _____________ $48.50
Middle Atlantic:
Buffalo, N. Y __________________
Rochester, N . Y.__ ___ _______
Newark-Jersey City, N . J_____
Philadelphia, Pa.-Camden, N . J. 48.50
Pittsburgh, Pa_________________ 61.00
East North Central:
Cleveland, Ohio________________
Dayton, O h io _________ _ _____
Indianapolis, Ind___________
Detroit, M ich__________________ 63.50
West North Central:
Minneapolis-St. Paul, M inn____
Kansas City, M o___ __ _____ 56.50
St. Louis, M o__________________ 49. 50
South Atlantic:
Baltimore, M d______ _____ _ _. 48.00
Richmond, Va_________________
East South Central:
Memphis, Tenn_______________
West South Central:
New Orleans, La_____ _______
Oklahoma City, Okla. - _____
Dallas, Tex____________________
Houston, Tex__________________ 52.00
Salt Lake City, U tah_________ _
Seattle, W a sh _________________ 62.50
Portland, Oreg _ __ __ ________
Los Angeles, C alif._______ _____ 57.50



84. 50
112. 50





89. 00

129. 00






109. 50






97. 00





102. 50
123. 50

S o u r c e : U. S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Com­
munity Wage Surveys.

of women laboratory assistants had average earn­
ings of $1.58. Average earnings for men varied
from $1.48 in New England to $1.87 in the South­
west. Laboratory assistants in large plants (more
than 500 workers) earned 28 cents more an
hour, on the average, than workers in smaller
Broadcasting engineers and technicians.'—Radio
and television broadcasting stations represent one
of the employment fields for men trained as elec­
tronic technicians. In this field, the highest paid
men are those employed by the networks and their
key stations. Their average full-time earnings
were more than $120 a week in October 1950,
according to a study made by the Bureau in co­
operation with the Federal Communications Com­
mission (table 4). In other stations with 15 or
more employees, the studio engineers and tech­
nicians with first-class radio-telephone licenses
were the best paid group; their average pay was

$88 a week. Studio engineers without such li­
censes averaged $79.50 a week in the stations not
operated by networks; and transmitter engineers
and technicians with first-class licenses had aver­
age earnings of $74 a week in independent stations.
T able 4. —

A verage w eekly h o u rs a n d e a rn in g s o f selected
f u ll-tim e em ployees i n ra d io a n d television stations w ith
15 or more em ployees, October 1950

Occupation and employer
Studio engineers and technicians:
With first-class radio-telephone licenses.
In network stations 1 ______ ____ _
In independent stations_______ _
Without first-class radio-telephone li­
censes. _ _ _ ____ _ ______ _ _ _
In network stations 1____ ___ _
In independent stations____ _____
Transmitter engineers and technicians:
With first-class radio-telephone licenses .
In network stations 1_____________
In independent stations.....................
Without first-class radio-telephone li­
censes. . _________ _ ____________ ..
In network stations 1___ _______ .
In independent stations___________

Number Average Average
of em­ weekly weekly
ployees hours earnings



1 Includes networks and their owned and operated stations.
2 Insufficient data to warrant presentation.
S o u r c e : U. S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics in cooper­
ation with Federal Communications Commission, Average Hours, Earnings,
and Em ploym ent, Radio and TV Broadcasting Industry, October 1950,
table 4, p. 4.

Engineers in stations with fewer than 15 em­
ployees are known to have lower earnings, though
recent figures are not available on their pay. In
examining the earnings figures in table 4, prospec­
tive technicians should realize that inexperienced
men ordinarily must first attain experience in
small stations before they can qualify for employ­
ment in the larger ones.
Technical institute and junior college graduates.—
Further information on technicians’ pay is avail­
able from studies of the earnings records of grad­
uates of several technical institutes and the tech­
nical divisions of junior colleges.
Nearly two-thirds of the reporting 1950 grad­
uates of the Long Island Agricultural and Techni­
cal Institute were making $50 or more a week
within 6 months after graduation, according to a
survey conducted by the Institute as of December
1, 1950.33* One out of every four members of this
graduating class reported a weekly wage of $60 or
more. Among the reporting graduates of the
class of 1948, the large majority (71 percent) were
making $60 or more a week at the time of the
survey (table 5).
33 State University of New York, Long Island Agricultural and Technical
Institute, Report on Placement and Progress of Graduates, IndustrialTechnical Division, Farmingdale, N . Y., 1951.



suggested by a 1947 survey by the New Haven
YMCA Junior College.35 The median annual
salary of graduates who had specialized in me­
chanical and electrical technology and who had been
out of college more than 10 years was $4,830.
This figure was nearly two-thirds higher than the
median salary figure for graduates in electrical
technology from 5 through 9 years after gradua­
tion, and about one-third higher than that for
graduates in mechanical technology at this earlier
period in their careers.

T able 5. — P ercen t d istrib u tio n of 501 tech n ical in stitu te
g radu ates, by w eekly sa la ry, D ecem ber 1 95 0

Percent of graduates in—
Weekly salary

Class of Class of Class of

40-49____________________________ _____
. . _
70 and over____ _ _
Total________ ______
Number reporting L. - ____ _____ _______




1 Seventy-five percent of the class of 1948,88 percent of those who graduated
in 1949, and 90 percent of the graduates of 1950 reported their wage group as
of December 1,1950.
S o u r c e : State University of New York, Long Island Agricultural and
Technical Institute, Report on Placement and Progress of Graduates, Indus­
trial-Technical Division, Farmingdale, N . Y., 1951.

Federal Government

The Federal Government classifies technician
jobs, as it does other positions, according to the
kind of work performed and in grades based on the
qualifications required and the difficulty and
responsibility of the work. In general, techni­
cians with 2 years of appropriate post-high-school
training or experience can begin in jobs classified
in grades 3 or 4 and may progress through grade
7 (appendix E). A few, who advance to super­
visory positions, may attain higher grades.
Scheduled gross annual salary rates for grades
3 through 7, which have been in effect since July
1951, follow:

Graduates of the 1949-50 class in advanced
technology at the RCA Institutes of New York
City had an average weekly salary of approximately
$59 as of September 30, 1950.34 About 70
percent of these graduates were in the following
six occupations which are included among or
closely related to those covered by this study:
junior engineer, laboratory technician, transmitter
engineer (radio), TY technician (production),
TV final tester (production), and instructor.
These graduates had approximately the same
average weekly salary as all members of their
The increase in earnings enjoyed by many
technicians as they gain experience, as indicated
in other follow-up studies (see table 5), is also




35 New Haven YM CA Junior College, Our Graduates and What They
Do—A Follow-Up Study, New Haven, Conn., March 1947.

34RCA Institutes, Inc., Report on Job Placement of Graduates for
School Year 1949-50, New York, N . Y., October 31,1950.

T able 6. —

Salary range

GS-3___________________________ $2,950
GS-4__________________________ 3,175
GS-5__________________________ 3,410
GS-6__________________________ 3,795
GS-7__________________________ 4,205

P e rce nt d is trib u tio n by grade, a n d average a n n u a l s a la ry o f F e d e ra l G overnm ent em ployees i n selected te c h n ic ia n
occu p a tion s J u n e 30, 1951

Occupational group



Total all grades
Number Percent

Total________ __________________ i 27,813
Engineering a id 2_____________________ 10,812
Surveying and cartography 3__________
Engineering drafting *________________
6, 750
Physical-science aid 5_________________
Electronic technician 6_______________





















$3, 315

1 Excludes 623 employees for whom grade is not given.
2 Includes engineering aids and student-aid trainees.
3 Includes cartographic aids, student-aid trainees, and some professional cartographers in grades 9 and above.
♦ Includes draftsmen (patent! and engineering draftsmen.
5 Includes scientific aids (cotton), scientific aids, (nautical), student-aid trainees, computers, and physical-science aids.
6 Includes electronic technicians and laboratory electronic mechanics.
S o u r c e : Bureau of Labor Statistics and Civil Service Commission, BLS Bulletin No. 1117, Federal White-Collar Workers, Their Occupations and Salaries,
June 1951, in process.


Employees generally start at the minimum
rates. Those who perform their jobs satisfactorily
are given annual increases of $80 in the lower
grades and $125 in grades 5 through 7, up to the
indicated maximum rates. Employees with many
years of service receive additional “longevity”
Table 6 shows the distribution of Federal
employees by grade, for the occupational groups
most closely related to those covered in this
report. Although the table shows employees in
grades 1 through 13 for these occupations, the
lower grades (1 and 2) and the grades above 7
generally are considered to apply to job levels
outside the scope of this report. More than 80
percent of all the workers in the five selected
occupational groups were classified in grades 3
through 7. The salary rates in effect on June
30, 1951 (the date of the survey on which table 6
is based) were about 10 percent lower than the
rates given above, which became effective July
8, 1951.36
The largest percentage (24.1) of all engineering
aids were in grade 4 as of June 1951 and were
earning between $2,875 and $3,355 a year, de­
pending mainly on length of service. In the sur­
36 The change in rates provided for a minimum increase of $300 and a maxi­
mum of $800.


veying and cartography group, the greatest con­
centration of workers (about 20 percent) was in
grade 5, where annual salaries ranged from $3,100
to $3,850. About 22 percent of the engineering
drafting group were classified in grade 5 and a
similar proportion in grade 6. More than 31
percent of the physical-science aids were classified
in grade 4. Employees in the electronic technician
group, composed of laboratory electronic mechan­
ics and electronic technicians, had the highest
grade level; over one-half were in grades 6 and 7
(beginning salaries $3,450 and $3,825) and nearly
a quarter in grade 9 (beginning salary, $4,600).
The average salary for all Federal white-collar
employees in the United States as of June 30, 1951,
was $3,700. This was higher than the average
salary in any of the technician groups studied,
with the exception of the electronic technicians.
However, average salaries for the various occu­
pational groups reflect differences in entrance sal­
aries, as well as differences in length of service of
individual employees.
Although it is impossible, from the data avail­
able, to trace the advancement in Federal employ­
ment of technicians, it is obvious that some persons
in these classifications are able to advance to the
higher grades (above grade 5) usually filled by
professional and administrative personnel.

Appendix A
Sources of Information on Training Opportunities
1. The State Department of Education at each State
Capitol has information about approved technical insti­
tutes, junior colleges, and other educational institutions
offering post-high-school training for specific technical
2. The American Association of Junior Colleges, 1785
Massachusetts Avenue, NW., Washington, 6, D. C.
A junior college directory is available from the associa­
tion (price, $1) and in many libraries. The association will
furnish a free list of its member-schools which offer training
for technicians.
3. Bureau of Apprenticeship, United States Department
of Labor, Washington 25, D. C.
To obtain information regarding apprenticeship oppor­
tunities in technician occupations, inquiries should be
addressed to the Washington Office of the Bureau of
Apprenticeship, or to one of the regional offices of the
Bureau or to State apprenticeship agencies.
4. Engineers’ Council for Professional Development, 29
West 39th Street, New York 18, N. Y.

This is the national accrediting agency for technical
institute programs. A current list of schools and their
approved programs is available (price, 50 cents).
5. National Council of Technical Schools, 910 17th Street,
NW., Washington, D. C.
6. National Home Study Council, 1420 New York Avenue,
NW., Washington, D. C.
This organization publishes “Home Study Blue Book
and Directory of Accredited Private Home Study Schools
and Courses—1952.”
7. Technical Education News (published periodically),
McGraw Hill Book Co., Inc., 330 West 42d Street, New
York 18, N. Y.
This publication, available in many libraries, provides
information on various technical schools and new infor­
mation in the field of technical education. The May or
June issue includes technical institute enrollment data and
a list of schools.

Appendix B
Examples of Curricula Offered by Schools Training Technicians37
Aircraft Construction and Manufacturing Curriculum
San Diego Junior College, San Diego, Calif., 1951-52
First semester


Aircraft Construction and Manufacturing, including tech­
nical related subjects 38
Physical Education
Third semester


Aircraft Construction and Manufacturing, including tech­
nical related subjects 38
Industrial Science
Health Education
Physical Education

Second semester

Aircraft Construction and Manufacturing, including tech­
nical related subjects 38
Industrial Science
Physical Education
Fourth semester

Aircraft Construction and Manufacturing, including tech­
nical related subjects 38
Industrial Science
Political Science
Industrial Organization
Physical Education

37 Students enrolling in a particular curriculum must take all of the listed courses, except where otherwise indicated.
ss Technical related subjects required of aircraft construction and manufacturing majors are: mechanical drafting, industrial mathematics, materials and
processes, welding and machine shop.




Industrial Electronics Curriculum
Wentworth Institute, Boston, Mass., 1950-52


Mechanical Drawing
Applied Physics

Electrical Circuits
Electron Tubes and Circuits
Shop Techniques

Electrical Machinery
Electrical Machinery Laboratory
Wiring Practice and Laboratory
English Composition


Electron Tubes and Circuits
Special Tubes and Circuits
Testing and Measurements
Shop Techniques

Mechanical Curriculum (Cooperative Program)39
With Majors in General Mechanical, Instrument Making, Tool Engineering, and Screw Machine
Rochester Institute of Technology, Rochester, N. Y., 1952-53
First semester


Algebra and TrigonometryPhysics
Engineering Drawing
Psychology of Human Relations
English Communications
Machine Shop
Screw Machine Shop (For Screw Machine Technology
students only—Scheduled in place of Machine Shop)
Integral Calculus
Strength of Materials
Engineering Drawing

Second semester

Analytic Geometry and Differential Calculus
Applied Mechanics
Engineering Drawing
Psychology of Human Relations
English Communications
Machine Shop
Screw Machine Shop (For Screw Machine Technology
students only—Scheduled in place of Machine Shop)


Effective Speaking
Cooperative Employment
Power and Heating Equipment (General Mechanical
Tool Making (Tool Engineering Major)
Instrument Making (Instrument Making Major)
Screw Machine Operation and Set-Up (Screw Machine
Technology Major)


Social Problems
Current Events
Production and Quality Control
Cooperative Employment
Machine Design (General Mechanical Major)
Screw Machine Cam and Tool Design (Screw Machine
Technology Major)
Screw Machine Estimating and Processing (Screw Machine
Technology Major)
Screw Machine Research and Technical Problems (Screw
Machine Technology Major)

Power and Heating Equipment (General Mechanical
Tool Design (Tool Engineering Major)
Manufacturing Analysis (Tool Engineering Major)
Tool Design (Instrument Making Major)
Instrument Making (Instrument Making Major)

39 Cooperative program requiring 3 years’ attendance for completion, Work on co operative jobs begins after completion of first years’ program. The second
and third-year programs are not organized on a semester basis.



Chemical Technology Curriculum
Institute of Applied Arts and Sciences, State University of New York, Brooklyn, N. Y., 1952
First semester


Organic Chemistry
Quantitative Analysis
Effective Speaking
Industrial Electricity
Industrial Relations

Third semester

Second semester

Organic Chemistry
Qualitative Analysis
Chemical Mathematics
Writing and Thinking Techniques
Psychology of Human Relations
Applied Physics

General Chemistry
Basic Communication Methods
Technical Mathematics


Fourth semester

Instrumental Analysis
Industrial Chemistry
Industrial Analysis
Applied Communication Procedures
American Government

Appendix C
Job-Cluster and Promotion Sequence
Technical institutes aim to prepare their students for
any of the basic positions in a particular field rather than
for one specific type of job. The purpose of a job-cluster
chart, such as the one given below, is to show a technical
institute graduate how his training enables him to apply
for a wide area of related jobs. The chart and the example
of a promotion sequence indicate how one can go up the
employment ladder with additional experience.
Some technical institutes advise their students that
they probably will find their first jobs at the “entry or
training” level. It is believed that most of the graduates

will probably advance to the “intermediate” jobs. The
“terminal” positions represent the highest level of respon­
sibility for technicians, because they are jobs to which
graduates may advance only if they have demonstrated
their personal ability and acquired greater experience.
The positions classified as “basic” in the job-cluster chart
are those closest to the field of training. The “supple­
mentary” and “related” jobs illustrate some of the other
types of work for which the training institutions consider
their graduates qualified.

Job-Cluster Chart for Graduates of Mechanical Technology Curriculum40

E n t r y or T r a i n i n g :

Stock clerk
Assistant inspector
Machine tool operator
Tool crib attendant
Maintenance man
Time study assistant
Laboratory assistant
Foundry worker
Heat treater
Tool grinder
See footnote on page 25.

Meter testman
Meter adjuster
Power test assistant
Toolroom assistant
Time study observer
Parts inspector
Tool draftsman




Job-Cluster Chart for Graduates of Mechanical Technology Curriculum40—Continued

In te rm e d ia te :


T e r m in a l:

Checker or inspector
Layout man
Process technician
Time study man
Powerplant operator
Test engineer
Toolroom foreman
Operation planner
Cost estimator
Tool estimator

Machine designer
Tool designer
Powerplant supervisor
Production supervisor
Field engineer
Process engineer
Consultant on power work
Building equipment supervisor
Consultant on air-conditioning



Technical correspondent
Order clerk
Assistant foreman
Job setter
Cost analyzer
Instrument maker

Chief of standards
Chief draftsman
Technical supervisor
Foreman of experimentation
Chief of testing
Chief of inspection
Chief of maintenance
Chief of installation
Designer of powerplant equipment
Refrigeration plant supervisor

Chief engineer
Catalog and instruction book illus­
Chief of stockroom
Technical salesman
Product engineer
Superintendent of buildings
Maintenance supervisor and com­
parable positions

« Adapted from New York State Institutes of Applied Arts and Sciences, N ew York State Agriculture and Technical Institutes, “Technical Careers and
Y ou/' Albany, N. Y. Further information on some of these occupations may be found in the Occupational Outlook Handbook, Bureau of Labor Statistics
Bulletin No. 998, Superintendent of Documents, U. S. Government Printing Office, Washington 25, D . C., 1951.

Probable Promotion Sequence in Radio and Electronics Field41
Training Level Jobs:
Laboratory Assistant
Assistant Draftsman
Tester or Inspector
Machine Operator

Intermediate Level Jobs:
Assistant Laboratory Engineer
Foreman of Radio and Electronic
Manufacturing Department
Tester or Inspector
Final Assemblyman

Upper Level Jobs:
Radio or Electronic Engineer
Radio or Electronic Laboratory
Supervisor of Radio or Electronic
Manufacturing Department

41 Adapted from, If You Are Considering a Career in the Electrical Field, Vocational Guidance Series, Pamphlet No. 7, Rochester, N . Y ., Rochester Insti­
tute of Technology, 1948.



Appendix D
Technical Occupations Listed as Critical
Criteria for Inclusion on List of Critical
(1) Under the foreseeable mobilization program an
over-all shortage of workers in the occupation exists or is
developing which will significantly interfere with effective
functioning of essential industries and activities;43
(2) A minimum accelerated training time of 2 years (or
the equivalent in work experience) is necessary to the satis­
factory performance of all the major tasks found in the
(3) The occupation is indispensable to the functioning
of the industries or activities in which it occurs.

Definitions of Technical Occupations Appearing
on List of Critical Occupations
E le c tro n ic T e c h n ic ia n .—Fabricates, installs, maintains,
and repairs intricate electronic apparatus and equipment
used in communication, detection, measurement, and
control systems, such as: aid-to-navigation systems, in­
cluding radar and sonar; proximity fuses; guided missiles;
fire-sighting and control systems; electronic computers;
complex X-ray equipment; and electronic instrument and
control devices, including those for special application in
meteorological, geophysical, medical, and industrialprocess fields. Constructs and modifies complex electronic
assemblies and components, following engineering draw­
ings, sketches, or verbal instructions and using a compre­
hensive knowledge of complex and varied test, assembly,
and repair procedures to insure proper diagnosis, adjust­
ment, and operation of such equipment. Tests, calibrates,
adjusts, and repairs complex electronic equipment, replac­
ing and interchanging component parts with precision
machinist's and electrician's tools and electronic testing and
auxiliary equipment. This title excludes those concerned
with service and repair of radio and television broadcasting
equipment and receivers, public-address systems, dia­
thermy devices, electric organs, and similar equipment.

42 Release of M ay 7, 1951, Defense Manpower Administration, IT. S. De­
partment of Labor.
42 For List of Essential Activities, see release of April 8,1951, U. S. Depart­
ment of Commerce.

E n g in e e r D ra fts m a n , D e s ig n
(General Definition).—
Makes design drawings of machines, products, processes,
instruments, or structures, to assist in developing experi­
mental ideas evolved by Design Engineers. Prepares
working plans and detail drawings, working from rough
or detail sketches and specifications and employing his
knowledge of engineering methods and practice to solve
fabrication or construction problems. Designs lesser parts
and assemblies or limited structures in harmony with over­
all engineering plans and designs. Verifies dimensions of
parts and materials, and relationship of one part to another
as well as of the various parts to the whole structure, using
an extensive knowledge of the various machines, products,
or processes peculiar to the specialized activity in which
the work occurs.
T o o l a n d D ie D e s ig n e r. —Plans, sketches, and makes
detailed drawings of tools, dies, jigs, fixtures, and gages.
Determines type and kind of tool or die required. This
definition includes only: Die Designer and Tool Designer,
defined as follows: D ie D e sig n e r 44 (Die Designer, 0-48.42,
D. O. T. p. 385). Makes drawings of dies necessary to
form a complete stamping, forging, or other part. Decides
on the number of sets of dies (each set representing a stage
of development of the part to be made) necessary to change
the metal blank into the finished piece, basing his decisions
on a blueprint of the finished part and on his knowledge
of dies and machines, and of their possibilities and limita­
tions. Compares blueprints with wooden patterns of
dies to determine if corrections, changes, or improvements
should be made in patterns. This title includes only those
related titles with the same Dictionary of Occupational
Titles Code number (0-48-42). T o o l D e sig n e r 44 (Tool
Designer, 0-48.41, D. O. T. p. 1391). Designs special
tools and fixtures, such as boring bars and milling-machine
tools. (Frequently is a Machinist, using types of machines
for which he is designing tools.) This title includes only
those related titles with the same Dictionary of Occupa­
tional Titles code number (0-48.41),

44 Code numbers are from the Dictionary of Occupational Titles (D. O. T .),
2d ed., U. S. Department of Labor, 1949. The expression “related title”
refers specifically to the uncoded titles listed in vol. II, D . O. T., which appear
in capital letters, under a coded job title. Corresponding definitions for such
titles appear in vol. I of the D . O. T.



Appendix E
Federal Civil Service Requirements for Selected Technical Occupations 45
Engineering Aid, GS-1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 746

Physical-Science Aid, GS-1, 247

Experience in engineering as specified below is required:

For GS-1, no experience is required. For GS-2, appli­
cants must have had 1 year of experience in the physical
sciences or engineering.
A written test is required for both GS-1 and GS-2.
S u b s titu tio n .—The successful completion of a full 4-year
or senior high-school curriculum which has included six
half-year courses in any combination of mathematics,
physics, chemistry, or drafting may be substituted for the
1 year of experience required for the GS-2 grade.
Pertinent resident study completed in schools above
high-school level may be substituted for the required ex­
perience. Such study will receive appropriate credit in
accordance with the length and content of the course.
Pertinent training acquired while serving in the Armed
Forces of the United States will be accepted on the same
basis as civilian training and will be evaluated according
to the actual time spent in training and the subject matter
of the courses completed.


GS-1*_______________ ____
GS-2*_______________ _____
GS-3________________ _____
GS-4__ _____________ _____
GS-5________________ _____
GS-6________________ -------GS-7________________ _____

*A written test required for GS-1 and 2.

Specialized ex­
Total experi­ perience
ence (years) (months)



The specialized experience, which may be included in
the total experience required for GS-3 and above, must
have been in the specialized branch of engineering in which
eligibility is assigned, and must have been at a level of
difficulty and responsibility equivalent to that of the next
lower grade in this series.
S u b s titu tio n .—For any grade, experience in the physical
sciences (chemistry, physics, metallurgy, geology, mathe­
matics) may be substituted to the extent of 1 year for the
general, but not for the specialized experience.
The successful completion of a full 4-year or senior
high-school curriculum which included six half-year courses
in any combination of mathematics, (algebra, geometry,
trigonometry, etc.) chemistry, physics, or drafting may be
substituted for 1 year of the total experience required for
GS-2 and GS-3 or for 6 months of the total experience
required for GS-4. High-school duty may not be sub­
stituted for any experience required for GS-5, 6, or 7 nor
for any part of the specialized engineering experience re­
quired for GS-3 and above.
Pertinent resident study successfully completed in a
school or institution above high-school level, which in­
cluded one or more courses in drafting, mathematics,
applied engineering sciences, or in engineering, may be
substituted for the required experience up to a maximum
of 4 years. The amount of experience for which this type
of education may be substituted will be determined by
the type of institution attended, the content of the courses,
and the applicability of such study to the duties of the
Education may not be substituted for the specialized
experience required for GS-6 or 7.
Pertinent specialized training or experience acquired
while serving in the Armed Forces of the United States
will be accepted on the same basis as civilian training or
experience and will be evaluated according to the actual
time spent in training and the subject matter of the courses
45 U. S. Civil Service Commission, Civil Service Handbook X-118, Quali­
fication Standards Governing Noncompetitive Actions and Agency Recruit­
ing, Government Printing Office, Washington, D . C.
40 As of April 1951. For more complete and later information, see an­
nouncements of the Civil Service Commission in local first- or second-class
post offices.

Physical-Science Aid, GS-3, 4, 5, 6, 748
The experience specified below is required:


Total Specialized
experience experience
{years) (months)




The total experience must have been in one or more of
the physical sciences; for example, physics, chemistry,
mathematics, geology, and metallurgy. The specialized
experience must have been in a specific branch of physical
science and must have been at a level of difficulty and
responsibility equivalent to that of the next lower grade in
this series.
Experience gained in such positions as meteorological
aid, observer in meteorology, cotton textile technologist,
inspector, laboratory mechanic, medical technician, scien­
tific aid in the biological sciences, or statistical clerk will
not be considered qualifying experience in full in this
examination. If, however, the exact nature of the duties
in any of the above positions is such that it affords the
applicant opportunity to acquire knowledge of the prin­
ciples and concepts of a physical science pertinent to the
duties of the position, partial or full credit may be given
toward meeting the general nonspecialized experience re­
quirements for any grade.
47 As of April 1951.
48 As of April 1951.



S u b s titu tio n .—One year of engineering experience may
be substituted for only 1 year of the required experience,
but not for any part of the specialized experience.
The successful completion of a full 4-year or senior
high-school curriculum which included six half-year courses
in any combination of mathematics, physics, chemistry,
or drafting, may be substituted for 1 year of the experience
for GS-3 and for 6 months of the experience for GS-4.
High-school study may not be substituted for any part of
the experience required for GS-5, 6, or 7, nor for any part
of the specialized experience required for any grade.
Pertinent undergraduate or graduate study in physical
sciences or mathematics completed in an accredited college
or university may be substituted year for year for the
required experience, provided that such education may not
be substituted for the specialized experience required for
GS-6 or 7. Pertinent study completed in other resi­
dent schools above high-school level will receive appro­
priate credit in accordance with the courses shown in the
Pertinent training acquired while serving in the Armed
Forces of the United States will be accepted on the same
basis as civilian training and will be evaluated according
to the actual time spent in training and the subject matter
of the courses completed.

Computer, GS-1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7
Applicants must have had experience in mathematics as

A written test is required.









For GS-3, 6 months specialized experience, for GS-4
and 5, 9 months; and for GS-6 and 7, 12 months; or the
experience must have been equivalent in difficulty and
responsibility to work of the next lower grade in this
S u b s titu tio n .—The successful completion of a full 4-year
or senior high-school course which included 2-year units of
mathematics (algebra, geometry, or trigonometry) may
be substituted for 1 year of the experience required for
GS-2, 3, and 4. High-school study may not be substi­
tuted for any part of the experience required for GS-5, 6,
and 7. Full-time study successfully completed in a resi­
dent school above high-school level may be substituted
year for year for the required experience up to a maximum
of 4 years, provided that each year of such study has in­
cluded or been supplemented by six semester hours in
college mathematics in such courses as algebra, trigonom­
etry, analytic geometry, and calculus. Graduate study
with major work in mathematics may be substituted year

for year for the required experience. Pertinent resident
study on a part-time basis successfully completed in an
institution above high-school level will receive appropriate
credit in accordance with the courses shown in an
Pertinent training acquired while serving in the Armed
Forces of the United States will be accepted on the same
basis as civilian training and will be evaluated accord­
ing to the actual time spent in training and the courses

Engineering Draftsman, GS-1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 9,
Drafting samples: The applicant must submit one or
more samples to show his knowledge of the techniques used
and his proficiency in the branch of drafting for which he
is applying. All samples must be originals in ink.
Applicants must have had experience in engineering
drafting as follows:

Total Specialized
experience experience
(years) (months)

The specialized experience must have been in one of the
following: aeronautical, architectural, civil, electrical,
heating and ventilating, mechanical, patent, ship, struc­
tural, or general engineering drafting. It must have been
comparable in difficulty and responsibility to work usually
performed in the next lower grade in this series. The
specialized experience shown by the applicant will deter­
mine for which option he is qualified. No specialized
experience is required for grades GS-1, 2, or 3. Specialized
experience exceeding the required amount may be sub­
stituted for general experience. For eligibility under more
than one option, the applicant must show the required
specialized experience for each option, because the same
period may not be used as specialized experience in more
than one option.
S u b s titu tio n .—For eligibility in grade GS-6 and above,
education may not be substituted for any of the specialized
drafting experience.
Pertinent resident study may be substituted as follows:
A — F o r G S -1 G rad e O n ly .—The successful completion
of a half-year high-school course in mathematics, drafting,
mechanical drawing, or art, will satisfy the requirement
for GS—1.
B — H ig h -S c h o o l E d u c a tio n .—The successful completion
of a full 4-year or senior high-school curriculum which
included four half-year courses, two of them in drafting,
and the others in mathematics and/or art, will satisfy
the GS-2 requirement in full, and will be acceptable for
1 year of the “total” time required for the GS-3 grade and

49 As of January 1952.



all higher grades, regardless of whether experience or fur­
ther education is offered to meet the remainder of the re­
quirement. No part of the required “specialized” time
may be satisfied by high-school education.
C — Above H ig h -S c h o o l L e v e l .—Resident study success­
fully completed in a school or institution above high-school
level (not to exceed 4 years of education) may be given
credit as follows:
(a) For a curriculum leading to a bachelor’s degree with
a major in architecture, engineering, forestry, geology,
landscape architecture, mathematics, or physics, and p ro ­
vided at least 1 year of college-level mathematics a n d 1
year of college-level drafting are included, credit will be
given as follows:
One year of such education qualifies for the GS-3
grade or may be substituted for 2 years of experience.
Two and one-half years of such education qualifies for
the GS-4 grade or may be substituted for 3 years of
Four years of such education qualifies for the GS-5
grade or may be substituted for 4 years of experience.50
(b) For a curriculum leading to a bachelor’s degree in
fields other than those listed in (a) immediately above, and
which included at least six semester hours in one or more of
the following subjects per credited year of study, all of
which involved drawing with instruments using pencil or
ink, accurate measurements and careful lettering, either
so Full-time academic years, comprising 2 semesters, 3 quarters, or the

freehand or by use of mechanical lettering guides; art
design, drafting, or illustrating, credit will be given as
Two years of such education qualifies for the GS-3
grade or may be substituted for 2 years of experience.
Four years of such education qualifies for the GS-4
grade or may be substituted for 3 years of experience.
(c) For pertinent study which included at least one
1-year course in college-level drafting at a college or uni­
versity, a technical institute, or a school specializing in
drafting, credit will be given at the rate of one full-time
academic year of education for 1 year of experience, not to
exceed 2 years of experience for such training. If appropri­
ate high-school credit also is shown, this will correspond to
the GS-4 level. To permit such maximum credit, it must
be evident that the education was pertinent and progres­
sively difficult, and that the specialization was appropriate
for the field of engineering drafting being considered.
Credit for education permitted as above specified may be
applied also as a part of the total experience needed for the
higher grades, but may not be used in lieu of “specialized”
experience in grades above the upper limits indicated in the
respective paragraphs above.
Pertinent specialized training or experience acquired
while serving in the Armed Forces of the United States
will be accepted on the same basis as civilian training or
experience and will be evaluated according to the actual
time spent in training and the subject matter of the courses