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Electronic Systems Technician

Learn the hands-on skills to install, troubleshoot, test and repair the next generation of electronic systems.

A student stands at a long desk covered in monitors and wires and other electronic equipment.
Start Date:
Typical Length:
2 Years

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Electronic devices and systems have become part of everyday life. Microprocessors, robots, lasers, fibre optics, biomedical electronics, satellite communications and wireless networking all use microelectronic technology.

With a wide range of applications, there's growing demand for technicians with the skills and knowledge to support these systems, from installing and testing to troubleshooting issues and repair.   

If you enjoy learning new technologies and hands-on work, this program will give you the skills you need to work in the expanding field of electronics. 

Throughout the program, you develop technical skills for the electronic field, including electrical circuits, microcontroller applications, electric machines, solid state circuits, electronic fabrication, high reliability soldering and programmable logic controllers (PLCs). 

There's a strong emphasis on hands-on learning, with extensive lab and project work. 

In the Electronic Systems Technician program, you learn to:

  • Troubleshoot, repair, and maintain electronic equipment and systems 
  • Fabricate, assemble, and install electronic equipment and systems 
  • Operate, configure, and maintain computers, networking equipment, and computer programs 
  • Advise on the purchase of appropriate electronic equipment to meet needs 
  • Safely use hand and power tools in completing electronics work
  • Interpret and prepare technical documents, such as schematics, service data, assembly drawings, etc.

Work experience

  • Field experience is a mandatory credit course, providing you with the opportunity to apply your knowledge and skills outside of the classroom.
    • Opportunities are typically unpaid and last approximately 5 weeks.
  • This program is eligible for an optional cooperative education (co-op) credit course between year one and two.
    • Co-op provides an opportunity for paid, full-time employment in a field related to your program.
    • Co-op takes place in third term and must be a minimum of 12 weeks and 420 hours.
    • Our co-op program follows Co-operative Education and Work-Integrated Learning Canada (CEWIL) guidelines.
  • Transportation, accommodations and other costs related to work experience are your responsibility.
  • For more information, visit work experience opportunities.

Choose NSCC

  • If considering a career in the Canadian Armed Forces, graduates can receive advanced standing as an Aerospace Telecommunication and Information Systems Technician. This program is recognized by CAF as aligning with the training requirements for this occupation, and graduates would only need to complete the remaining curriculum.

September 2024

Campus Full time/part time Delivery Availability
Ivany Campus
Full time In person
Delivered in-person. Some courses may have online elements.
Kingstec Campus
Full time In person
Delivered in-person. Some courses may have online elements.
Seats available
Sydney Waterfront Campus
Full time In person
Delivered in-person. Some courses may have online elements.
Seats available

Admission requirements

Program requirements

  • Portfolio development – As part of your studies at NSCC, you develop a portfolio of your work; the portfolio captures your achievements and profiles your skills to employers.


Tuition amounts are for the 2024-25 academic year. Program costs and fees (textbooks, supplies, etc.) are additional.

Tuition (Domestic):
Tuition (International):

Tuition, fees and program costs

In addition to annual tuition, there are program costs (books, tools, etc.) and student fees for college services, health and dental plans, your student association and parking.

View detailed program fees page(s). Please note that amounts on these pages are meant for planning purposes only. They don't represent final amounts owing.

Career options

Graduates of the Electronic Systems Technician program are qualified to begin working with electronic systems in a wide variety of industries, such as telecommunications, manufacturing, healthcare, security, marine, and energy. 

Graduates will have the skills to find employment supporting electronic systems across multiple industries, such as telecommunications systems, medical technologies, security systems, marine navigation systems, or manufacturing equipment.  

Graduates may be employed by companies, organizations, and government agencies, under job titles such as:

  • Electronic Technician
  • Alarm System Technician
  • Fibre optics communications technician
  • Naval electronics technician
  • Medical equipment service technician
  • Manufacturing Technician
  • Electronics Installer
  • Audio-visual equipment technician
  • Robotics Technician

Courses may include

These are some of the courses offered in this program. It is not a complete list and courses are subject to change in advance of the academic year.

Recognizing prior learning / transfer credits
If you have previous learning (course, employment, etc...) that's relevant to your program, you may be able to apply to earn credit. Not all programs are eligible. Learn about our recognizing prior learning (RPL) process.

ESTN 1000 - Orientation to Electronic Systems Technician (ESTN)
This course will introduce you to post-secondary education and the importance of active learning in the Electronic Systems Technician (ESTN) program and in your future career. This will give you the practical skills and tools you need to become an organized, active, effective learner.

ESTN 1005 - Industry Readiness
A crucial component of trade practice is the ability to share information. Explaining work, applying trade skills and meeting industry standards involves communicating effectively. This course introduces these skills with a trade focus and will help prepare students to contribute to employment and in the classroom. Course work may tie directly to projects and assignments happening elsewhere in the program and in its shops.

ESTN 1020 - Technicians in the Workplace
This course is designed to help you understand the work of electronics technicians and the career paths available to you when you’ve graduated. We will discuss the environments, workplaces, and industries in which Electronic Systems Technicians work, and the roles and types of work performed.

ESTN 1200 - General Purpose Computers
This course will give you the computer skills you need to be successful academically and to attain the level of familiarity with computers expected of an Electronic Systems Technician (ESTN). You will practice essential software and hardware skills, and learn to use both open source and proprietary operating systems. You will use these skills throughout the program, applying computer technology as a troubleshooting and test tool.

ESTN 1202 - Fabrication, Installation and Mechanical Fundamentals I
This course focuses on hands-on skills including soldering, installation work, general mechanical aptitude, and maintaining a clean and safe work environment in accordance with safe work practices and industry standards. You will learn how to competently use soldering specific hand tools, shop tools, and hardware, demonstrate proficiency in soldering and desoldering to IPC standards, and learn to assemble, test and repair/modify a printed circuit board using a given schematic.

ESTN 1204 - Interpreting Technical Drawings
This course is an introduction to interpreting various technical drawings used as an Electronic Systems Technician. You will develop an understanding of how to use technical drawings to build, test, measure and verify various components in the industry. You will use mechanical drawings to verify mechanical components and interpret electrical and electronic drawings to verify electrical connections.

ESTN 1206 - DC Circuits
This course covers the theories of resistance, voltage and current associated with series/parallel resistive direct current (DC) circuits, and working safely with various direct current sources and the proper operation of measuring test equipment. These theories and practices are confirmed and enhanced by performing laboratory experiments and use of electronic test equipment.

ESTN 1208 - Applied Math I
This course provides you with a basic understanding of applied mathematical principles for use by technicians. Applied Math l is designed to cover basic algebra, geometry, functional notation, linear equations, exponents, logarithms, analytic geometry and systems of equations. The use of scientific or graphing calculators as a mathematical tool will be explored. You will be encouraged to maintain a math journal that may become part of your personal College portfolio.

ESTN 1210 - Digital Logic
This course introduces the basic digital logic concepts necessary to attain a working knowledge of Medium Scale Integration (MSI) chips, Large Scale Integration (LSI) and Very Large-Scale Integration (VLSI) circuits, the theoretical mathematical component required to design standard, combinatorial digital circuits and the variety of test equipment required for troubleshooting digital logic systems with schematics. These concepts prepare you for the Microcontroller and Programmable Logic Controller sections of the Electronic Systems Technician program. You will complete laboratory experiments both on the bench and via EDA software to meet to learning outcomes.

ESTN 1212 - Fabrication, Installation and Mechanical Fundamentals II
This course prominently features cabling, cable terminations, cable management, racked equipment, and considerations for installation work. You will terminate and test non-soldered industry-standard cabling, maintain efficient cable management solutions, and develop an understanding of the vital role of shielding in cabling to maintain consistent and reliable performance. You will gain the expertise to efficiently install and maintain electronic rack units, ensuring the reliable and organized deployment of essential electronic equipment within various environments, and demonstrate the proper assembly and disassembly of a mechanical system following established procedures. You will demonstrate fundamental mechanical skills, encompassing typical challenges, measurements, and calculations, and demonstrate familiarity, competency, and a commitment to safety when working with various hand tools, shop tools, and hardware.

ESTN 1214 - Semiconductor Circuits I
This course is an introduction to semiconductor devices such as rectifier diodes, Zener diodes, light-emitting diodes, thyristors and bipolar junction transistors. The operation and characteristics of power supply circuits, diode wave-shaping circuits and small signal amplifier circuits are studied and verified in the lab using standard test equipment and/or simulation software. You will use appropriate test equipment or simulation software to identify, analyze, and troubleshoot various diode circuits, bipolar junction transistors (BJTs) and BJT circuits. You will identify, analyze, and troubleshoot field effect transistors and thyristor devices and circuits.

ESTN 1216 - AC Circuits
This course covers the theories of alternating current circuits. Working safely with various voltage and current sources and the proper operation of test equipment is emphasized. These theories and practices are confirmed and enhanced by performing laboratory experiments in which you will define, recognize, and relate electrical quantities, explain properties of inductance and capacitance in time varying circuits, and identify circuit components used in AC circuit applications. You will analyze and troubleshoot AC circuits including resistors, capacitors, inductors, and transformers, and apply electronic simulation software to AC circuits to verify calculated values.

ESTN 1218 - Applied Math II
This course builds on the skills and knowledge learned from Applied Math I, broadening your understanding of applied mathematical principles for use by technicians. This course is designed to cover trigonometric functions, complex numbers, analytic geometry and systems of equations. The use of computer software as a mathematical tool will be used. You will be encouraged to maintain a math journal that may become part of yourpersonal College portfolio.

ESTN 1220 - Computer Networking
This course will give you the computer skills you need to be successful academically and to attain the level of familiarity with computers expected of an Electronic Systems Technician. You will identify and understand the fundamental components of a computer network, gain knowledge of a variety of networking hardware, and come to understand computer networking in the context of a technician’s role. You will effectively setup, adjust, and troubleshoot network equipment, ensuring communication across multiple devices.

ESTN 1222 - Troubleshooting
This course provides a systematic approach to problem solving and technical troubleshooting with emphasis on the theoretical approach and logical, systematic thinking associated with efficient troubleshooting. Hands-on troubleshooting and the application of the course’s principles will occur throughout the labs of other courses.

SAFE 1000 - Introduction to WHMIS (Workplace Hazardous Materials Information Systems)
This course offers learners basic overview of WHMIS principles and establishes a solid foundation to support workplace-specific training on the safe storage and handling of controlled/hazardous products. Upon successful completion of the course, students receive basic WHMIS certification.

SAFE 1001 - Introduction to NS OH&S Act
This course offers students an introduction to the Occupational Health & Safety (OH&S) Act of Nova Scotia, which is required by any person employed in a Nova Scotia workplace. This is a generic, introductory course that provides basic knowledge of the Act for students and is considered to be the basis from which more specific training can be given.

SAFE 1021 - Safety Basics – Hazard Identification
The learners are introduced to the types of hazards encountered in workplaces and the approach that should be followed when recommending and implementing appropriate controls. Two key elements of Hazard Identification are addressed: Hazard Assessment and Inspection. The Nova Scotia Occupational Health and Safety Act is discussed. The course material is to be infused throughout the curriculum and may be delivered in the classroom, shop or other opportunity as designed and developed by the instructor.

SAFE 1023 - Safety Basics – Lock-out Tag Out
Lock-out Tag Out introduces students to the hazards related to energized systems and procedures to ensure worker safety. Related legislation and risk management is discussed and the student is exposed to the various types of lock-out devices. The course material is to be infused throughout the curriculum and may be delivered in the classroom, shop or other opportunity as designed and developed by the instructor.

SAFE 1024 - Safety Basics – Respiratory Protection
This course introduces students to the potential of atmospheric hazards in the workplace and the available personal protection and control methods to maintain a safe work environment. Discussion topics include identification and testing for atmospheric hazards and workplace respiratory programs. The course material is to be infused throughout the curriculum and may be delivered in the classroom, shop or other opportunity as designed and developed by the instructor.

Electronic Systems Technician Elective. Students must take 12 credits in prescribed electives.

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