Quoted from BubbaPin:
How does one go into being a tech. Is it required to be a electrical engineer. Can you apprentice a local tech to learn more. Any licenses tax paperwork required, how's the coin op business. Etc.
Pinball tech isn't really a regulated position. So you don't need to be any type of engineer. The successful ones can repair pinball machine though. That is the requirement.
There are not that many pinball techs that take on an apprentice. But there are some. For the start especially, it would be unpaid. Usually it isn't an advertised job with benefits or anything. I'm sure there are exceptions to that, like places similar to TNT. But to get a job there, I'd have to assume you would already need some decent experience. And I wouldn't think the pay or benefits would be that great.
So as a career, being a pinball tech isn't the greatest position.
I've been a pinball tech apprentice for about 7 years now, and I have no plans on stopping. I learn new stuff all the time through it. BUT one very important part of that is that I also have a career that has nothing to do with pinball. My "real" career pays the bills and supports my family. I absolutely require the stability and benefits that provides.
That isn't saying it is impossible to switch to making a living through pinball tech work. But it is a tough choice to do it. The "pinball industry" doesn't really have a ton of jobs right now. Some people are able to scratch one out, but it takes years. And the coin op industry isn't great. Since the heyday of pinball, a lot of different options have opened up. So again, sometimes there is lightning in a bottle, but overall it is a hard career.
Quoted from BubbaPin:
It's actually almost impossible for me to go to a local barcade because I just obsess over what is wrong with every game and just want to open the game up and fix it right there.
Get that crap out of your head quick. What is impossible is for a public location to keep machines in the same shape people do in their houses. Personally I like to go play, and if there is something wrong with the game, I just take it as a handicap to beating the machine. If a switch doesn't work, well, no, that should be fixed by the operator because it impacts the game directly. But weak flippers, bad setup, take my quarters! I don't care about any of it, I just want to play the game as it sits.