Basic Electronics - Online Training | Penn Foster Career School

Basic Electronics Online Training

Why Penn Foster Career School?

  • Regionally & Nationally Accredited
  • Self-Paced
  • Supportive
  • Low monthly payments

Program Overview

Develop your skills with Penn Foster Career School’s Basic Electronics Career Diploma program. Learn about electronics, from basic safety to universal design and theory. Our online electronics courses allow you to train at home and at a pace that's right for you. And you can complete this program in as little as four months.

The Basic Electronics training program includes practical exercises to give you hands-on experience relative to your program and career goals. You will receive study materials, including electronics practice kits, a digital multimeter and multimeter operation manual, and a soldering iron. Graduates are eligible to sit for the Electronics Technicians Association International (ETA®) Certification Exam. Students in this online training program may be able to receive some college credit at Penn Foster College, licensed in Arizona, for selected courses in the program.

If you’re looking to take the first steps towards a career in electronics, there’s no better place to start than Penn Foster Career School. See below for more details on how you can take the first steps towards becoming an electronic technician.

Curriculum Details

Program Goal and Outcomes

Program Goal

Provide students with the necessary skills for entry into the field of electronics. Upon completion of the course, students will be eligible to sit for the Electronics Technicians' Association International (ETA) Certification Exam.

Program Outcomes

Upon completion of the program, students will be able to:

  • Identify the schematic symbols of several common electronic components and describe their functions; define terms used in electronics
  • Name several electrical shock hazards, and understand how to prevent electrical shocks through lockout-and-tag procedures, proper procedures, and personal protective equipment (PPE)
  • Discern the various types of conductors and their conductivity; determine the size of conductor needed for an application; identify types of insulating materials and list their temperature ratings
  • Calculate voltage, resistance, and current in series, parallel, and series-parallel circuits
  • Understand how to use electronics equipment, including multimeters, soldering equipment, and ohmmeters
  • Read circuit diagrams, and analyze basic relay ladder diagrams
  • List the various switch types, their uses, and the advantages and disadvantages of each type
  • Identify many types of wires, cables, connectors, and terminals, and specify the applications for each type
  • Determine the expected resistance of a wire, and estimate the change in resistance that occurs with changing wire characteristics
  • Discern the differences among simple, compound, and closed magnetic circuits
  • Determine the direction of magnetic lines of force around a conductor
  • Calculate the total capacitance of a circuit; calculate the time constant of a resistance-capacitance (RC) or resistance-inductance (RL) circuit; calculate the total inductance of a circuit
  • Explain how inductors are constructed, and describe how an inductor can regulate the flow of current in a DC circuit
  • Describe how diodes and transistors work and how to determine if they're working properly; list uses for diodes and transistors in electronic systems

Unit 1

Starting Your Program

Succeed by learning how to use your Penn Foster program.


  • Understand how to use your Student Portal, including your My Homepage and My Courses pages.
  • Access the Penn Foster Community and use it to find answers.
  • Connect with Penn Foster on various social media sites.
Introduction to Electronics
  • Explore the fascinating world of technology that’s made possible by modern electronics.
  • Review the use of specialized tools and measuring instruments.
  • Learn about job opportunities in the electronics field and the skills you’ll need to qualify for them.

Unit 2

Nature of Electricity
  • Learn what electricity is and how we use it.
  • Read about the dangers and benefits of static electricity.
  • Familiarize yourself with volts, amperes, ohms, and series and parallel circuits.
Practical Exercise 1

At this point in your program, you will complete a practical exercise.

Additional Unit Materials

Learning Aids:

  • Electronics Practice Kit 1
  • Resistor Color Guide

Unit 3

Conductors, Insulators, and Batteries
  • Learn about conductors and the types of insulation used to cover conductors.
  • Explore cells and batteries.
  • Read about safety precautions when using storage batteries.
Circuit Analysis and Ohm’s Law
  • Read about circuit resistance.
  • Study Ohm’s Law and how it’s used to identify the amount of current, voltage, or resistance.
  • Learn about power and how to take basic meter readings in circuits.
Practical Exercise 2

At this point in your program, you will complete a practical exercise.

Additional Unit Materials

Learning Aids:

  • Electronics Practice Kit 2
  • Digital Multimeter


  • Circuit Formula Quick Reference Chart
  • Multimeter Operation Manual

Unit 4

Basic Test Equipment
  • Learn about the use of basic multimeters or VOMs.
  • Study the features, controls, and uses of both analog and digital VOMs.
  • Explore the special accessory probes used with meters to measure current, temperature, and high voltages.
Electronics Hardware
  • Study the connectors that join wire or cables to components.
  • Learn how to mount components to various types of circuit boards.
  • Read about the particular types of components and boards that require special attention.
Switching Devices
  • Explore different types of switches and their advantages and disadvantages.
  • Learn how switches function, and how they’re used in electronic circuits.
  • Read about basic relay ladder diagrams.
Practical Exercise 3

At this point in your program, you will complete a practical exercise.

Additional Unit Materials

Learning Aids:

  • Electronics Practice Kit 3
  • Soldering Iron
  • Desoldering Pump


  • Soldering and Desoldering

Unit 5

Magnetism and Electromagnetism
  • Learn about natural and artificial magnets.
  • Explore simple, compound, and closed magnetic circuits.
  • Read about simple electromagnetic relays.
  • Study electromagnetism, electromagnetic devices, and electromagnetic induction.
Capacitors and Inductors
  • Learn about how capacitors and inductors operate in DC circuits.
  • Discover how capacitors and inductors are used in many types of industrial power supplies, motor drive systems, and on most industrial electronics printed circuit boards.
Basic Semiconductor Components: Diodes
  • Explore the electronic component called the diode.
  • Study how diodes work and how they’re used in electronic circuits.
  • Learn how to perform some basic measurements in diode circuits.
Basic Semiconductor Components: Transistors
  • Study the construction and function of several basic types of transistors.
  • Learn how to use an ohmmeter.
  • Discover how to perform simple circuit measurements and tests on transistors.
  • Study some basic troubleshooting techniques for electronic circuits that contain amplifying devices.
Practical Exercise 4

At this point in your program, you will complete a practical exercise.

Additional Unit Materials

Learning Aid: Electronics Practice Kit 4

Unit 6

Alternating Current
  • Explore AC current and how it’s used in the industry.
  • Read about the basic characteristics of alternating current and the values used to describe AC cycles.
  • Familiarize yourself with single-, split-, and three-phase AC current.
Capacitors in AC Circuits
  • Learn about capacitors and how they function in AC circuits.
  • Discover how to calculate the total capacitance of series- and parallel-connected capacitors.
  • Learn how to calculate capacitive reactance.
Inductors in AC Circuits
  • Discover how inductors operate in AC circuits.
  • Understand and calculate impedance.
  • Explore the fundamental concepts of transformers.
  • Learn how transformers are used in the transmission of electric power, in the control and signal circuits, and in electronic and radio equipment.
Practical Exercise 5

At this point in your program, you will complete a practical exercise.

Additional Unit Material

Learning Aid: Electronics Practice Kit 5

Unit 7

Reactance and Impedance
  • Learn how resistors, capacitors, and inductors are the basic building blocks of all electronic systems.
  • Read about how resistors, capacitors, and inductors behave when connected to form basic circuits.
Resonant Circuits
  • Learn how a resonant circuit is a special kind of reactive circuit.
  • Read about how resonant circuits are used in communications, telemetering, filters and oscillators, and in many other applications.
  • Calculate the value of the Quality Factor, Q.
Applications and Troubleshooting of Resonant Circuits
  • Explore coupled circuits, traps, filters, and transmission lines.
  • Review some important troubleshooting applications that apply to resonant circuits and other types of circuits.
  • Study the maximum power transfer theorem.
  • Review a number of design equations and design applications.
Practical Exercise 6

At this point in your program, you will complete a practical exercise.

Additional Unit Material

Learning Aid: Electronics Practice Kit 6

Unit 8

Rectifiers and Power Supplies
  • Study rectification.
  • Learn how different types of power supplies work.
  • Learn some of the important troubleshooting techniques.
  • Explore alternate methods that can be used to determine the current in a circuit.
  • Explore amplifiers and how they’re a fundamental component of the communications process.
  • Read about the process of combining relatively simple circuits into complex configurations.
  • Learn how the oscillator plays a wide-ranging role in contemporary electronics.
  • Explore how the oscillator can produce one of a variety of output waveforms.
Optolectronic and Fiber Optic Components
  • Explore the field of optoelectronics.
  • Read about components that do similar jobs in different ways.
Practical Exercise 7

At this point in your program, you will complete a practical exercise.

Additional Unit Material

Learning Aid: Electronics Practice Kit 7

Unit 9

Electronic Sensors
  • Learn how electronic sensors are used to improve efficiency and reduce costs.
  • Explore how certain electronic components are used as sensors and as parts in instrumentation and control systems.
Modulation and Detection Circuits
  • Learn how modulation and demodulation (detection) are functions that make electronic communications both possible and practical.
  • Read about how demodulation is the final link in the information transmission “chain.”
Electronic Devices and Amplification
  • Study several electronic devices used in industrial electronic systems.
  • Get an in-depth view of the subject of amplification.
  • Learn about electronics diagrams.
Using Basic Oscilloscopes
  • Learn about the basic controls and functions of the oscilloscope.
  • Study the component parts and features of a standard, dual-trace oscilloscope.
  • Learn how to use an oscilloscope to troubleshoot industrial systems.
Practical Exercise 8

At this point in your program, you will complete a practical exercise.

Additional Unit Material

Learning Aid: Electronics Practice Kit 8

Unit 10

Audio and RF Circuits
  • Study audio frequency (AF), radio frequency (RF), and direct current (DC) signal transmission.
  • Learn about telephone systems, hard-wired systems, and fiber-optic systems.
  • Explore the sound systems used in industrial plants.
Oscillators, Feedback, and Waveforms
  • Learn about oscillator circuits.
  • Study how feedback is obtained in an oscillator.
  • Read about several different waveforms, and explain how they’re created.
Electronic Power Supply Systems
  • Read about how all electrical and electronic systems require a power source.
  • Study the basic operation of DC and AC conversion equipment.
  • Explore some of the basic components and circuits that are used to produce DC power from available AC input sources.
Practical Exercise 9

At this point in your program, you will complete a practical exercise.

Additional Unit Material

Learning Aid: Electronics Practice Kit 9

Computer Specifications
You will need high-speed internet access to begin your program. You will need access to a Microsoft® Windows® based computer running Windows XP® or later or an Apple® Mac® computer running OS X® or later, and an email account to complete your program with Penn Foster.

We reserve the right to change program content and materials when it becomes necessary.
Microsoft, Windows, and Windows XP are trademarks of Microsoft Corporation registered in the United States of America and/or other jurisdictions.
Apple, Mac, and OS X are trademarks of Apple, Inc registered in the United States of America and/or other jurisdictions.

Sample Lesson

To view a sample lesson from our Basic Electronics online courses, click here.

Basic Electronics Program Details

In the Penn Foster Career School Basic Electronics online program you will:

State Licensing Information

Licensing and/or certification requirements for jobs in this field are not the same in every state and may include educational, testing, and/or experiential requirements beyond those offered by your Penn Foster Program. You should contact the state professional licensing board or similar regulatory body in the state(s) where you plan to work to determine their requirements before enrolling in your Program. Please click here for contact information for state licensing/regulatory boards and certain industry licensing information.

online basic electronics courses

Electronics technicians maintain and replace a variety of electronics in computers, entertainment, and broadcast equipment. Here are a few qualities that effective electronics technicians have in common:

  • Detail oriented: It’s important to have a sharp eye and check things twice.
  • Cooperative: You are pleasant, receptive, and work well with others.
  • Honest: Your work requires integrity and a good sense of ethics.
  • Persistent: Your job requires focus and determination in the face of obstacles.

I would highly recommend this school. The tuition is very low, and there are no specific deadlines for your assignments. The school allows you to work at your own pace, and transferring credits from other schools is simple.

- Bradley S., Basic Electronics Graduate

Penn Foster is a great way to get ahead in a career and the way the program was set up, even the busiest person can get through it. I'm so glad I found Penn Foster.

- Guiseppe S., Penn Foster Graduate

I have had great feedback from my employer after my training from Penn Foster. I have also had other job offers. The knowledge that you learn is priceless. Penn Foster is an excellent school.

- Kenny B., Penn Foster Graduate

Your program includes:

  • Customized payment plans with 0% interest
  • Learning aids, including electronics practice kits, resistor color guide, circuit formula quick reference chart, digital multimeter, multimeter operation manual, soldering iron, and desoldering pump
  • Goal-setting and progress-tracking tools
  • Instructional support from our experienced faculty
  • Access 24/7 to Penn Foster’s online community, plus immediate membership in the Basic Electronics academic group
  • Your personalized online student homepage and learning portal
  • Additional resources such as our online library and career guidance from Career Cruising

Are there any useful guides included in the Basic Electronics Career Diploma Program?

Practice kits and practical exercises are provided for you. Parts kits may include different types of wires and various parts for practice. Some examples of what is included in the program: Electronics practice kits, Resistor color guide, Circuit formula quick reference chart, Digital multimeter, Multimeter operation manual, Soldering iron, and Desoldering pump.

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