Telecommunications technician training teaches students everything they need to know to be successful on the job. They set up and maintain equipment or devices that connect to phone lines, access the internet, and carry communications signals. They use a variety of different tools to inspect and diagnose problems. Many telecom techs work with specialized hardware, computers, and other diagnostic equipment.
Telecommunications technician salary is competitive. The key to qualifying for these jobs is to successfully complete a local or online telecommunications technician training program.
Telecommunications Technician Career at a Glance
|2015 Median Pay||$54,570 per year
$26.24 per hour
|Typical Entry-Level Education||Postsecondary nondegree award|
|Work Experience in a Related Occupation||None|
|On-the-job Training||Moderate-term on-the-job training|
|Number of Jobs, 2014||218,600|
|Job Outlook, 2014-24||-4% (Decline)|
|Employment Change, 2014-24||-7,800|
Recommended Telecom Tech Training Programs
Duties and Responsibilities
Telecommunications technician training will teach you the skills you need to be successful. The training program will teach you how to complete the following telecommunications technician duties:
- Install communications equipment in private homes, buildings, and offices under construction
- Service and inspect phone jacks, wiring, and equipment
- Replace, set up, and rearrange dialing and routing equipment
- Test newly installed, updated, and repaired equipment to ensure it works properly
- Replace or repair damaged, malfunctioning, and faulty equipment
- Calibrate or adjust equipment settings to improve performance
- Explain and demonstrate the use of equipment to customers
- Maintain records of installations, repairs, and maintenance
Telecommunications technician training programs require students to study electronics, telecommunications, or computers. Most training programs lead to an associate’s degree or certificate in computer science, electronics repair, or related subjects.
Some employers prefer to hire candidates with an associate’s degree, particularly for positions such as central office technicians, headend technicians, and those working with commercial communications systems.
Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations
Some technicians must be certified to perform certain tasks or to work on specific equipment. Certification requirements vary by employer and specialization.
Organizations, such as the Society of Cable Telecommunications Engineers, offer certifications for telecom technicians. Some manufacturers also provide certifications for working with specific equipment.
Telecommunications Technician Salary
In May 2015, the median annual wages for telecommunications technicians in the top industries in which they worked were as follows:
- Wired telecommunications carriers – $58,090
- Wireless telecommunications carriers (except satellite) – $58,040
- Cable and other subscription programming – $48,130
- Specialty trade contractors – $43,840
Telecommunications Technician Jobs
The BLS has projected telecommunications technician jobs to decline by 4% over the next ten years. This decline is expected to lose more than 7,000 telecommunications jobs by 2024. However, that shouldn’t discourage you. As the baby boomer population retires, many of the existing jobs will need to find replacements! Now is the perfect time to search for telecommunications technician training programs and enroll!
Types of Telecommunications Technicians
Central office technicians maintain and setup routers, switches, fiber optic cables, and other equipment at switching hubs, referred to as “central offices.” These hubs process, amplify, and send data from thousands of internet, cable, and telephone connections. Telecommunications technicians receive alerts from monitoring equipment to access and resolve the problem remotely.
Station installers and repairers—often referred to as “home installers and repairers”— these technicians repair and setup telecom equipment in customers’ businesses and homes. For example, they setup modems to install cable television, telephone, and internet services.
Headend technicians perform similar duties to central office technicians, but work for television and cable companies at distribution centers, called “headends.” Technicians at headends monitor signals for cable companies that provide modem and television services to subscribers.
PBX installers and repairers service and setup private branch exchange (PBX) switchboards. PBXs relay interoffice, outgoing, and incoming telephone calls and may process telephone communications and internet access, such as Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) technology. PBX repairers and installers connect equipment to communications cables. They repair and test connections to ensure communication links work properly and there is adequate power available. They repair and install telephone sets, alarms, power systems, supports, and frames. PBX installers also program or install switch and switchboard software.
In 2014, there were about 218,000 telecommunications technician jobs. Approximately 61% work for wired telecommunications carriers. Some telecom technicians generally work in electronic service centers or central offices. They frequently travel to repair or installation sites, such as offices and homes. Equipment installation may require climbing ladders and telephone poles, into attics and on rooftops.
Telecom technicians occasionally work in awkward, cramped positions where they often reach high, crawl, crouch, or stoop to do their work. Sometimes they must move or lift heavy parts and equipment. They also need to take necessary precautions when they work on equipment while it is powered.
Here is the breakdown for where telecommunications technicians work:
- Wired telecommunications carriers – 61%
- Wireless telecommunications carriers (except satellite) – 12%
- Cable and other subscription programming – 4%
- Specialty trade contractors – 4%
Color vision. Telecommunications technicians work with color-coded wires and must be able to distinguish different colors.
Troubleshooting skills. Telecommunications technicians must be able to devise solutions and troubleshoot problems that are not immediately apparent.
Customer-service skills. Telecom techs that work in customers’ office and homes need to be polite and friendly. They must be able to to instruct people how to operate and maintain their equipment.
Mechanical skills. Techs must be familiar with devices they repair and install, the appropriate tools needed to fix or install them, and their internal parts. They must also be able to understand instructions when repairing or installing equipment.
Dexterity. Telecommunications tech tasks, such as using hand tools, connecting components, and repairing small devices, require good handy-eye coordination and a steady hand.