Telecommunications Technician Careers: Salary & Job Description

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What are the pros and cons of a telecommunications technician career? Get real job descriptions, career outlook and salary info to see if becoming a telecommunication technician is right for you.
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Pros and Cons of a Telecommunications Technician Career

Telecommunications technicians have a wide variety of job duties that include installing satellite dishes, repairing telecommunications equipment and setting up the Internet in homes and businesses. To help you weigh the pros and cons of this field, check out the following tables.

Pros of Becoming a Telecommunications Technician
A college degree and computer knowledge can increase job opportunities*
Higher than national average earning potential ($55,190 median wage in 2014)*
Jobs are expected to grow as more consumers, businesses and governments demand faster Internet, cable and wireless connections*
Offers jobs in various fields (voice, video and Internet)*

Cons of Becoming a Telecommunications Technician
May require work on holidays and weekends*
Has a higher than average risk of work-related injuries*
Some employers may require an associate's degree*
Continued education required due to constant changes in industry *
Certification may be required*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Career Information

Job Description and Duties

Telecommunications technician jobs involve performing installation, maintenance and repair on telecommunications equipment, such as satellite dishes, cable TV receivers and Internet hardware. You may also service systems that aren't working properly, making adjustments or troubleshooting problems. Work is usually done inside; however, technicians may have to be outside as part of installing new systems in a home or making adjustments to outdoor receivers. You may have to work in extreme weather conditions, including driving in bad weather as you travel to customers' homes. The job involves standing, crouching, climbing and carrying heavy items. You may be exposed to hazards, such as falls, burns and electrical shock, but following safety procedures should minimize or prevent most serious injuries.

Job Growth and Salary

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) expects a 4% rise in employment for telecommunications technicians from 2012-2022, due to improvements in equipment that make them more in demand (www.bls.gov). Job growth may be helped by the introduction of new products that will need to be installed, but in the long run, the efficiency and easier maintenance on these products may decrease the need for new workers in the field.

In May 2014, the BLS reported that telecommunications equipment installers and repairers earned

a median wage of $55,190. The 10th-90th percentile range earned $30,000-$77,000.

What Are the Requirements?

Some employers may hire you for a telecommunications technician position without any formal training, but as technology advances, employers are starting to prefer applicants with formal training. Training programs may range from certificate programs to associate's degree programs. Employers usually offer some type of training for new hires, which may include classroom lessons or shadowing an experienced technician. Continuing education is common, due to the technological changes that are constantly occurring in this industry. Employers also look for skills and qualities in new hires that include:

  • Mechanical aptitude
  • Problem solving skills
  • Good physical condition
  • Customer service skills
  • Communication skills
  • Clean appearance

What Employers Are Looking For

Job postings from employers in March 2012 indicated that employers want to hire technicians who are knowledgeable about the latest technology. Employers may be willing to train you in emerging technology, but they want you to come into the job already familiar with the telecommunications industry and its products. Take a look at real job postings from Monster.com in 2012:

  • A information technology and software development company in San Francisco was seeking a telecommunications technician with an associate's degree and three years of technical and administrative experience in telephone systems.
  • A telecommunications company in Anchorage wanted a telecommunications technician with experience in digital voice over Internet protocol (VoIP), Avaya and analog devices.
  • A Minnesota technology company was looking for a telecommunications technician with 2-4 years of experience, a degree or certification in information technology and the ability to learn quickly.
  • An information technology department at a California company was seeking a telecommunications technician with strong multi-tasking skills who has experience with digital and Internet telephone systems.
  • In Boston, a company advertised a position for a voice and data telecommunications technician who has their own tools and is willing to travel a four-city area .

How to Get an Edge in the Field

Get Certified

Some employers may require certification from a professional organization or equipment manufacturer. The Society of Cable Telecommunications Engineers (SCTE) offers multiple certification options for technicians. Certifications include Broadband Premises Technician, Broadband Distribution Specialist, Digital Video Engineering Professional and Internet Protocol Engineering Professional.

Get Specialized

The BLS reported that those with skills in PBX, a telephone network system used by businesses, and current technology, such as VoIP, will see the best job opportunities. Securing training in these areas may prove to be beneficial in finding more employment opportunities or being chosen above others who lack such skills and knowledge.

Alternative Career Paths

If you are interested in working in the telecommunications field, but you don't want to pursue further education, then you may consider working as a line installer or repairer. Maybe you aren't interested in working in or around residential homes. In that case, you may consider working as a computer, automated teller or office machine repairer.

Line Installer and Repairer

A career as a line installer and repairer is closely related to a telecommunication technician career in many ways, including troubleshooting connection issues and fixing problems with equipment. The majority of your work would involve installing or repairing lines that run outside of customers' homes and along utility poles. According to the BLS, you would only need a high school diploma or its equivalent to enter this field, but training from a technical school or through the military is also encouraged. Line installers and repairers earned a median salary of $54,000 in 2010, and jobs were expected to grow about as fast as other professions.

Computer, Automated Teller or Office Machine Repairer

In this career, you would focus on repair of different types equipment in a variety of settings, but you may focus specifically on commercial or business related equipment. Jobs in this field are expected to grow slower than average from 2010-2020, but you could enter this field with only vocational or military training. The median salary in this field was $37,000 in 2010. The top ten percent earned $57,000, and the lowest ten percent earned $23,000, according to the BLS.

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Universal Technical Institute

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Penn Foster

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