Can I Be a Satellite Contractor?
Satellite contractors install, test and repair satellite dishes that receive signals for television and/or Internet. They conduct site surveys to determine the optimal location to place satellite dishes and then install all the necessary equipment inside and outside of residences. They also test the newly installed system to ensure proper functioning and explain functionality of the system to customers. Finally, contractors verify that the installation conforms to company specifications.
Because they work on a contract basis, satellite contractors generally drive their own vehicles and use their own tools. They work outdoors in various types of weather conditions, and they often climb ladders to variable heights.
Satellite contractors are often expected to hold a high school diploma or the equivalent for entry into the career field. They must also demonstrate some mechanical and technological aptitude for tasks like using tuning equipment to obtain an optimum satellite signal and the physical stamina to lift 60-75 pounds. The median annual salary for satellite antenna installers was $42,520 as reported in January 2016 by Payscale.com. Pay can be hourly and vary by service requested.
Steps to Be a Satellite Contractor
Becoming a satellite contractor requires a combination of abilities and training.
Step 1: Obtain a Driver's License
Satellite installers must drive to installation sites at private residences or business locations. They generally provide their own vehicle and proof of insurance before the company will contract their services.
Step 2: Obtain Training and Experience
Some satellite installation companies provide training for new satellite installers, even for contract installers. Some companies require contract installers to have previous satellite installation experience. This experience may be obtained by working as an employee installing satellite equipment. The contractor is required to know how to perform a site survey and conform to approved installation procedures. They must also know how to use the company's tuning technology to point the dish to the correct satellite and acquire the optimum satellite signal. As a representative of the company, they also must provide good customer service.
Step 3: Pass a Background Check
Because satellite installers often perform their work at private residences, many companies require installers to pass a background check and drug testing. During their contract term, installers may be subject to periodic drug testing, which they must pass in order to maintain their contract with the company. They must also maintain their clean driving record.
Step 4: Pursue Industry Certification and Continuing Education
Community colleges and technical schools offer courses in basic electronics, telecommunications and computer science. A certificate or an associate's degree in electronics repair or related subjects can be obtained from these programs. Contractors and technicians that have a certificate or associate's degree often require less on-the-job training than those without postsecondary education.
Satellite contractors drive to sites where they complete the installation and repair of satellite dishes, using the hands-on training they've received, as well as their own tools and knowledge gained from any industry certifications they've earned.