Radio towers transmit broadcasts across the country, so it is important to keep them in good working condition. Telecommunications companies hire installers and repairers for both the equipment and the cables that these radio towers utilize. While prospective line workers can benefit greatly from an apprenticeship, equipment workers typically need a formal postsecondary education.
Those who work on radio towers facilitate the continual flow of information via voice, televised images and electronic data for business, government and personal use. Positions in this field tend to focus on the installation and repair of either telecommunications equipment or lines. Equipment installers and repairers require a high school diploma and on-the-job training, whereas line installers may require a postsecondary certificate or an associate's degree or higher in electronics or a related discipline.
|Career Titles||Telecommunications Line Installers & Repairers||Telecommunications Equipment Installers and Repairers|
|Education Requirements||A high school diploma or an apprenticeship||A certificate, associate's degree or higher|
|Other Requirements||On-the-job training||On-the-job training|
|Certification||Voluntary; commercial driver's license may be needed||Requirements vary by specialty and employer|
|Projected Job Growth (2014 - 2024)*||1%||-4%|
|Median Annual Salary (May, 2015)*||$52,920||$54,570|
Source: *United States Bureau of Labor Statistics
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Learn more about the differences between working with telecommunications equipment and working with telecommunications lines below, and check out career statistics for each position.
Telecommunications Equipment Installers and Repairers
Also referred to as telecom technicians, telecommunications equipment installers and repairers install communications equipment, adjust equipment settings, service phone jacks, and repair or replace faulty equipment. They often work in private residences or office buildings. Some postsecondary education in telecommunications, electronics or computer technology and on-the-job training is necessary.
CareerBuilder.com job listings from November 2014 showed positions for tower climbers that required a high school diploma and one year of climbing experience, and others that required up to four years of experience in the telecommunications industry as well as a valid driver's license and a Tower Climbing Safety and Rescue Certification. Telecommunications equipment installers and repairers are projected by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to experience a 4% decrease in employment opportunities over the 2014-2024 decade. The BLS reported that equipment workers made a median annual salary of $54,570 as of May 2015.
Line Installers & Repairers
Line installers and repairers install and provide maintenance for power lines. They lay underground cables, operate power equipment, climb poles and install aerial power cables. Line installers and repairers are required to have a high school diploma or pass the Graduate Educational Development (GED) test, but no formal education is usually required. On-the-job training or apprenticeships provide individuals with the necessary expertise, and certification may be required.
Optional college certificate and associate's degree programs also exist that teach telecommunications, electronics, and electricity. Line installers made a median salary of $52,920 annually. The number of telecommunications workers who install and repair cable and fiber optic lines is projected to grow 1% during the period spanning 2014 -2024.
General Industry Requirements
Tower technicians may need certification in climbing, tower safety and rescue procedures in accordance with requirements of the Occupational Health and Safety Administration. Certification in tower safety and rescue is usually mandatory for tower installers. Workers in this field also need to feel comfortable working off the ground at high levels and must be able to carry loads up to about 75 pounds while climbing. A mechanical aptitude is also usually required for these workers.
Continuing education may be required for workers in this field due to rapid changes in technology. Workers may take classes or get additional training on the job to stay abreast of industry changes affecting their jobs.
While job growth for line installers and repairers is slow, it is still positive, whereas those specializing in equipment installation and repairs are looking at a downturn. Regardless of specialization, having experience through an apprenticeship and/or formal education can support an applicant's job search.