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Become a Cable Technician: Education and Career Roadmap

Learn how to become a cable technician. Research the education requirements, training information and experience required for starting a career in the telecommunications field. View article »

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  • 0:03 Becoming a Cable Technician
  • 0:30 Career Requirements
  • 1:20 Education Requirments
  • 1:45 Gain Work Experience
  • 2:19 Earn Certification

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Video Transcript

Becoming A Cable Technician

So you think you might like to become a cable technician? Cable technicians install, repair and upgrade the systems that transport cable signals. These systems provide access to television, telephone and Internet services. Line installers install new cables and line repairers maintain existing cables. Work often involves travel in utility vehicles and working outdoors. Safety procedures must be followed to prevent injuries.

Career Requirements

Degree Level High school diploma usually required; certification is available.
Degree Fields Telecommunications, electronics or electricity.
Training Apprenticeships and long-term job training are often required.
Licensure and Certification Voluntary certification is available from organizations such as the National Joint Apprenticeship and Training Committee.
Key Skills Ability to use complex diagnostic equipment and tools such as cable slitters, cable reels, etc.; physical strength, stamina and color vision required; customer relations skills, ability to troubleshoot and work in a team; must be able to drive.
Salary $37,244 per year (Median salary for cable TV installers)

Sources: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, O*NET OnLine, Payscale.com, Comcast

So what are the career requirements? Starting with the right education is important. Employers look for someone with at least a high school diploma. Certificate and associate programs are available in telecommunications, electronics, computers, or electricity, and may help with job prospects. Voluntary certification is available. Apprenticeships and long-term job training are often required.

Key skills are the ability to use complex diagnostic equipment and tools such as cable slitters, cable reels, etc. Physical strength, stamina, and color vision is required, as is customer relation skills, the ability to troubleshoot, the ability to work in a team, and you must be able to drive.

According to PayScale.com, the median salary for cable TV installers is $36,327.

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Step 1: Meet Educational Requirements

Courses in math, reading and writing are beneficial to aspiring cable technicians. Students might also consider taking classes that allow them to develop mechanical skills and learn about electrical systems. Prospective technicians may enroll in certificate programs or associate's degree programs in telecommunications, electronics, computers or electricity.

Step 2: Gain Work Experience

Most cable technicians start their careers as cable television installers. Cable installers typically deal with the initial setup of cable systems in homes and offices, while cable technicians do installations as well as repairs. Installers gain valuable experience working with cable equipment and interacting with customers. They may also perform minor troubleshooting, which is also good preparation for a cable technician role. After a few years on the job, installers may advance to cable technician positions.

Step 3: Earn Certification to Advance Your Career

Voluntary certification for cable television technicians is available from several organizations. The National Joint Apprenticeship and Training Committee offers certification for telecommunications technicians in a variety of specialty areas. To earn the cable splicing certification, individuals need to meet work experience requirements and pass written and practical exams. The Fiber Optic Association also offers various certification programs.

Here's a tip for success:

  • Keep certification current. Individuals must usually meet re-certification requirements to renew their certification in a mandated amount of time. Technicians should check with their certifying agency for detailed renewal instructions.

Earning the right education, gaining work experience, and gaining certification are the steps to follow to make the most of a career as a cable technician.

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