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.

Do I Want to Be a Cable Technician?

Cable technicians install, repair and upgrade systems that transport cable television and telephone signals and provide access to the Internet. 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.

Job Requirements

Cable companies typically require technicians to possess a high school diploma, but formal training through a college or technical training program can be beneficial in this career. Voluntary certification is available. The following table contains essential requirements needed to become a cable technician:

Common Requirements
Degree Level High school diploma is standard, but postsecondary training is useful*
Degree Fields Telecommunications, electronics or electricity*
Certification Voluntary certification is available from organizations such as the National Joint Apprenticeship and Training Committee*
Experience Entry-level, though apprenticeships and long-term job training are often required*
Key Skills Color vision, able to troubleshoot and work within a team*
Computer Skills Workforce management software, ping tools and customer relationship management software**
Technical Skills Must be able to use complex diagnostic equipment and appropriate tools needed to fix sophisticated electrical systems, such as cable slitters, cable reels, trenchers and cable strippers*
Additional Requirements Physical strength and stamina, driver's license*

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

Step 1: Meet Educational Requirements

Courses in advanced 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 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

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.

Success Tip:

  • 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.

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