Become a Telecom Technician: Education and Career Roadmap
Learn how to become a telecom technician. Research the education requirements, training information and experience required for starting a career in the telecommunications field.
Do I Want to Be a Telecom Technician?
Telecom technicians are responsible for the setup and maintenance of telecommunications equipment and systems, such as telephones, routers and modems. Climbing ladders, heavy lifting and working in awkward positions may be required; precautions must be taken when working with powered equipment. Some techs might work on call to fulfill emergency requests, or may be scheduled weekends or nights.
Employers prefer candidates to obtain postsecondary education in electronics or a related field, and some positions require certification. The following table contains essential requirements needed to become a telecom technician:
|Degree Level||Many employers prefer postsecondary education*|
|Degree Field||Electronics or related field*|
|Licensure/Certification||Certain positions require certification, which is available through professional organizations*|
|Experience||Entry-level; experience typically gained on the job*|
|Key Skills||Bookkeeping, customer-service, trouble-shooting, color vision and manual dexterity*|
|Computer Skills||Customer relationship management (CRM) software, virus protection, enterprise resource planning (ERP)**|
|Technical Skills||Must be able to work with cable reels, signal generators, stripping tools and trenching machines**|
Sources: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, **O*NET Online.
Step 1: Earn a Certificate or Degree
As telecommunications technology rapidly advances, education and training requirements for telecom technicians continue to increase. Though station installers and repairers may have lower educational requirements, many employers now prefer candidates who have completed a postsecondary education program in electronics. Aspiring telecom technicians also need to have a proficient background in computer technology. Individuals may learn skills by enrolling in a certificate or 2-year associate's degree program in computer science, electronics repair or other related subjects.
Step 2: Complete On-the-Job Training
After gaining formal education and securing an entry-level job, most telecommunications workers complete on-the-job training to learn the specific duties and equipment used in that company. This training involves completing less complex tasks with an experienced technician. Some employers may also send employees to training or continuing education programs given by specific manufacturers.
- Seek continuing education. Because technology in this field changes rapidly, cable installers should seek continuing education opportunities, such as attending manufacturers' training classes and reading equipment manuals.
Step 3: Earn Certification
Telecom technicians who need to meet industry requirements or advance their career opportunities have several certification opportunities available. For example, the Telecommunications Industry Association (TIA) offers the Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) certification. The Society of Cable Telecommunications Engineers (SCTE) certifies telecommunications professionals such as broadband premises installers and technicians. To meet certification requirements, candidates must pass an exam that covers practical skills and industry knowledge.
- Keep certification current. To maintain their SCTE certification, telecom technicians must earn recertification units by participating in activities like taking technical courses, attending technical workshops and speaking at conferences.
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