Career Description for a Communications Equipment Technician
Communications equipment technicians make sure that communication devices such as land line phones, cellular or satellite phones, computers, and 2-way radios work properly. Most have an area of specialization, such as cellular technology, and install and maintain the equipment for customers. Many communications equipment technicians work in hubs known as central offices where they make sure information transmitted by the devices is routed and sent correctly.
|Education||Associate or bachelor's degree usually required|
|Job Skills||Math, science and computer skills, complex problem solving, complex machinery operation|
|Median Salary (2017)*||$53,380 (telecommunications equipment installers and repairers)|
|Job Growth (2016-2026)*||-8% (telecommunications equipment installers and repairers)|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
As communications equipment becomes more complex, the educational requirements to work in the field become more advanced. Most positions require an associate's or bachelor's degree, but a limited number of entry-level jobs are available to people with high school diplomas. Students interested in becoming communications equipment technicians should take courses like electrical engineering, communications, and fiber optics.
Communications equipment technicians should have strong math, science, and computer skills and need to be able to solve complex problems with little supervision. Good communication skills and the ability to operate complex machinery are also necessary.
Economic and Career Outlook
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) believes that the increase in jobs created by new technology is expected to be offset by a decline in necessary maintenance. The BLS projected a job decline of about 8% for telecommunications equipment installers and repairers between 2016 and 2026 (www.bls.gov). Communications equipment technicians can expect to make a median salary of around $53,380, according to statistics published by the BLS in May 2017.
Alternate Career Options
Individuals with a passion for communications equipment, including installation and repair, may be interested in the following careers:
Audio and Visual Equipment Technician
Workers in this job set up microphones, speakers, video monitors and projectors, sound and mixing boards, and related electronic AV components like lighting systems. These technicians make sure that all cables and wires are connected properly. They also operate audio and visual equipment for employers or clients; audio and visual equipment technicians may work events like meetings, concerts or news conferences. Some education or training after high school is usually required for this job, up to an associate's degree; on-the-job training is common. Voluntary certification may also be earned. The BLS reports that jobs in this field will increase 13% from 2016-2026, and that audio and visual equipment technicians earned median pay of $42,190 in 2017.
Line Installer and Repairer
Line installers and repairers usually work in the field, either on electrical power systems or telecommunications cables. Duties include laying new lines or cables (on poles or underground, as required), troubleshooting problems, testing lines or cables, and replacing components as needed. While a high school diploma is often the minimum education requirement, employers may prefer candidates with a certificate or associate's degree in electricity or telecommunications; on-the-job training or an apprenticeship is also typically required. Professional certifications are available. A driver's license is also required because line installers and repairers work on-site. Employment of line installers and repairers is expected to grow 8% from 2016-2026; these jobs paid a median salary of $64,190 in 2017.