Career Definition for an Electronic Communications Technician
Electronic communications technicians install, monitor, maintain and troubleshoot a variety of Internet, telephone and television equipment and systems. They are most frequently employed by wired and wireless carriers, building contractors, cable television companies or other telecommunications services. Their job duties typically include installing, replacing or repairing equipment for businesses and private residences, such as dial-up systems, routers, telephone jacks and wires. Some technicians may specialize in Private Branch Exchange (PBX) or switchboard work and provide technical support for Voice Over Internet Protocol (VoIP) services.
|Education||Certificate or associate degree in computer technology or telecommunications|
|Job Skills||Math and science, attention to detail, multitasking, customer service|
|Median Salary (2018)||$56,100 for telecommunications repairers and installers|
|Job Growth (2016-2026)||-8% for telecommunications repairers and installers|
Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
Entry-level hiring requirements for electronics and communication technicians generally include a certificate or an associate degree in computer technology, electronics repair or telecommunications. In addition to math and physics, students may take courses in digital media basics, electrical engineering and radio technology. On-the-job training is common; once hired, technicians will most likely have to pursue continuing education in the use of new equipment. Professional certifications specific to certain manufacturers and types of equipment may be required, including those available from the Telecommunications Industry Association or the Society of Cable Telecommunications Engineers.
Electronics and communications technicians must have strong math and science skills. They should also be manually dexterous, mechanically oriented and able to tell the difference between color-coded parts and wires. Attention to detail and an ability to multitask are key; good customer service skills are essential, especially when helping nontechnical users understand how to operate new devices and equipment.
Employment and Earnings Outlook
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the number of openings for telecommunications equipment installers and repairers is expected to shrink by 8% nationwide from 2016 to 2026. In May 2018, telecommunications equipment installers and repairers had median annual salaries of $56,100, as reported by the BLS.
Alternate Career Options
Check out the other options listed here for careers in electronics installation and repair:
Computer, ATM and Office Machine Repairers
Technicians who specialize in troubleshooting and fixing automated teller machines (ATMs), computers and office equipment are typically employed in bench or field positions by private businesses. Areas of expertise may include copiers, external hard drives, network connections and electronic kiosks. Candidates for employment are usually high school graduates who have completed college-level coursework in computer and digital technology, electrical engineering, network configuration and machine repair. Industry certifications are available from individual manufacturers and the Electronics Technicians Association International. As reported by the BLS, ATM, computer and office machine repairers were paid median annual salaries of $38,480 in May 2018 and can expect a 2% decline in job openings through 2026.
Line Installers and Repairers
A fast as the average increase in employment is expected for line installers and repairers, who work with high voltage electrical power, fiber optics and other telecommunications systems, frequently at significant heights. High school graduates with an understanding of basic trigonometry and algebra are preferred and receive on-the-job training; certificate and associate degree programs in electronics and telecommunications or apprenticeships can also help students prepare for the field. According to the BLS, electrical power-line installers and repairers were paid median annual salaries of $70,910 in May 2018. Line installers and repairers were projected to see 8% growth in employment from 2016-2026.