Telecom Technician: Career Information for Becoming a Telecom Tech

Apr 05, 2019

Learn what telecom technicians do. See what kind of education and training is required for employment. Get the details about career prospects and earning potential to decide if a job as a telecom tech is right for you.

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Career Definition for a Telecom Technician

Telecommunications technicians are responsible for installing, maintaining, and repairing telephone, fax, video conferencing, and computer equipment for businesses. A telecom tech frequently interacts with office workers in a help desk capacity. They are usually supervised by telecom administrators or other information technology (IT) staff.

Education Associate degree required
Job Skills Troubleshooting, quick thinking, problem-solving, direction taking
Median Salary (2018)* $56,100 for telecommunications equipment installers and repairers
Job Growth (2016-2026)* -8% for telecommunications equipment installers and repairers

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Required Education

Telecom techs have earned associate's degrees in computer science or information technology. During their studies, they have learned how to operate and repair voice, wireless network, local area network, and video conferencing systems. The Telecommunications Industry Association recommends optional certification in a diverse variety of communications technologies in order for telecommunications technicians to advance in their careers and to increase overall career opportunities.

Skills Required

Telecom techs frequently perform help desk services and need to be capable of communicating with many different types of professionals in an office environment. Trouble-shooting equipment and networking problems require creativity, quick thinking, and problem-solving skills. As junior staff, telecom techs must be good at taking direction from others.

Career and Economic Outlook

Telecom techs can expect less than ideal job prospects over the 2016-2026 decade; according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), job shrinkage of 8% is predicted. Any need for telecom techs will be fueled by the continuing trend for workers to attend virtual meetings and work together on projects while at different locations. The BLS reported the median annual salary earned by telecommunications professionals as $56,100 in May 2018. The highest paid telecommunications technicians worked in Washington, D.C., Massachusetts and Alaska in that year.

Alternate Career Options

For some other options in telecommunications careers, see the choices below:

Broadcast Technician

A broadcast technician is responsible for setting up and operating the transmitting equipment that sends out radio and television signals. A broadcast technician's duties can also include audio and video editing. This job usually requires an associate's degree and on-the-job training. Voluntary industry certification is also available. According to the BLS, jobs in this field are expected to decrease by 3% from 2016-2026. Median pay for broadcast technicians was $39,060 in 2017, per the BLS; top-paying regions include the District of Columbia, New York, and Maryland.

Line Installer and Repairer

A line installer and repairer can work on telecommunications or electrical systems. Line installers and repairers usually work on site, stringing electric lines or laying telecom cables. They also identify problems, repair or replace parts as needed, and test the lines. Education requirements can range from a high school diploma to an associate's degree; new hires then participate in on-the-job training or apprenticeships. Industry certification is also available. These workers are typically required to have a commercial driver's license if they will be operating a company vehicle. Jobs in this field are expected to increase 8% from 2016-2026, per the BLS, with median pay rates of $64,190 in 2017.

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