Certification options for telecommunications workers include the Maritime Radio Operator Permit as General Radiotelephone Operators License, as well as several certification options from telecommunications industry professional organizations. To maintain licensure, professionals may need to fulfill continuing education requirements.
Types of Licenses and Credentials for Telecommunications Workers
Industry associations such as the Society of Cable Telecommunications Engineers (SCTE) offer certifications related to the cable industry, while the International Association for Radio, Telecommunications and Electromagnetics (iNARTE) offers certifications in telecommunications and other areas. iNARTE also administers Federal Communications Commission (FCC) licensing exams related to radio operations, maintenance and repair. While certifications are often voluntary, FCC licensure is required for many telecommunications workers. Here are some examples of both licenses and certifications:
Maritime Radio Operator Permit
Not every telecommunications worker needs an FCC license, but there are some who do. For example, commercial radio operators may need a Maritime Radio Operator Permit (MROP) if they work on a vessel weighing more than 300 gross tons and having at least seven workers aboard. An MROP is also required for certain ships sailing the Great Lakes and for operation of certain aviation and coastal radiotelephone stations.
To earn an MROP, an individual must be a legal U.S. resident, know how to send and receive oral communications in English and pass a written test covering radio laws, regulations and operations procedures. MROP licenses must be renewed every five years.
General Radiotelephone Operators License
The General Radiotelephone Operators License (GROL) is similar to the MROP license and is required for telecommunications workers who repair and maintain radiotelephone transmitters in the maritime, aviation and global public radio services industries. Individuals interested in this license must meet the same qualifications as those earning the MROP. In addition to the topics required for the MROP exam, the GROL exam also covers topics such as:
- Circuit components
- Principles of electricity
The SCTE offers many certification options for telecommunications professionals who install, troubleshoot and maintain broadband and digital video devices. SCTE certifications must be renewed every three years by completing 12 hours of training. Students seeking certification take online proctored exams. Certifications offered by the SCTE include:
- Broadband Premises Installer (BPI) certification. BPIs install and fix voice, data and video services on-site at the customer's location.
- Internet Protocol Engineering Professional (IPEP) certification. IPEPs design, test, analyze, integrate and troubleshoot IP systems.
- Digital Video Engineering Professional (DVEP) designation. DVEPs are in charge of digital media systems engineering. Their duties include designing, testing, analyzing and troubleshooting digital media systems, which includes audio, video, data and interactive services.
iNARTE offers certifications for telecommunications professionals involved in LAN, WAN, satellite, cellular and related technologies. This certification offers three different levels: junior, senior and master. In order to earn junior-level status, individuals need two years of work experience. Six years of experience are needed to achieve senior status. The master-level status calls for at least eight years of experience in the industry.
Continuing Education Options
In order to maintain telecommunications certification, professionals must periodically complete continuing education requirements. Specific requirements vary between organizations, but there are a variety of telecommunications-related courses that are available. Some are offered in online formats, while others are provided on college campuses. Some topics of study include:
- Cable fault location
- Cable splicing
- Fiber optic engineering
- Fiber optic splicing
- Outside plant engineering
- Leadership and supervision
Telecommunications professionals can choose between a variety of professional certification options, depending on their expertise, experience and career goals. They can also expand their knowledge through continuing education courses.