Telephone Repair: Job Outlook & Career Requirements

Find out what skills are needed to work as a telephone repair professional. Learn about job duties, education requirements, and employment outlook for this career.

Career Definition for a Telephone Repair Professional

Telephone repair professionals are technicians who install, repair, and maintain telephone lines and equipment. Rapidly changing technology requires continued training and education throughout the career of a telephone repair professional. Many jobs require an associate's or bachelor's degree with coursework in electronics or telecommunications, but candidates with a high school diploma or the equivalent may qualify for some positions.

Telephone repair professionals often start out as line installers and repairers and move into more highly skilled positions, such as equipment installers and repairers. Line installers may work atop telephone poles or below ground, often close to electrical wires and circuits. Equipment installers and repairers usually work in homes and businesses, where they may have direct customer contact. While many telephone repair professionals work for large telecommunications companies, deregulation has changed the industry in recent years, and now the majority work for smaller, independent companies throughout the United States.

Education Associate or bachelor's degree in telecommunications or electronics usually required, high school diploma may suffice
Job Skills Knowledge of telecommunications technology, problem solving, comfort with heights, computer skills
Median Salary (2017)* $55,060 (for telecommunications line installers and repairers)
$53,380 (for telecommunications equipment installers and repairers)
Job Growth (2016-2026)* 1% (for telecommunications line installers and repairers)
-8% (for telecommunications equipment installers and repairers)

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Required Education

Telephone repair professionals often have an associate's or bachelor's degree in telecommunications or electronics; however, trainees may be hired with a high school diploma or equivalent. Some companies, such as Verizon, have formed partnerships with employee technical unions and colleges, offering associate's or bachelor's degree programs, so employees can pursue degrees while working. Additionally, classroom and online continuing education courses may be offered by employers so that telephone repair professionals can keep skills up-to-date with changing technology.

Skills Required

Telephone repair professionals must have in-depth knowledge of the latest telecommunications technologies in addition to good problem-solving skills. Both line and equipment repairers and installers must be able to climb, stoop, lift, reach, and be comfortable with heights. Telephone repair professionals must have good eyesight and the ability to see colors. Hand and finger dexterity is essential for working with intricate wiring. They must also have good time-management, communication, and computer skills. Many employers require a valid driver's license.

Economic Outlook for Telephone Repair

Skills, experience, and knowledge will be increasingly important for telephone repair professionals as the industry continues to change. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment of telecommunications line installers and repairs is expected to grow by 1% between 2016 and 2026, and employment for telecommunications equipment installers and repairers is projected to shrink by 8% during the same period. Additionally, the BLS published the median annual salary of telecommunications line installers and repairers as $55,060, and the median salary for telecommunications equipment installers and repairers as $53,380 in May 2017. Many workers are also covered under collective bargaining agreements negotiated by the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) or the Communications Workers of America (CWA).

Alternative Career Options

The careers below serve as alternative choices to telephone repair:

Broadcast Technician

Those who like working with electronics, but who would prefer to work in the radio or television industries, may want to explore the career of broadcast technician. Broadcast technicians operate equipment during radio and television broadcasts to ensure that the sound, picture, and broadcast signal quality is good. An associate's degree is the common education requirement for these workers. In May 2017, the BLS reported that the median salary for broadcast technicians was $39,060. The employment outlook for broadcast technicians is projected to be decrease by 3% from 2016 to 2026, according to the BLS.

Electrical Engineers

The career field of electrical engineers might be good for those who prefer to develop the standards for installing telephone equipment instead of repairing it. Electrical engineers may also test and develop standards for other electrical equipment. A bachelor's degree from an ABET-accredited program is typically required. Some electrical engineers seek professional engineer (PE) licensure, although this is not always required. In May 2017, the BLS reported the median annual salary for electrical engineers as $95,060. The BLS projects that jobs for these workers will increase 9% from 2016 to 2026, which is slower than average growth for that period.


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