Becoming A Telecom Technician
So you think you might like to become a telecom technician? Telecom technicians are responsible for the setup and maintenance of telecommunications equipment and systems, such as telephones, routers and modems. Climbing ladders, heavy lifting, and working in awkward positions may be required, and precautions must be taken when working with powered equipment. Some techs might work on call to fulfill emergency requests or may be scheduled weekends or nights.
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|Degree Level||Certificate or associate's degree|
|Degree Field||Electronics, telecommunications, or computer science|
|Experience||Entry-level; experience typically gained on the job|
|Licensure and Certification||Certain positions require certifications available through professional organizations|
|Key Skills||Must be able to work with cable reels, signal generators, stripping tools and trenching machines; color vision, physical stamina, mechanical skills, troubleshooting skills, customer service skills, and manual dexterity|
|Salary||$54,570 per year (median salary for telecommunication equipment installers)|
Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
Step 1: Earn a Degree
Many employers prefer candidates who have completed a postsecondary education program in electronics, telecommunications, or computer science. Individuals may learn the necessary skills by enrolling in a certificate or 2-year associate's degree program. Local community colleges and technical schools offer these programs.
Step 2: On-the-Job Training
After gaining formal education and securing an entry-level job, most telecommunications workers complete on-the-job training to learn the specific duties and equipment used in that company. This training involves completing less complex tasks with an experienced technician. Some employers may also send employees to training or continuing education programs given by specific manufacturers.
Here's a tip for success:
- Seek continuing education. Because technology in this field changes rapidly, cable installers should seek continuing education opportunities, such as attending manufacturers' training classes and reading equipment manuals.
Step 3: Earn Certification
To become more valuable employees, telecom technicians have several certification opportunities. The Telecommunications Industry Association (TIA) offers the Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) certification. The Society of Cable Telecommunications Engineers (SCTE) certifies telecommunications professionals in areas such as broadband installers. To meet certification requirements, candidates must pass an exam that covers practical skills and industry knowledge.
Here's a tip for success:
- Keep certification current. To maintain their SCTE certification, telecom technicians must earn recertification units by taking technical courses, attending technical workshops and speaking at conferences.
Earning an associate's degree, completing on-the-job training, and getting certified are great steps to follow to make the most of a career as a telecom technician.