Telecom professionals are often required to have a two-year associate's or a four-year bachelor's degree in computer science or telecommunications technology. Some of these programs offer online courses. Alongside the core coursework and general education requirements, these programs help students gain the communication skills needed for the customer service environment in which they will be employed. Following program completion, consistent continuing education is vital since innovative networking technology is a significant aspect of telecom installation and repair. Professionals may also want to consider certification, which is available in multiple specialties.
Associate of Applied Science in Computer Science
An associate's degree program in computer science introduces students to a range of computer, networking and database concepts. Courses typically include:
- Data structuring
- Computational mathematics
- Information management
- Computer networking systems
Associate of Applied Science in Telecommunications Technology
This degree program focuses on telecom systems, networking procedures and database systems. Courses teach students how telecom systems manage information and how to perform troubleshooting and installation procedures. Some course topics might include:
- Technical mathematics
- Intro to physics
- Foundations of inquiry
- Data networking fundamentals
- Programming techniques
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Bachelor of Science in Computer Science
A bachelor's degree program prepares students for advanced telecom careers like telecommunications analysis. A computer science bachelor's degree program typically offers courses in:
- Database management
- Web design
- Artificial intelligence
- Computational theory
- Networking administration
Employment Outlook and Salary Information
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) states that telecommunications equipment installers and repairers make an average wage of $54,570 per year as of May 2015. The employment for these professionals from 2014 to 2024 is expected to decline 4%.
Continuing Education Information
Telecom professionals can seek certification from several industry organizations. The Society of Cable Telecommunications Engineers (SCTE) and the Telecommunications Industry Association (TIA) offer certification programs for telecom technicians, analysts and engineers. This organization, with more than 13,000 members and 65 chapters, offers certification for a range of telecom professionals. To obtain certification, candidates must pass a comprehensive exam based on their responsibilities and telecom knowledge. Telecom professionals must become recertified every three years (www.scte.org).
Telecom workshops and seminars are typically available from colleges, universities and industry organizations. College-based seminars may last several hours and focus on specific aspects of telecom systems and installation procedures. Workshops may also address recently implemented changes in the industry. Industry organizations, including SCTE and TIA, also offer workshops, seminars and online training events. TIA offers videos and podcasts, while SCTE has an online learning program that offers a live seminar on the third Wednesday of each month.
Some professionals seek a graduate degree in computer science, electrical engineering, networking systems or a related field. Organizations like SCTE and TIA can also provide continuing education and professional development opportunities.
To start a career as a telecommunications equipment installer or repairer, you will most likely need an associate's or a bachelor's degree in computer science or telecommunications technology. These degrees will teach you the skills you will need to work with customers, repair and install equipment and keep up with the innovations of the industry.