Telecommunications Majors: Salary and Career Facts
A bachelor's degree in telecommunications can prepare you for a career in telecommunications analysis, engineering or customer service. Read on to learn about telecommunications careers, earnings and educational requirements for the field. Schools offering Electronics & Communications Engineering degrees can also be found in these popular choices.
What Careers Are Available for Telecommunications Majors?
A telecommunications bachelor's degree can prepare you for a variety of careers, including those in telecommunications analysis, telecommunications engineering and customer service. Telecommunications analysts maintain existing telecommunication systems. They run tests and train customers on new software and watching for problems. A telecommunications engineer will design, implement and maintain telecommunication networks, servers and other equipment or they analyze existing systems and makes suggestions on how to improve their product. With less education you could work as a customer service representative who trains customers on how to use their telecommunication devices, upgrade equipment, or troubleshoot problems.
The following chart gives an overview of what you may need before entering this field.
|Telecommunications Analysts||Telecommunications Engineers||Telecommunications Customer Service Representatives|
|Degree Required||Bachelor's degree||Bachelor's degree||High school diploma at minimum; some earn a bachelor's degree|
|Key Responsibilities||Troubleshoots and fixes telecommunications service issues|| Plans out telecommunications systems|
Develops new telecommunications equipment
| Helps customers solve issues with services or products|
Handles complaints and account issues
|Licensure/Certification Required||Vendor certifications available||Software certifications available||N/A|
|Job Outlook (2014-2024)||9%* (for all types of computer network architects)||9%* (for all types of computer network architects)||10%* (for all types of customer service reps)|
|Median Salary||$72,766** (2017 - telecommunication analysts II)||$63,189** (2017 - telecommunication engineers)||$31,470* (2015 - all types of customer service reps)|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), **Salary.com
What Can I Expect in a Telecommunications Bachelor's Program?
Bachelor's degree programs in telecommunications can award either a Bachelor of Science (B.S.) or a Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) degree. One school offers both, with the B.S. program requiring additional math and computer science study, and the B.A. degree requiring foreign language learning. It is also possible for telecommunications bachelor's degrees to focus on different areas. For example, one school's telecommunications degree is a B.S. in Telecommunications Engineering, while another is a B.A. in Telecommunication, Information Studies and Media.
Though coursework varies by school and program concentration, B.S. degrees in this field are typically more focused on science and engineering topics, while B.A. degrees are concerned with social science and business topics. B.S. program curricula might include classes in physics, computer engineering, math, statistics and wireless communication. In a B.A. program, coursework might cover topics like data communications, new and old media, telecommunications management, social issues in mass communication and media sales management.
What Career Options Exist?
The telecommunications industry deals with voice, video and computer-based communications, including telephone and Internet service. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), some engineering, professional and administrative positions in telecommunications often require a college degree.
According to the State of Michigan, telecommunications analysts may be required by some employers to hold a bachelor's degree. As a telecommunications analyst or manager, you might be required to analyze and troubleshoot customer's phone, Internet or television service to ensure or restore proper function. Duties may also include training customers to use their telecommunications systems and using tools like line equipment, computers, modems, diagrams and network equipment.
According to the BLS, telecommunications engineers focus on planning and executing the installation of telecommunications equipment like data cables. The Bureau says that engineers in the telecommunications field may also be involved with researching and developing new telecommunications equipment. If your telecommunications program provides you with sufficient computer science education, you may be able to be involved with the computer engineering end of the field, dealing with computer networks and maybe even designing satellite systems.
The BLS indicates that some customer service representatives hold a bachelor's degree. If you work in this capacity for a telecommunications company, you will work in an office or call center with other customer service professionals, according to the BLS. The bulk of your job duties will focus on speaking with customers about problems so they can be directed to the proper solution.
What Can I Expect to Earn?
Salary.com data shows that entry-level telecommunications analysts responding to a 2017 salary survey reported annual wages ranging from $42,355 in the tenth percentile to $73,286 in the 90th percentile. The site further states that in intermediate telecommunications analyst positions, these earnings shift to a tenth percentile of $57,987 and a 90th percentile of $90,366, as of 2017.
Entry-level telecommunications engineers earned a median wage of $63,189 a year as of 2017, according to Salary.com. According to the same data survey, the 90th percentile of earners in this position earned $78,737 or more, while the tenth percentile made $50,414 or less. Earnings can increase with experience, with 2017 figures from Salary.com indicating that higher-level telecommunications engineers reported a median annual wage of $92,157.
The BLS reports that, as of May 2015, customer service representatives in the telecommunications industry earned a mean hourly wage of $17.54. Overall, the BLS reports that in 2015, the average salary for customer service reps was $34,560.
What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?
Alternative careers could include those of computer support specialists, operations research analysts or software developers, all of which commonly require a bachelor's degree for entry. Computer support specialists typically help customers with a variety of computer problems, from software installation issues to network errors. A bachelor's degree is commonly required for these positions, though some employers may accept specialists with only an associate's degree or some basic postsecondary training. Market research analysts help companies address internal and external issues through data analysis. Software developers research, create, and test software for mobile devices, desktop computers and gaming platforms.
To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below: