How Do I Become a CATV Technician?

Research what it takes to become a CATV (cable television) specialist. Learn about skills, job duties, and education to find out if this is the career for you. Schools offering Electronics Technology degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Is a CATV Technician?

CATV stands for cable television, and a CATV technician installs and repairs cable TV in customers' homes. CATV technicians will generally need a moderate degree of physical fitness to perform their work, which occasionally requires lifting and climbing to reach cables and equipment on roofs and in high places. After installation or repair, it will be these technicians' responsibility to test the connection to ensure everything is in working order before leaving.

Depending on their employer, technicians may also work with internet and phone cables, as well. Driving skills are typically essential, since they will need to drive from place to place in a company vehicle to do their job. The following chart provides an overview of what you need to know about entering this field.

Degree Required High school diploma; associate's degree
Education Field of Study Electronics; telecommunications technology
Key Responsibilities Install cable equipment; troubleshoot service; replace equipment
Job Growth (2014-2024) -4% (telecommunications equipment installers and repairers)*
Mean Annual Salary (2015) $54,510 (telecommunications equipment installers and repairers)*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Is It Like to Be a CATV Technician?

As a CATV technician, your job duties involve installation and repair tasks related to consumer cable services. You travel to customer's homes to install new lines, which may include drilling holes, climbing onto roofs, running wires in the home, and ensuring the services work once installed. You are responsible for the company vehicle, which includes keeping it clean and driving safely.

You also provide repair service in customer's homes, which includes troubleshooting issues, replacing lines and changing equipment. You may also handle changes to a customer's service by upgrading equipment and delivering new equipment. If your employer provides services other than cable television, such as digital telephone and Internet, you may provide assistance with those services as well.

Your job also includes offering customer service. You may have to demonstrate the use of the equipment you have installed and answer questions about operating the equipment. You keep logs of the work you have done and gather customer signatures to verify you have completed the work. You may also be responsible for collecting money for the services you provide.

What Training or Education Do I Need?

Some employers require no formal education beyond a high school diploma and provide their own training on-the-job. Many employers prefer some formal training, such as an associate degree in electronics or telecommunications technology. These programs may cover analog and digital troubleshooting methods, maintenance, installation and operation. Programs may offer hands-on training, allowing you to put the techniques, procedures, and methods you have learned to use in a practical situation.

What Other Requirements Should I Be Aware Of?

According to February 2017 job ads from Monster.com and Careerbuilder.com, employers require a valid driver's license and clean driving record. Employers also usually require you to pass a drug test and criminal background check. Most employers require that you to be able to lift up to 80 pounds and be willing to work and travel in weather conditions of all types. Many companies provide service around the clock, every day of the year; you may, therefore, be called upon to work nights, holidays, and weekends. Some employers also require driving abilities and experience with cable television wiring.

What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?

Line installers and repairers provide a similar service to CATV technicians, though not typically in a residential home. These professionals work on the large telecommunication cables outdoors and electrical power systems, repairing and testing lines to ensure they work properly. They must have at least a high school diploma to be hired.

Broadcast and sound technicians operate recording equipment for television, radio, live event broadcasts, and more, ensuring broadcast quality is strong and clear and making repairs as needed. While many professionals have some form of certificate or undergraduate degree, it is possible to find work in these positions with only a high school diploma.

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:

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