What Is a Fiber Network Technician?

Research what it takes to become a fiber network technician. Learn about job duties, education requirements, and salary to find out if this is the career for you. Schools offering Cisco Network Systems degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Is a Fiber Network Technician?

Fiber network technicians connect cable, Internet, phones, and other telecommunications equipment for a variety of service providers. They work in residential homes, schools, businesses, and more, maintaining and fixing cables installed as needed to keep them working properly. Because some fiber optics cables are located outside of buildings, these professionals may need to climb ladders or use other methods of accessing high places to do their work, as well as work in all weather conditions. Driving is another important skill to have, as most installers use a company vehicle for transportation between different jobs. Take a look at the following chart for an overview of how to enter this field.

Education Required High school diploma; certificate, associate's, or bachelor's degree will improve job prospects
Key Responsibilities Connect customers to the Internet; install cable and phone services; install, maintain, and repair fiber optic materials in homes, business, and schools; work directly with clients to ensure customer satisfaction
Certification Recommended; several designations available
Job Growth (2014-2024) 1% (for telecommunications line installers and repairers)*
Median Salary (2015) $52,920 (for telecommunications line installers and repairers)*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Does a Fiber Network Technician Do?

Fiber network technicians, also known as fiber network field technicians and fiber optic network technicians, typically work for cable companies and Internet service providers. You would use fiber optic materials to connect customers to the Internet and install cable and phone services. You'll likely have to install, maintain, and repair fiber optic materials in homes, businesses, and schools, working directly with clients to ensure their satisfaction. Technicians also set up routers and e-mail accounts as well as installing any relevant computer software programs.

Are There Any Special Requirements?

If you're considering this career, you should have excellent customer service skills and the ability to work under physically demanding conditions. You can expect to spend a significant amount of time working outside and should be comfortable climbing ladders and lifting heavy objects.

What Education Do I Need?

While some companies hire fiber network technicians who hold high school diplomas, you may wish to enhance your employability with a college education. If you're considering enrolling in an educational program, you will be able to choose from a number of certificate and degree program options. Some community colleges offer certificate programs that can prepare you for fiber optics technician certification. Other options are an associate's degree program in telecommunications technology or a bachelor's degree program in telecommunication engineering. Although relatively uncommon, some schools offer bachelor's degrees in networking and telecommunications.

If you want to get a job within a year, then a certificate program may be the best route to beginning your career. However, completing an associate's degree or bachelor's degree program will improve your chances of finding a good job. Both degree programs will teach you about cable systems, networks, data communications, and wireless communications.

What About Certification?

Many telecommunications companies are looking for fiber network technicians who hold industry certification. The Electronics Technicians Association (ETA) offers over 80 certifications, including the Fiber Optics Installer (FOI) designation, which is the first certification you'll need to start building industry credentials (www.eta-i.org). After obtaining the FOI designation, you can take the ETA's 3-day course and examination that leads to the Fiber Optics Technician (FOT) designation. You can also get certified through the Fiber Optics Association (FOA), which offers the Certified Fiber Optic Technician (CFOT) designation (www.thefoa.org).

How Much Money Can I Make?

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), fiber network technicians are categorized as telecommunications line installers and repairers (www.bls.gov). In 2015, the BLS reported that jobs in this profession were expected to grow 1% from 2014-2024. The BLS also reported that the median annual salary of a telecommunications line installer and repairer was $52,920 in 2015.

What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?

Electrical power line installers and repairers do a similar job to fiber network technicians, though the cables they work with transport electricity rather than telecommunications signals. Electricians install, fix, and replace electrical components to machinery and buildings in a variety of settings, such as a home or business. Power plant operators work with different materials (coal being common) to produce usable energy for human needs, like powering our devices. All of these careers require a minimum of a high school education, though further study and possessing a degree can be helpful.

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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