Communications Technician

If you have a basic understanding of communication devices and you enjoy finding solutions and troubleshooting problems, then you might enjoy work as a communications technician. Read on to learn more about the career outlook and your training options.

Is Work as a Communications Technician for Me?

Overview

Communications technicians are responsible for repairing and installing communications equipment such as phone or cable lines, as well as the devices that use these lines. Communications technicians will usually possess troubleshooting skills and be familiar with electronic devices. Many technicians work at their customers' home or business, which makes strong communication skills valuable to workers in this field.

Employment

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that job growth for communications technicians is likely to range from static to slow (www.bls.gov). Although technology is rapidly changing in communications and new innovations will create some jobs, the demand for maintenance-related work is expected to decline as technology becomes more reliable. The best opportunities are likely to be found in the installation sectors, because new technology, such as fiber optic cables, will need to be installed before it can be used. The BLS reported that telecommunication installers and repairers are expected to see 4% employment growth from 2012-2022; jobs for line installers and repairers are expected to increase 7%.

Salary

Telecommunications equipment installers and repairers made a median income of $54,530 in 2012 and line installers made $58,210. Employees that were part of a union in a large company generally had the best benefits and time off. Communications technicians are able to advance to lead installer and managerial positions with enough experience and training. Some technicians will transfer into wireless sales positions within the same company or eventually create their own business that offers repair services.

How Can I Become a Communications Technician?

Training

Line installers and repair workers usually receive on-the-job training. Although postsecondary education is not always required, applicants who have completed vocational training or a 2-year degree program will generally have an advantage over those who have only completed high school. Employers often provide periodic training for communications technicians to keep them informed about the changing technology in the industry. Workers in non-residential installation or managerial positions will sometimes need to complete a 4-year degree program.

Degree Programs

An associate's degree in electronics technology can prepare a student for work as an installation technician, maintenance worker, line installer or a variety of other specialty jobs. Electronics technology courses for students pursuing an associate's degree might include principles of fiber optics, wireless communications and circuit systems. A bachelor's degree program in telecommunication and information technology will offer courses such as information security and computer hardware systems.

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