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Become A Communications Technician

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Working As A Communications Technician

  • Communicating with Persons Outside Organization
  • Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge
  • Documenting/Recording Information
  • Repairing and Maintaining Electronic Equipment
  • Getting Information
  • $61,730

    Average Salary

What Does A Communications Technician Do

Telecommunications equipment installers and repairers, also known as telecom technicians, set up and maintain devices or equipment that carry communications signals, connect to telephone lines, and access the Internet.

Duties

Telecommunications equipment installers and repairers typically do the following:

  • Install communications equipment in offices, private homes, and buildings that are under construction
  • Set up, rearrange, and replace routing and dialing equipment
  • Inspect and service equipment, wiring, and phone jacks
  • Repair or replace faulty, damaged, and malfunctioning equipment
  • Test repaired, newly installed, and updated equipment to ensure that it works properly
  • Adjust or calibrate equipment settings to improve its performance
  • Keep records of maintenance, repairs, and installations
  • Demonstrate and explain the use of equipment to customers

Telephone, computer, and cable telecommunications systems rely on equipment to process and transmit vast amounts of data. Telecommunications equipment installers and repairers install and service this equipment.

These workers use many different tools to inspect equipment and diagnose problems. For instance, to locate distortions in signals, they may employ spectrum analyzers and polarity probes. They also commonly use hand tools, including screwdrivers and pliers, to take equipment apart and repair it.

Many telecom technicians also work with computers, specialized hardware, and other diagnostic equipment. They follow manufacturers’ instructions or technical manuals to install or update software and programs for devices.

Telecommunications equipment installers and repairers who work at a client’s location must track hours worked, parts used, and costs incurred. Workers who set up and maintain lines outdoors are classified as line installers and repairers.

The specific tasks of telecom technicians vary depending on their specialization and where they work.

The following are examples of types of telecommunications equipment installers and repairers:

Central office technicians set up and maintain switches, routers, fiber optic cables, and other equipment at switching hubs, called central offices. These hubs send, process, and amplify data from thousands of telephone, Internet, and cable connections. Telecom technicians receive alerts on equipment malfunctions from auto-monitoring switches and are able to correct the problems remotely. 

Headend technicians perform similar work to central office technicians, but work at distribution centers for cable and television companies, called headends. Headends are control centers in which technicians monitor signals for cable network companies that provide cable television and modem services to subscribers in the local area.

PBX installers and repairers set up and service private branch exchange (PBX) switchboards. This equipment relays incoming, outgoing, and interoffice telephone calls and may process Internet access and telephone communications, such as Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) technology.

PBX installers and repairers connect telecom equipment to communications cables. They test and repair the connections to ensure that adequate power is available and communication links work properly. They install and repair frames, supports, power systems, alarms, and telephone sets. Because switches and switchboards are computerized, PBX installers also install software or program the equipment.

Station installers and repairers—sometimes known as home installers and repairers—set up and repair telecommunications equipment in customers’ homes and businesses. For example, they set up modems to install telephone, Internet, and cable television services.

When customers have problems, station repairers test the customer’s lines to determine if the problem is inside the building or outside. If the problem is inside, they try to repair it. If the problem is outside, they refer the problem to line repairers.

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How To Become A Communications Technician

Telecommunications equipment installers and repairers typically need postsecondary education in electronics, telecommunications, or computer technology and receive on-the-job training. Industry certification is required for some positions.

Education

Postsecondary education in electronics, telecommunications, or computers is typically needed for telecom technicians. 

Technical instruction in basic electronics, telecommunications, and computer science offered in community colleges and technical schools may be particularly helpful. Most programs lead to a certificate or an associate’s degree in electronics repair, computer science, or related subjects.

Some employers prefer to hire candidates with an associate’s degree, particularly for positions such as central office technicians, headend technicians, and those working with commercial communications systems.

Training

Once hired, telecom technicians receive on-the-job training, typically lasting a few months. Training involves a combination of classroom instruction and hands-on work with an experienced technician. In these settings, workers learn the equipment’s internal parts and the tools needed for repair. Technicians who have completed postsecondary education often require less on-the-job instruction than those who have not. 

Some companies may send new employees to training sessions to learn about equipment, procedures, and technologies offered by equipment manufacturers or industry organizations.

Because technology in this field constantly changes, telecom technicians must continue learning about new equipment over the course of their careers.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations

Some technicians must be certified to perform certain tasks or to work on specific equipment. Certification requirements vary by employer and specialization.

Organizations, such as the Society of Cable Telecommunications Engineers, offer certifications for telecom technicians. Some manufacturers also provide certifications for working with specific equipment.

Advancement

Advancement opportunities often depend on previous work experience and training. Repairers with extensive knowledge of equipment may be qualified to become manufacturing sales representatives.

Important Qualities

Color vision. Telecom technicians must be able to distinguish different colors because they work with color-coded wires.

Customer-service skills. Telecom technicians who work in customers’ homes and offices, should be friendly and polite. They must be able to teach people how to maintain and operate communications equipment.

Dexterity. Telecom technicians’ tasks, such as repairing small devices, connecting components, and using hand tools, require a steady hand and good hand–eye coordination.

Mechanical skills. Telecom technicians must be familiar with the devices they install and repair, their internal parts, and the appropriate tools needed to use, install, or fix them. They must also be able to understand manufacturers’ instructions when installing or repairing equipment.

Troubleshooting skills. Telecom technicians must be able to troubleshoot and devise solutions to problems that are not immediately apparent.

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Communications Technician jobs

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Communications Technician Career Paths

Communications Technician
Network Technician Information Technology Manager Director Of Information
Chief Information Officer
11 Yearsyrs
Maintenance Technician Engineer Senior Software Engineer
Chief Technology Officer
11 Yearsyrs
Lead Technician Technical Support Specialist Senior System Administrator
Data Center Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Field Service Technician Systems Administrator Information Technology Manager
Director Of Information
10 Yearsyrs
Field Service Technician Field Engineer Project Engineer
Engineering Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Field Engineer Senior Field Engineer
Field Engineering Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Lead Technician Driver Field Supervisor
Field Operation Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Network Technician Systems Administrator Information Technology Manager
Information Technology Director
10 Yearsyrs
Electronics Technician Field Service Technician Systems Administrator
Information Technology Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Communications Specialist Electronics Technician Installation Technician
Installation Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Technician Maintenance Technician
Maintenance Supervisor
7 Yearsyrs
Project Manager Program Manager General Manager
Owner/Operator
6 Yearsyrs
Maintenance Technician Service Manager Account Manager
Product Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Technician Service Technician Service Manager
Project Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Network Engineer Engineer Quality Engineer
Quality Assurance Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Field Technician Project Manager Product Manager
Research And Development Technician
6 Yearsyrs
Electronics Technician Technician Operations Manager
Site Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Network Engineer Network Administrator Systems Analyst
Systems Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Field Technician Lead Technician Technical Manager
Technical Director
7 Yearsyrs
Project Manager Information Technology Project Manager Director Of Information
Vice President Of Information Technology
12 Yearsyrs
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Average Length of Employment
Zoning Technician 6.9 years
Headend Technician 6.6 years
System Technician 4.4 years
Telecom Technician 3.6 years
Service Technician 3.3 years
Network Technician 3.1 years
Technician 2.6 years
Field Technician 2.4 years
Cable Technician 2.1 years
Cable Installer 2.0 years
Wiring Technician 2.0 years
Top Employers Before
Technician 10.2%
Manager 3.3%
Internship 3.2%
Supervisor 3.0%
Installer 3.0%
Top Employers After
Technician 13.0%
Manager 3.6%
Owner 3.3%

Communications Technician Demographics

Gender

Male

81.2%

Female

17.1%

Unknown

1.7%
Ethnicity

White

80.0%

Hispanic or Latino

11.3%

Asian

6.5%

Unknown

1.5%

Black or African American

0.6%
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Languages Spoken

Spanish

54.1%

Carrier

11.2%

French

8.8%

German

5.4%

Chinese

2.9%

Russian

2.4%

Mandarin

2.0%

Japanese

2.0%

Italian

1.5%

Portuguese

1.5%

Hebrew

1.5%

Arabic

1.5%

Vietnamese

1.0%

Korean

1.0%

Tagalog

1.0%

Swedish

0.5%

Swahili

0.5%

Latvian

0.5%

Marathi

0.5%

Gujarati

0.5%
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Communications Technician Education

Schools

University of Phoenix

23.8%

Community College of the Air Force

15.6%

Strayer University

5.9%

University of Maryland - University College

5.3%

Colorado Technical University

4.9%

Kaplan University

4.2%

American University

3.6%

American InterContinental University

3.6%

The Academy

3.2%

More Tech Institute

3.2%

Troy University

3.0%

Liberty University

2.7%

Michigan State University

2.7%

Central Texas College

2.7%

Northern Virginia Community College

2.7%

Tennessee State University

2.7%

Pennsylvania State University

2.7%

Park University

2.5%

Purdue University

2.5%

Arizona State University

2.3%
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Majors

Business

16.3%

Electrical Engineering

15.7%

Electrical Engineering Technology

9.1%

Information Technology

7.8%

Computer Information Systems

6.6%

Computer Science

6.5%

Computer Networking

6.3%

Criminal Justice

5.5%

Communication

4.9%

Management

3.0%

General Studies

2.8%

Psychology

2.7%

Accounting

2.0%

Project Management

1.9%

Environmental Control Technologies/Technicians

1.7%

Education

1.6%

Information Systems

1.6%

English

1.4%

Liberal Arts

1.4%

Automotive Technology

1.3%
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Degrees

Other

31.6%

Bachelors

28.8%

Associate

20.9%

Masters

9.0%

Certificate

7.1%

Diploma

1.6%

Doctorate

0.8%

License

0.3%
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Top Skills for A Communications Technician

InternetServicesTelephoneSystemsFiberOpticTroubleShootingVideoCommunicationsEquipmentCustomerServiceComcastEmergencyCallsCommunicationsSystemsTestEquipmentVoipNon-PayDisconnectsTechnicalSupportRFTroubleCallsPBXServiceCallsCat5HandTools

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Top Communications Technician Skills

  1. Internet Services
  2. Telephone Systems
  3. Fiber Optic
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Installed cable television, telephone, and high speed internet services for residential customers in the Gadsden, Alabama area.
  • Service Technician Servicing telephone systems for businesses.
  • Work Description: Installation and termination of structured wiring and fiber optic cable at business customer premises
  • Trouble shooting of maintenance tickets called in by customers having problems with their data service.
  • Worked with products such as Video on Demand, High Definition and Digital Video Recorder.

Top Communications Technician Employers

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