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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