Telecommunication Equipment Technician
There are several sub-specialties for telecommunications equipment technicians. Central office technicians keep the hubs for communications systems operating, the offices where switching and routing gear manage the traffic for voice, data or video transmission, or all three. Much of this equipment is fiber optic today, requiring workers that are thoroughly knowledgeable on the technology.
Phone system or PBX installers install the sophisticated communications systems that are standard in many businesses today. For some of these systems there are elaborate internal networking functions as well as the standard switchboard/private line arrangement. Many times the systems require software installation with a computerized central distribution point.
Home Installers provide the installation and repair services for residential service and for small businesses. This usually means bringing a connection into the building at one or more points from the telephone pole on the street, or through an underground trench containing conduit. These services can be for phone services, for data transmission, for television service or for all three functions from one vendor.
About half of all telecommunications technicians have completed some post-secondary education or an associate's degree. Depending on the job, there may be a certification requirement from vendors who train installers for their equipment. Telecommunications equipment technicians that have responsibility for a complex network may have a bachelor's degree in electronics or a related field.
There were almost 200,000 professionals working in this field in 2006, according to federal statistics.
Job growth is expected to be slow in the profession as equipment becomes more reliable, more standardized and easier to install. The wireless industry is also having an impact on land-line services. There should be good opportunity for phone system installers however, as businesses continue to upgrade their communications systems.
10th Percentile $31,330
Median Salary $59,600
90th Percentile $69,470
Source: U.S. Department of Labor