Line Install & Repair Technician
Line installers connect the communications company's central office to buildings. They install poles and terminals, and place wires and cables that lead to a homes and residential buildings; often they install the internal wiring as well. They are also responsible for operating the construction equipment that allows them to dig holes, set and secure telephone poles. They also work in bucket trucks connecting or repairing lines at the pole. Some line installers specialize in splicing cables where they cannot be connected with a normal junction device.
There may be no formal educational requirements for a line installer, but some post-secondary education in electronics would be valuable. Many who end up as line install and repair professionals start out as untrained assistants cutting tree limbs and working as laborers on pole installations. Some companies run formal apprentice programs in conjunction with a labor union, usually the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW).
There were about 168,000 line installers and repairers working in 2006, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.
Federal statisticians predict slow growth for this profession, as wired networks are upgraded with more reliable equipment that requires less maintenance. The wireless industry is also having a major impact on traditional communications companies. One of the roles that won't change is the massive service and repair operations that result from winter storms, but increasingly system operators are subcontracting that work.
10th Percentile $25,790
Median Wage $48,090
90th Percentile $67,990
Source: U.S. Department of Labor