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Summary

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Video transcript available at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=11bCD2L-Gus.
Quick Facts: Telecommunications Technicians
2022 Median Pay $60,190 per year
$28.94 per hour
Typical Entry-Level Education See How to Become One
Work Experience in a Related Occupation None
On-the-job Training See How to Become One
Number of Jobs, 2022 299,300
Job Outlook, 2022-32 6% (Faster than average)
Employment Change, 2022-32 18,900

What Telecommunications Technicians Do

Telecommunications technicians install, maintain, and repair radio, internet, and other telecommunications infrastructure.

Work Environment

Most telecommunications technicians work full time. They may have to work night or weekend shifts to maintain or repair telecommunications networks. Technicians travel frequently to installation and repair sites.

How to Become a Telecommunications Technician

Telecommunications technicians typically need at least a high school diploma or equivalent to enter the occupation. Employers may prefer to hire candidates who have a certificate or associate’s degree. These workers also receive on-the-job training.

Pay

The median annual wage for telecommunications technicians was $60,190 in May 2022.

Job Outlook

Overall employment of telecommunications technicians is projected to grow 6 percent from 2022 to 2032, faster than the average for all occupations.

About 31,500 openings for telecommunications technicians are projected each year, on average, over the decade. Many of those openings are expected to result from the need to replace workers who transfer to different occupations or exit the labor force, such as to retire.

State & Area Data

Explore resources for employment and wages by state and area for telecommunications technicians.

Similar Occupations

Compare the job duties, education, job growth, and pay of telecommunications technicians with similar occupations.

More Information, Including Links to O*NET

Learn more about telecommunications technicians by visiting additional resources, including O*NET, a source on key characteristics of workers and occupations.

What Telecommunications Technicians Do About this section

Telecommunications equipment installers and repairers, except line installers
Telecom technicians inspect and service equipment and wiring.

Telecommunications technicians, also known as telecom technicians, install and maintain telecommunications infrastructure. They set up and fix different types of devices or equipment that carry communications signals, such as internet routers and fiber optic lines.

Duties

Telecommunications technicians typically do the following:

  • Install telecommunications lines or equipment
  • Operate, maintain, or repair damaged or malfunctioning telecommunications lines or equipment
  • Test telecommunications lines or devices to ensure that they work properly
  • Keep records of maintenance, repairs, and installations
  • Explain the use and maintenance of equipment to customers

Telecommunications technicians construct and maintain the infrastructure that transmits information electronically, often across great distances. They install and repair telecommunications lines and fiber optic cables. They also set up and maintain equipment that carries communications signals.

The specific tasks of telecom technicians vary with their specialization and where they work. The following are examples of types of telecommunications technicians:

Radio, cellular, and tower equipment installers and repairers install, repair, or maintain radio transmitting, broadcasting, and receiving equipment and two-way radio communications systems. These systems are used in cellular telecommunications, mobile broadband, and radio equipment in service and emergency vehicles. Radio, cellular, and tower equipment installers and repairers may test and analyze network coverage and troubleshoot solutions during network outages.

Telecommunications equipment installers and repairers set up and maintain various types of devices or equipment that carry communications signals, such as telephone lines and internet routers. Central office technicians set up and maintain switches, 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. Central office technicians receive alerts about equipment malfunctions from automonitoring switches and are able to correct the problems remotely. Technicians who work at distribution centers for cable and television companies may be called headend technicians. Headends are control centers in which technicians monitor signals for local cable networks. Residential and business installers and repairers set up and repair telecommunications equipment, such as modems for internet and cable television services, in customers’ homes and businesses. They also may need to install aerial and underground wiring.

Telecommunications line installers and repairers install and maintain the cables used by network communications companies. Depending on the service provided—local and long-distance telephone, cable television, or internet—telecommunications companies use fiber optic and other types of cables. Telecommunications line installers and repairers use specialized tools to test and troubleshoot cables and networking equipment. Those who work with fiber optic cables must be able to splice and terminate optical cables.

Work Environment About this section

Telecommunications equipment installers and repairers, except line installers
Some telecom technicians provide in-home installation and repair services, while others work in central offices or electronic service centers.

Telecommunications technicians held about 299,300 jobs in 2022. Employment in the detailed occupations that make up telecommunications technicians was distributed as follows:

Telecommunications equipment installers and repairers, except line installers 173,700
Telecommunications line installers and repairers 112,100
Radio, cellular, and tower equipment installers and repairers 13,500

The largest employers of telecommunications technicians were as follows:

Telecommunications 59%
Specialty trade contractors 14
Heavy and civil engineering construction 6
Professional, scientific, and technical services 4
Administrative and support and waste management and remediation services 3

Some telecom technicians provide installation and repair services indoors, such as in homes, businesses, or central offices. Others work outdoors to install telecommunications cables and equipment.

Telecom technicians’ work may require them to climb onto rooftops; into attics; and up ladders, telephone poles, and telecommunications towers. They occasionally work in cramped spaces and in awkward positions, including stooping, crouching, or crawling. Other times they must reach high or lift and move heavy equipment and parts.

Injuries and Illnesses

The work of telecom technicians can be dangerous. Telecommunications equipment installers and repairers and telecommunications line installers and repairers have some of the highest rates of injuries and illnesses of all occupations. Common injuries include falls and strains.

To reduce the risk of injury, workers wear hardhats and harnesses when working on ladders or on elevated equipment. To prevent electrical shock, technicians may switch off power to equipment that is under repair.

Work Schedules

Most telecom technicians work full time. Telecom technicians may be required to work night or weekend shifts to maintain or upgrade telecommunications equipment. Some are on call around the clock in case of emergency.

How to Become a Telecommunications Technician About this section

Telecommunications equipment installers and repairers, except line installers
Postsecondary education in electronics, telecommunications, or computer networking is typically needed to become a telecom technician.

Telecommunications technicians typically need at least a high school diploma or equivalent to enter the occupation. Employers may prefer to hire candidates who have a certificate or associate’s degree. These workers also receive on-the-job training.

Education

Telecommunications technicians typically need at least a high school diploma or equivalent. Employers of telecommunications equipment installers and repairers and radio, cellular, and tower equipment installers and repairers may prefer to hire candidates who have some postsecondary education in electronics, telecommunications, or computer networking. Some employers prefer to hire candidates who have an associate’s degree.

Community colleges and technical schools offer courses in subjects such as data transmission systems, data communication, AC/DC electrical circuits, and computer programming. These courses typically are included in programs that lead to a certificate or an associate’s degree in telecommunications or related subjects.

Training

Once hired, telecommunications technicians typically receive on-the-job training that lasts from several months to several years. Training involves a combination of formal instruction and hands-on work with an experienced technician. In these settings, workers learn about the equipment’s internal parts and the tools needed for repair.

Training length and topics vary by position and employer. For example, central office technicians typically receive electrical training. Telecommunications line installers and repairers who work for telecommunications companies may benefit from additional training provided by equipment manufacturers, schools, unions, or industry organizations. Radio, cellular, and tower equipment installers and repairers typically learn subjects such as tower climbing and rescue, electrical skills and concepts, and radio frequency fundamentals.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations

Manufacturer or employer-provided certification may be helpful for some telecom technicians. For example, the Society of Cable Telecommunications Engineers offers the Broadband Telecom Center Specialist (BTCS) certification, and the Fiber Optic Association offers multiple fiber optic certifications for telecommunications line installers and repairers.

Telecom technicians may need a driver’s license to travel to jobsites, and workers who drive heavy vehicles usually need a commercial driver’s license (CDL). Some employers prefer or require that candidates have certification in first aid or in cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR).

Important Qualities

Ability to work at heights. Telecom technicians must be comfortable working at heights on lifts, telecommunications towers, and other elevated surfaces.

Color vision. Telecom technicians work with color-coded wires, and they must be able to tell them apart.

Customer-service skills. Telecom technicians who work in customers’ homes and offices should be friendly and polite. They must be able to explain to customers about maintaining and operating communications equipment.

Dexterity. Telecom technicians’ tasks, such as connecting components and using handtools, require good hand–eye coordination to avoid injuring themselves and damaging materials.

Mechanical skills. Telecom technicians must be familiar with the devices they work on and with the tools they need to install or fix those devices. They must also be able to understand manufacturers’ instructions when installing or repairing equipment.

Physical stamina. Telecom technicians must be able to climb ladders or towers with heavy tools or equipment, work on their feet for extended periods, and dig trenches for telecommunications cables.

Physical strength. Telecom technicians must be able to lift heavy tools, cables, and equipment on a regular basis.

Problem-solving skills. Telecom technicians must be able to troubleshoot and devise solutions to problems that arise when installing or repairing equipment or devices.

Pay About this section

Telecommunications Technicians

Median annual wages, May 2022

Telecommunications technicians

$60,190

Installation, maintenance, and repair occupations

$50,080

Total, all occupations

$46,310

 

The median annual wage for telecommunications technicians was $60,190 in May 2022. The median wage is the wage at which half the workers in an occupation earned more than that amount and half earned less. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $37,060, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $93,300.

Median annual wages for telecommunications technicians in May 2022 were as follows:

Telecommunications line installers and repairers $60,580
Telecommunications equipment installers and repairers, except line installers 59,960
Radio, cellular, and tower equipment installers and repairers 59,720

In May 2022, the median annual wages for telecommunications technicians in the top industries in which they worked were as follows:

Telecommunications $64,600
Specialty trade contractors 48,470
Professional, scientific, and technical services 47,920
Administrative and support and waste management and remediation services 47,580
Heavy and civil engineering construction 47,190

Most telecom technicians work full time. Telecom technicians may be required to work night or weekend shifts to maintain or upgrade telecommunications equipment. Some are on call around the clock in case of emergency.

Job Outlook About this section

Telecommunications Technicians

Percent change in employment, projected 2022-32

Telecommunications technicians

6%

Installation, maintenance, and repair occupations

4%

Total, all occupations

3%

 

Overall employment of telecommunications technicians is projected to grow 6 percent from 2022 to 2032, faster than the average for all occupations.

About 31,500 openings for telecommunications technicians are projected each year, on average, over the decade. Many of those openings are expected to result from the need to replace workers who transfer to different occupations or exit the labor force, such as to retire.

Employment

Employment of telecommunications technicians is expected to grow as telecommunications providers construct new infrastructure where it did not exist previously and as existing wired telecommunications equipment is upgraded to fiber optic cable with improved capabilities. Telecom line installers will be needed to install cables, and telecom equipment installers will be needed to install devices and to connect customers’ homes and businesses.   

Employment projections data for telecommunications technicians, 2022-32
Occupational Title SOC Code Employment, 2022 Projected Employment, 2032 Change, 2022-32 Employment by Industry
Percent Numeric

SOURCE: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Employment Projections program

Telecommunications technicians

299,300 318,200 6 18,900

Radio, cellular, and tower equipment installers and repairers

49-2021 13,500 13,900 3 500 Get data

Telecommunications equipment installers and repairers, except line installers

49-2022 173,700 184,700 6 11,000 Get data

Telecommunications line installers and repairers

49-9052 112,100 119,600 7 7,500 Get data

State & Area Data About this section

Occupational Employment and Wage Statistics (OEWS)

The Occupational Employment and Wage Statistics (OEWS) program produces employment and wage estimates annually for over 800 occupations. These estimates are available for the nation as a whole, for individual states, and for metropolitan and nonmetropolitan areas. The link(s) below go to OEWS data maps for employment and wages by state and area.

Projections Central

Occupational employment projections are developed for all states by Labor Market Information (LMI) or individual state Employment Projections offices. All state projections data are available at www.projectionscentral.org. Information on this site allows projected employment growth for an occupation to be compared among states or to be compared within one state. In addition, states may produce projections for areas; there are links to each state’s websites where these data may be retrieved.

CareerOneStop

CareerOneStop includes hundreds of occupational profiles with data available by state and metro area. There are links in the left-hand side menu to compare occupational employment by state and occupational wages by local area or metro area. There is also a salary info tool to search for wages by zip code.

Similar Occupations About this section

This table shows a list of occupations with job duties that are similar to those of telecommunications technicians.

Occupation Job Duties ENTRY-LEVEL EDUCATION Help on Entry-Level Education 2022 MEDIAN PAY Help on Median Pay
Broadcast and sound engineering technicians Broadcast, Sound, and Video Technicians

Broadcast, sound, and video technicians set up, operate, and maintain the electrical equipment for media programs.

See How to Become One $53,960
Electrical and electronics installers and repairers Electrical and Electronics Installers and Repairers

Electrical and electronics installers and repairers install or repair a variety of electrical equipment.

See How to Become One $64,190
Line installers and repairers Electrical Power-Line Installers and Repairers

Electrical power-line installers and repairers install or repair cables or wires used in electrical power or distribution systems.

High school diploma or equivalent $82,340
Suggested citation:

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Telecommunications Technicians,
at https://www.bls.gov/ooh/installation-maintenance-and-repair/telecommunications-equipment-installers-and-repairers-except-line-installers.htm (visited November 08, 2023).

Last Modified Date: Tuesday, October 3, 2023

What They Do

The What They Do tab describes the typical duties and responsibilities of workers in the occupation, including what tools and equipment they use and how closely they are supervised. This tab also covers different types of occupational specialties.

Work Environment

The Work Environment tab includes the number of jobs held in the occupation and describes the workplace, the level of physical activity expected, and typical hours worked. It may also discuss the major industries that employed the occupation. This tab may also describe opportunities for part-time work, the amount and type of travel required, any safety equipment that is used, and the risk of injury that workers may face.

How to Become One

The How to Become One tab describes how to prepare for a job in the occupation. This tab can include information on education, training, work experience, licensing and certification, and important qualities that are required or helpful for entering or working in the occupation.

Pay

The Pay tab describes typical earnings and how workers in the occupation are compensated—annual salaries, hourly wages, commissions, tips, or bonuses. Within every occupation, earnings vary by experience, responsibility, performance, tenure, and geographic area. For most profiles, this tab has a table with wages in the major industries employing the occupation. It does not include pay for self-employed workers, agriculture workers, or workers in private households because these data are not collected by the Occupational Employment and Wage Statistics (OEWS) survey, the source of BLS wage data in the OOH.

State & Area Data

The State and Area Data tab provides links to state and area occupational data from the Occupational Employment and Wage Statistics (OEWS) program, state projections data from Projections Central, and occupational information from the Department of Labor's CareerOneStop.

Job Outlook

The Job Outlook tab describes the factors that affect employment growth or decline in the occupation, and in some instances, describes the relationship between the number of job seekers and the number of job openings.

Similar Occupations

The Similar Occupations tab describes occupations that share similar duties, skills, interests, education, or training with the occupation covered in the profile.

Contacts for More Information

The More Information tab provides the Internet addresses of associations, government agencies, unions, and other organizations that can provide additional information on the occupation. This tab also includes links to relevant occupational information from the Occupational Information Network (O*NET).

2022 Median Pay

The wage at which half of the workers in the occupation earned more than that amount and half earned less. Median wage data are from the BLS Occupational Employment and Wage Statistics survey. In May 2022, the median annual wage for all workers was $46,310.

On-the-job Training

Additional training needed (postemployment) to attain competency in the skills needed in this occupation.

Entry-level Education

Typical level of education that most workers need to enter this occupation.

Work experience in a related occupation

Work experience that is commonly considered necessary by employers, or is a commonly accepted substitute for more formal types of training or education.

Number of Jobs, 2022

The employment, or size, of this occupation in 2022, which is the base year of the 2022-32 employment projections.

Job Outlook, 2022-32

The projected percent change in employment from 2022 to 2032. The average growth rate for all occupations is 3 percent.

Employment Change, 2022-32

The projected numeric change in employment from 2022 to 2032.

Entry-level Education

Typical level of education that most workers need to enter this occupation.

On-the-job Training

Additional training needed (postemployment) to attain competency in the skills needed in this occupation.

Employment Change, projected 2022-32

The projected numeric change in employment from 2022 to 2032.

Growth Rate (Projected)

The percent change of employment for each occupation from 2022 to 2032.

Projected Number of New Jobs

The projected numeric change in employment from 2022 to 2032.

Projected Growth Rate

The projected percent change in employment from 2022 to 2032.

2022 Median Pay

The wage at which half of the workers in the occupation earned more than that amount and half earned less. Median wage data are from the BLS Occupational Employment and Wage Statistics survey. In May 2022, the median annual wage for all workers was $46,310.