Bureau of Labor Statistics

Telecommunications Equipment Installers and Repairers

telecommunications equipment installers and repairers except line installers image
Telecom technicians install and repair telecommunications equipment.
Quick Facts: Telecommunications Equipment Installers and Repairers
2020 Median Pay $61,470 per year
$29.55 per hour
Typical Entry-Level Education Postsecondary nondegree award
Work Experience in a Related Occupation None
On-the-job Training Moderate-term on-the-job training
Number of Jobs, 2019 215,700
Job Outlook, 2019-29 -3% (Decline)
Employment Change, 2019-29 -5,600

Summary

What Telecommunications Equipment Installers and Repairers Do

Telecommunications equipment installers and repairers set up and maintain devices that carry communications signals.

Work Environment

Telecommunications equipment installers and repairers generally work in central offices or electronic service centers. They also work in the homes and offices of customers. Some technicians travel frequently to installation and repair sites.

How to Become a Telecommunications Equipment Installer or Repairer

Telecommunications equipment installers and repairers typically need postsecondary education in electronics, telecommunications, or computer technology. They also receive on-the-job training.

Pay

The median annual wage for telecommunications equipment installers and repairers was $61,470 in May 2020.

Job Outlook

Employment of telecommunications equipment installers and repairers is projected to decline 3 percent from 2019 to 2029. Consumers increasingly demand wireless and mobile services, which often require less installation. Candidates with a 2-year degree and strong customer-service skills should have the best job prospects.

State & Area Data

Explore resources for employment and wages by state and area for telecommunications equipment installers and repairers.

Similar Occupations

Compare the job duties, education, job growth, and pay of telecommunications equipment installers and repairers with similar occupations.

More Information, Including Links to O*NET

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

What Telecommunications Equipment Installers and Repairers Do

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

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

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 to improve its performance
  • Keep records of maintenance, repairs, and installations
  • Demonstrate and explain the use of equipment to customers

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 work with computers, specialized hardware, and other diagnostic equipment. They follow manufacturers’ instructions or technical manuals to install or update software and programs on 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 with 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 about equipment malfunctions from automonitoring switches and are able to correct the problems remotely.

Headend technicians perform work similar to that of 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 local cable networks.

Home installers and repairers—sometimes known as station 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, home installers and 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.

Work Environment

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 equipment installers and repairers held about 215,700 jobs in 2019. The largest employers of telecommunications equipment installers and repairers were as follows:

Telecommunications 64%
Electrical contractors and other wiring installation contractors 13
Merchant wholesalers, durable goods 3
Professional, scientific, and technical services 3
Cable and other subscription programming 2

Some telecom technicians provide in-home installation and repair services, while others work in central offices or electronic service centers. Equipment installation may require climbing onto rooftops and into attics, and climbing ladders and telephone poles.

Telecom technicians occasionally work in cramped, awkward positions, in which they stoop, crouch, crawl, or reach high to do their work. Sometimes they must lift or move heavy equipment and parts. They also may work on equipment while it is powered, so they need to take necessary precautions.

Injuries and Illnesses

The work of telecom technicians can be dangerous. Telecommunications equipment installers and repairers have one of the highest rates of injuries and illnesses of all occupations.

Common injuries include falls and strains.

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

Work Schedules

Most telecom technicians work full time.

Some businesses offer 24-hour repair services. Telecom technicians in these companies work shifts, including evenings, holidays, and weekends. Some are on call around the clock in case of emergencies.

How to Become a Telecommunications Equipment Installer or Repairer

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 equipment installers and repairers typically need postsecondary education in electronics, telecommunications, or computer networking. They also receive on-the-job training.

Education

Telecom technicians typically need postsecondary education in electronics, telecommunications, or computer networking. Generally, postsecondary programs include classes such as data transmission systems, data communication, AC/DC electrical circuits, and computer programming.

Most programs lead to a certificate or an associate’s degree in telecommunications or related subjects.

Some employers prefer to hire candidates with an associate’s degree.

Training

Once hired, telecom technicians receive on-the-job training, typically lasting a few weeks to 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.

Important Qualities

Color vision. Telecom technicians work with color-coded wires, and they need to 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 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, with their internal parts, and with 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.

Pay

Telecommunications Equipment Installers and Repairers

Median annual wages, May 2020

Telecommunications equipment installers and repairers, except line installers

$61,470

Electrical and electronic equipment mechanics, installers, and repairers

$55,300

Total, all occupations

$41,950

 

The median annual wage for telecommunications equipment installers and repairers was $61,470 in May 2020. 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 $34,690, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $90,680.

In May 2020, the median annual wages for telecommunications equipment installers and repairers in the top industries in which they worked were as follows:

Telecommunications $64,470
Cable and other subscription programming 63,610
Professional, scientific, and technical services 57,360
Merchant wholesalers, durable goods 51,810
Electrical contractors and other wiring installation contractors 50,510

Most telecom technicians work full time.

Some businesses offer 24-hour repair services. Telecom technicians in these companies work shifts, including evenings, holidays, and weekends. Some are on call around the clock in case of emergencies.

Job Outlook

Telecommunications Equipment Installers and Repairers

Percent change in employment, projected 2019-29

Total, all occupations

4%

Electrical and electronic equipment mechanics, installers, and repairers

0%

Telecommunications equipment installers and repairers, except line installers

-3%

 

Employment of telecommunications equipment installers and repairers is projected to decline 3 percent from 2019 to 2029.

Employment is projected to decline in telecommunications, the industry that employs most of these workers. Consumers increasingly demand wireless and mobile services, which often require less installation, instead of landline-based services. This shift in demand means that telecommunications companies are expected to require fewer telecommunications equipment installers.

Job Prospects

Some job opportunities should come from the need to replace workers who leave the occupation. Although job opportunities will vary by specialty, those with an associate’s degree and strong customer-service skills should have the best job prospects.

Technologies such as mobile video streaming and broadband Internet require high data transfer rates in telecommunications systems. Central office and headend technicians are likely to be needed to service and upgrade switches and routers to handle increased data usage, resulting in some job opportunities for them.

Employment projections data for telecommunications equipment installers and repairers, 2019-29

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

Occupational Title

Telecommunications equipment installers and repairers, except line installers

SOC Code49-2022
Employment, 2019215,700
Projected Employment, 2029210,100
Percent Change, 2019-29-3
Numeric Change, 2019-29-5,600
Employment by IndustryGet data

State & Area Data

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.com. 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

This table shows a list of occupations with job duties that are similar to those of telecommunications equipment installers and repairers.

Occupation Job Duties ENTRY-LEVEL EDUCATION 2020 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 $47,420
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 $62,020
Line installers and repairers

Line Installers and Repairers

Line installers and repairers install or repair electrical power systems and telecommunications cables, including fiber optics.

High school diploma or equivalent $68,030

Contacts for More Info

Last Modified Date: Friday, April 9, 2021

Suggested citation:

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Telecommunications Equipment Installers and Repairers,
at https://www.bls.gov/ooh/installation-maintenance-and-repair/telecommunications-equipment-installers-and-repairers-except-line-installers.htm (visited June 10, 2021).

Telephone: 1-202-691-5700 www.bls.gov/ooh Contact OOH

View this page on regular www.bls.gov

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