Telecommunications Equipment Installers and Repairers

Summary

telecommunications equipment installers and repairers except line installers image
Telecom technicians install and repair telecommunications equipment.
Quick Facts: Telecommunications Equipment Installers and Repairers
2016 Median Pay $53,640 per year
$25.79 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, 2016 237,600
Job Outlook, 2016-26 -8% (Decline)
Employment Change, 2016-26 -17,900

What Telecommunications Equipment Installers and Repairers Do

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

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 $53,640 in May 2016.

Job Outlook

Employment of telecommunications equipment installers and repairers is projected to decline 8 percent from 2016 to 2026. 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 About this section

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 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 equipment installers and repairers held about 237,600 jobs in 2016. The largest employers of telecommunications equipment installers and repairers were as follows:

Wired telecommunications carriers 60%
Electrical contractors and other wiring installation contractors 12
Satellite, telecommunications resellers, and all other telecommunications 3
Wireless telecommunications carriers (except satellite) 3
Household appliances and electrical and electronic goods merchant wholesalers 3

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

Telecom technicians 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 worked full time in 2016.

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 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 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 About this section

Telecommunications Equipment Installers and Repairers

Median annual wages, May 2016

Telecommunications equipment installers and repairers, except line installers

$53,640

Electrical and electronic equipment mechanics, installers, and repairers

$48,780

Total, all occupations

$37,040

 

The median annual wage for telecommunications equipment installers and repairers was $53,640 in May 2016. 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 $30,370, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $79,500.

In May 2016, the median annual wages for telecommunications equipment installers and repairers in the top industries in which they worked were as follows:

Wireless telecommunications carriers (except satellite) $59,650
Satellite, telecommunications resellers, and all other telecommunications 55,870
Wired telecommunications carriers 55,520
Household appliances and electrical and electronic goods merchant wholesalers 49,700
Electrical contractors and other wiring installation contractors 46,340

Most telecom technicians worked full time in 2016.

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 About this section

Telecommunications Equipment Installers and Repairers

Percent change in employment, projected 2016-26

Total, all occupations

7%

Electrical and electronic equipment mechanics, installers, and repairers

-1%

Telecommunications equipment installers and repairers, except line installers

-8%

 

Employment of telecommunications equipment installers and repairers is projected to decline 8 percent from 2016 to 2026.

Employment is projected to decline in the telecommunications industries, specifically in wired telecommunications carriers, 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, 2016-26
Occupational Title SOC Code Employment, 2016 Projected Employment, 2026 Change, 2016-26 Employment by Industry
Percent Numeric

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

Telecommunications equipment installers and repairers, except line installers

49-2022 237,600 219,600 -8 -17,900 employment projections excel document xlsx

State & Area Data About this section

Occupational Employment Statistics (OES)

The Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) 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 OES 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 About this section

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 Help 2016 MEDIAN PAY Help
Broadcast and sound engineering technicians

Broadcast and Sound Engineering Technicians

Broadcast and sound engineering technicians set up, operate, and maintain the electrical equipment for radio programs, television broadcasts, concerts, sound recordings, and movies.

See How to Become One $42,550
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 in telecommunications, transportation, utilities, and other industries.

See How to Become One $55,920
Line installers and repairers

Line Installers and Repairers

Line installers and repairers, also known as line workers, install or repair electrical power systems and telecommunications cables, including fiber optics.

High school diploma or equivalent $62,650
Suggested citation:

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Telecommunications Equipment Installers and Repairers,
on the Internet at https://www.bls.gov/ooh/installation-maintenance-and-repair/telecommunications-equipment-installers-and-repairers-except-line-installers.htm (visited November 19, 2017).

Last Modified Date: Tuesday, October 24, 2017

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 Statistics (OES) 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 Statistics (OES) 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).

2016 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 Statistics survey. In May 2016, the median annual wage for all workers was $37,040.

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, 2016

The employment, or size, of this occupation in 2016, which is the base year of the 2016-26 employment projections.

Job Outlook, 2016-26

The projected percent change in employment from 2016 to 2026. The average growth rate for all occupations is 7 percent.

Employment Change, 2016-26

The projected numeric change in employment from 2016 to 2026.

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 2016-26

The projected numeric change in employment from 2016 to 2026.

Growth Rate (Projected)

The percent change of employment for each occupation from 2016 to 2026.

Projected Number of New Jobs

The projected numeric change in employment from 2016 to 2026.

Projected Growth Rate

The projected percent change in employment from 2016 to 2026.

2016 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 Statistics survey. In May 2016, the median annual wage for all workers was $37,040.