Telecommunications Line Installers
Telecommunications line installers work with the extensive network of cables and wires that are utilized to provide customers with data, video, and voice communications services. They install lines and cables, including fiber optics, that provide telephone service, cable television and the Internet to commercial and residential customers.
Telecommunications line installers make new lines by constructing towers and utility poles and by making underground trenches to carry cables and wires. When construction is finished the telecommunications lines installers string cable along towers and poles or through trenches and tunnels.
- Install lines and cables
- Operate construction equipment
- Install network equipment
- Set up service for customers
- Connect wiring to houses
- When installing cable television and telephone lines they also install repeaters and amplifiers
- Maintain telecommunications and television lines
- Inspect wire and cables
Employees that install and repair telecommunication lines sometimes have to work in harsh weather conditions to fix or replace equipment. They may have to work overtime and irregular hours due to the need to fix damaged equipment caused by storms. However, they work standard hours when installing new lines and performing normal maintenance.
Telecommunications line installers and repairers sometimes have to travel long distances. Line installers and repairs sometimes have to deal with serious hazards and need to follow safety procedures. Climbing towers and poles and lifting heavy objects may be part of the job.
Telecommunications line installers and repairers need to be able to write reports, read instructions and solve problems. The job sometimes requires strength, stamina and coordination. They should be mechanically inclined and enjoy working with new technology and computers.
The overall employment of line installers and repairers is forecasted by the Bureau of Labor Statistics to grow 6 percent between 2006 and 2016, which is slower than average for all occupations. The employment growth for line installers may slow down due to the growth of wireless communications.
Wireless networks utilize lines for connecting cellular towers to central offices, however they need a smaller number of line installers to expand and maintain the systems. Satellite television will also decrease the demand for wire-based Internet, telephone and cable television.
In 2008 the median annual earnings for telecommunications line installers and repairers was $48,090. Many line installers belong to unions and the unions contracts set the wages and wage increases.
After gaining experience in stringing cable and performing service installation, line installers may move up to more complicated maintenance and repair positions. Telecommunications line installers have better chances to advance in their careers by achieving certifications. The Society of Cable Television Engineers offers certificates for those employed in the cable television industry.
Education, Certification, and Licensing
Line installers and repairers usually need to have at least a high school diploma. Some employers seek candidates with good reading and writing skills and basic knowledge of algebra and trigonometry. Some employers look for applicants that have obtained technical knowledge of electronics or electricity via a community college or vocational program.
Some educational programs collaborate with local companies and provide a one-year certificate that offers plenty of hands-on field work. Two-year associate degrees offer students a more broader knowledge of the types of technology utilized in telecommunications. Courses are provided in electronics, electricity, microwave transmission and fiber optics. Employers often prefer to employ graduates from these programs.
Telecommunications line installers and repairers that are employed by cable television companies and telephone companies acquire most of their training while on the job. They are provided several years of on-the-job training.
- Communications Workers of America Association
- Society of Cable Telecommunications Engineers, Certification Department
The top employers are telecommunication companies, cable television distribution companies and construction contractors.