What is a communications technician?
If there’s a need for an equipment install or issue, then the communications technician is the one doing it and solving the problem. The comm tech’s duties will vary depending on what type of equipment they work on or the company they work for. What you’ll mostly be doing is:
- Setting up equipment in both new and old business or residential buildings
- Following the manufacturer’s guidelines
- Installing or repairing routing equipment
- Ensuring the wiring is good
- Repairing any faulty equipment
- Testing the old and new equipment to make sure it’s working
- Keeping detailed records of your work
- Explaining to customers how to use the equipment
There are different types of communications technicians, and what you do will be determined by what type of tech you are.
- Central office technician: You specialize in central office equipment setup and repair. You can do much of your work remotely because you’ll receive notifications of issues.
- Headend technician: Your work is very similar in nature to the central office technician, but through a distribution center for cable and television.
- Home installer and repairer: You set up or repair equipment right in a customer’s home or business.
How do you become a communications tech?
There’s a lot involved when it comes to becoming a communications technician. You need to have a background in electronics, and employers prefer that it comes from a post-secondary education. Plus, you need to be trained.
- Get your high school diploma or GED.
- Attend a community college or trade school.
- Focus on electronics, telecommunications, or computer networking—all of which you can get a diploma or associate’s degree in.
- There are some employers that will only hire you if you have an associate’s degree.
- Get a job.
- Go through the training, which will last a few weeks to a few months.
- The training will be a combination of on-the-job work and classroom instruction.
- You’ll need to stay up to date with technology if you’re in this field.
How much does a communications technician make?
The median annual salary is $53K. Once you’re fully established in your career, you can earn $80K. If you work in wireless, you’ll find the median salary to be higher, averaging just under $60K. You may find yourself working evenings, weekends, and holidays, because the type of equipment you repair never sleeps. And sometimes, neither do its owners. The states paying the highest salaries are Alaska ($74K), Rhode Island ($71K), Massachusetts ($69K), New Hampshire ($68K), and New York ($66K).
Communications Technician Jobs
The consumer demand for wireless products is increasing, which means many companies are putting a hiring freeze on telecom technicians unless they have experience with wireless equipment. Since there isn’t a need for someone to install wires for wireless, the job, on a whole, is going to see a significant decline in available jobs. Over 18,000 jobs will be eliminated through 2026.