What Telecommunications Equipment Installers and Repairers Do
Telecommunications equipment installers and repairers set up and maintain devices that carry communications signals.
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.
The median annual wage for telecommunications equipment installers and repairers was $57,910 in May 2019.
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.
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.
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.
Telecommunications equipment installers and repairers held about 215,700 jobs in 2019. The largest employers of telecommunications equipment installers and repairers were as follows:
|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.
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.
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||Median Annual Pay, May 2019|
Broadcast and sound engineering technicians set up, operate, and maintain the electrical equipment for media programs.
|See How to Become One||$45,510|
Electrical and electronics installers and repairers install or repair a variety of electrical equipment.
|See How to Become One||$59,080|
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||$65,700|
For information about career, training, and certification opportunities for telecommunications equipment installers and repairers, visit
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 ).