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How to Become a Telecommunications Technician

Are you looking for a job where you get to work with your hands? Are you an analytical thinker with a knack for understanding technology? If so, you might be the perfect fit as a telecommunications technician!

These technicians use their technological expertise with network circuits and data systems to establish complex telecommunication networks. Using a range of tools and tricks, they bring together a wide range of equipment and materials and turn it into functioning systems for customers and clients.

Although you might not see them very often, their work is integral to homes and especially businesses. These experts create, maintain, and upgrade the systems that allow us to communicate with one another. Without these technicians, our homes and workplaces wouldn’t have security alarms, fire suppression systems, telephones, servers, or even wifi!

Day to day, they might find themselves splicing cables, installing phones or routers, server racks, testing connections, installing software, or working with other contractors to streamline projects. On top of this, creating and updating documentation for future projects and maintaining or troubleshooting the integrity of networks is vital. 

Sample job description

We’re in the business of delivering the future. Our award-winning service and state-of-the-art technology has kept us ahead of the pack and allowed us to create a reputation for world-class customer service. But we know the best technology in the world and groundbreaking game plans are nothing without having the experts we need to back them up. This is why [Your Company Name] is currently looking for a telecommunications technician to join our team! You’ll be responsible for communicating and demonstrating your expertise with network and server installation, wired and wireless access, and telephony equipment. If you’re looking to be at the center of innovation and work for the industry’s leading company while getting your hands on cutting-edge tech, we would love to hear from you!

Typical duties and responsibilities

  • Become an expert on a wide range of services and technology provided by the company
  • Provide technical assistance and telephony support for multiple centers
  • Routine maintenance on network and telephony systems
  • Physical routing and organizing of wires, cables, splitters
  • Organization and management of cables and equipment systems
  • Subject matter expert on current systems deployed by clients and customers
  • Lift up to 50 pounds
  • Bend, twist, squat, and stretch repeatedly

Education and experience

  • Bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering or related engineering field or equivalent trade education
  • 1 year experience in telecommunications systems position

Required skills and qualifications

  • Exceptional written and verbal communication skills
  • Excellent attention to detail
  • Great organization skills
  • Great time management
  • Analytical thinking skills
  • Technical understanding of network hardware and software, servers, routers, splitters, wire and cable management, and telephony systems

Preferred qualifications

  • 3 years experience in a telecommunication systems position
  • Excellent troubleshooting and futureproofing skills
  • Excellent documentation skills
  • Experience working in a call center environment

Typical work environment

Telecommunications technicians work in a variety of different locations and conditions. The specifics of the work environment will be dictated by what kind of company you’re employed with. Companies that provide technician services for customers or clients will send their technicians to residences, office buildings, businesses, and more.

Alternatively, an in-house technician will find themselves working from an office and generally maintaining and testing the same areas. In any case, you might occasionally find yourself atop ladders, in cramped server rooms, under desks in cubicles, meeting rooms, and more. Either way, you should expect to do some minor lifting and stretching alongside seated office work.

Typical hours

The typical work hours for a telecommunications technician vary depending on the employer’s needs. Some technicians are responsible for troubleshooting and maintaining several systems, many of which may be vital to the workplace. A position like this will be shift work that matches the operating hours of the company. 

Other positions may have you meeting appointments with customers or clients throughout the day, which might push you slightly past the usual 9 AM to 5 PM, but not much later. Any on-call positions, or positions that work around project deadlines might have technicians working long or off-hours.

Available certifications

As telecommunications technicians work in a variety of industries, there are many institutions that offer certifications, including:

  • TCM. This foundational course provided by the ETA international group provides the underlying knowledge of wired and wireless communication systems. You’ll learn the concepts and best practices for installing and maintaining systems, equipment, cables, and the protocols and distribution methods for doing so. After completion, you’ll demonstrate you’ll be able to conceptualize, install, document, maintain, and troubleshoot telecommunication systems with confidence.
  • Network 5 Certification. Much the same as the TCM, EC-Council’s N5 teaches the underlying basics of the singular most important system in a home or business – the data network. You’ll be taught basic networking concepts, both hardware and software, and the premise for what keeps our entire digital world up and running. After obtaining this degree, you’ll demonstrate your competence in creating and maintaining network infrastructure for a home or business.
  • CCNA. Cisco’s Certified Network Associate is the first level of certification of the Cisco Career path. The CCNA certifies that you’re a professional that can install, configure, and operate LAN, dial access services, WAN, and understand and implement IP, Serial, IP RIP, Ethernet, and IGRP protocols.

Career path

The journey to becoming a telecommunications technician begins in one of two ways. You can obtain a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering or a related field, or you can get related trade experience such as being an electrician.

After obtaining some kind of related education, you can get an entry-level job as a technician that will teach you the basics of cable management, and a basic level of systems installation and management.

Once you’ve gotten some experience, you can optionally get further certification to make yourself competitive. This is a job where your technical understanding of the systems will be actively tested in your day-to-day, so the more you are familiar with the systems, the better!

US, Bureau of Labor Statistics’ job outlook

SOC Code: 49-2022

2020 Employment195,800
Projected Employment in 2030195,605
Projected 2020-2030 Percentage Shift 1% decrease
Projected 2020-2030 Numeric Shift2,200 decrease

Networks, telephony systems, alarms, and wireless access are all integral parts of almost every building in our lives. There aren’t many places you can go that don’t offer some kind of guest wifi or need telephones and computers of some kind to operate.

For every building that needs wiring, you’ll need knowledgeable technicians that can do the job without crippling your infrastructure. That’s why over the next ten years you’ll see a relatively unchanging shift in employment for this position.