Anyone with cable television has likely worked with a cable TV technician at one time or another. These telecommunication professionals install, troubleshoot and repair cable boxes, modems, routers and other equipment transmitting signals. As a cable subscriber, it’s hard not to appreciate their services, but the pay isn’t as high as for other telecom technicians.
In 2012, telecommunications technicians earned an average of $53,710 a year, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The top 10 percent of earners made more than $75,040, while the bottom 10 percent earned less than $30,840 annually. But none of these figures account for employer. Technicians working for cable and other subscription providers averaged $51,730 a year.
While requirements vary by position, many employers seek candidates with some post-secondary training. An associate's degree in electronics repair, computer science or a related field may be beneficial, notes the BLS. Cable providers and telecommunication companies offer on-the-job training to their new hires. Technicians with a degree often require less training.
Though not mandatory, professional certifications are available through the Society of Cable Telecommunications Engineers. The organization offers nine designations for all areas of the cable network, including Broadband Premises Installer, Broadband Premises Technician, Business Class Services Specialist, Broadband Distribution Specialist and Internet Protocol Engineering Professional, among others. Each certification exam consists of roughly 50 questions specific to the specialty. Any one of these certifications demonstrates proficiency in knowledge and skill of cable networks and can improve employability.
The BLS expects employment for telecommunications techs to grow by 15 percent through 2020. This is on par with the national average for all U.S. occupations, a projected 14 percent. Being a relatively large field, the 15-percent growth rate equates to the creation of 28,400 new jobs, and this is across all specialties in telecommunication, including cable television. Technicians with formal electronics training and experience working with computers should see the best job prospects.
2018 Salary Information for Telecommunications Equipment Installers and Repairers
Telecommunications equipment installers and repairers earned a median annual salary of $56,100 in May 2018, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. On the low end, telecommunications equipment installers and repairers earned a 10th percentile salary of $39,110, meaning 90 percent earned more than this amount. The 90th percentile salary is $69,960, meaning 10 percent earn more. In 2018, 232,900 people were employed in the U.S. as telecommunications equipment installers and repairers.
- Bureau of Labor Statistics: Occupational Outlook Handbook – Telecommunications Equipment Installers and Repairers
- Bureau of Labor Statistics: Telecommunications Equipment Installers and Repairers
- Society of Cable Telecommunications Engineers: SCTE Professional Certifications
- U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: Occupational Outlook Handbook: Telecommunications Equipment Installers and Repairers
- Career Trend: Telecommunications Equipment Installers and Repairers
Based in Minneapolis, Minn., Dana Severson has been writing marketing materials for small-to-mid-sized businesses since 2005. Prior to this, Severson worked as a manager of business development for a marketing company, developing targeted marketing campaigns for Big G, Betty Crocker and Pillsbury, among others.