Patience is no longer in the public’s vocabulary when it comes to the Internet. You plug something into a search engine, and you expect results in a matter of seconds. But, as Internet traffic grows, the transfer of data slows, and during peak hours, you might find yourself waiting. This is where fiber optics comes in. To accommodate the increased use of computers, smartphones and other communication devices, companies are turning to these optical fibers, and they need technicians to install and repair lines. Techs with experience in the industry can expect better earnings than those just starting out.
In 2011, telecommunication line installers and repairers averaged $51,330 a year, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. But high salaries can sometimes skew the average, and median wage is often a better indication of a technician’s earnings. Half of all line installers and repairers earned less than $51,720 a year. Neither figure, however, reflects experience, nor do they account for the size of the company — factors that hold some sway over your earning potential.
A survey conducted by Modis, an IT recruiter, sheds greater light on what you can expect as far as salary goes throughout your career. With less than three years of experience, you can make anywhere from $34,600 to $57,700, but the average is closer to $46,600 as of 2012. With two to five years on the job, salaries average about $55,800. At five or more years, your experience can bring earnings of $67,300, on average.
While experience has long influenced earning potential, you can’t discount the size of the company. The larger the company, the larger the paychecks tend to be — or so the trend goes. For example, entry-level technicians earned an average of $43,767 at small companies, $44,600 at midsize companies and almost $47,000 at large ones. With two to five years of experience, you could earn $53,333 at a small company and almost $56,000 at a larger one. With five or more years under your belt, you could be looking at a paycheck of $62,167 at a small company, $63,800 at a midsize company and almost $69,000 at a large corporation.
Through 2020, telecommunication techs should experience an employment growth of 14 percent, reports the Bureau of Labor Statistics. This is on par with the national average of growth for all U.S. occupations. Because people are becoming more reliant on the Internet, additional fiber-optic lines are needed to accommodate the increased use, driving the demand for more technicians.
2016 Salary Information for Line Installers and Repairers
Line installers and repairers earned a median annual salary of $60,800 in 2016, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. On the low end, line installers and repairers earned a 25th percentile salary of $44,070, meaning 75 percent earned more than this amount. The 75th percentile salary is $78,070, meaning 25 percent earn more. In 2016, 227,000 people were employed in the U.S. as line installers and repairers.
- Bureau of Labor Statistics: Telecommunications Line Installers and Repairers
- Bureau of Labor Statistics: Occupational Outlook Handbook – Line Installers and Repairers
- Modis 2012 Salary Guide for IT Professionals
- U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: Occupational Outlook Handbook: Line Installers and Repairers
- Career Trend: Line 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.