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How to Become a Cable Technician

Cable and telecommunication technicians put in, keep up, and upgrade the cable systems. They also do repairs and help with service problems that cable users experience.  They do their best to keep cable systems operating efficiently.  There is a variety of different levels of cable technicians.

Here is a list of responsibilities for each type of cable technician:

Installer

  • Connecting televisions or computers
  • Educate the subscriber how the system operates and upgrading or downloading
  • Remove the systems that subscribers don’t want
  • Service feeder lines, which connect a main cable to more than one home
  • Service droplines, the cable lines to the subscriber’s home
  •  Do light troubleshooting when customers experience minor problems

Trunk technicians

  • Maintain main trunk, or main line continuously
  • Correct technical failures in feeder amplifier, booster, or trunk line

Service technicians

  •  Respond to the problems that a subscriber reports
  •  Repair cable poles, lines, or amplifiers
  •  Correct the electrical malfunctions that the cable system has
  •  Do preventative maintenance through scanning the system electronically periodically
  •  Prevent any major disruptions through catching problems early

Bench technicians

  •  Operate the repair facility of the cable system
  •  Examine malfunctioning and broken cable equipment, fix it, write down the repairs, and put the equipment back in the field

Chief cable technicians

  •  Supervise other technicians’ work
  •  Ensure that customers get high-quality signals
  •  Set the performance standards for employees
  •  Do interviews
  •  Handle matters with personnel
  • Work in field when complex or serious problems happen

Pay Rates

Industry

Average Pay

Other communications

$65,540

Wireless telecommunications carriers (not satellite)

56,590

Wired telecommunications carriers

56,410

Cable & other subscription programming

49,270

Building equipment contractors

44,450

 

Figures based on BLS.gov May 2012.

 

Education & Training

To be a cable or telecommunication technician, three things are required:

  • High school diploma
  • Good at math
  • Interest in repairing or installing electrical equipment

Most technicians start out as installers.  Training can be obtained through trade schools or programs from a cable company.  Some of the schools offer 5-7 week courses in electronics maintenance and repair.

In order to become a trunk, service, or bench technician, specialised training is required.  There are usually 1-2 year programs through technical institutes and junior colleges.

Chief cable technicians require a minimum of two years electronics training plus a lot of field experience.

There aren’t a lot of vocational schools for training technicians. There is training on the job and special technician training schools. There are also educational institutions and community agencies that offer training programs.

Job Outlook

The outlook for the need for cable technicians is slow through 2014, since most of the country is already wired.  This means that there’s not a lot of need for installations. But there will still be a need for servicing existing lines and for replacing the outdated wiring with the fiber optics. However, there is some counteraction with the reduced need due to wireless Internet and with satellite television. Most jobs will be available as those who are working now are retiring or moving on.

Image source: Knox News

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