Cable technicians are professionals who install, repair and maintain cable systems. Once cables are in place, they ensure that cable television and Internet services work properly. Cable technicians must have technical abilities, physical strength and the ability to work on a team.
Cable technicians repair cable lines, cable poles and amplifiers in the homes and businesses of cable subscribers. For example, they work on feeder lines that service multiple homes or drop lines that service just one home. They also regularly scan customers' cable systems electronically to pinpoint potential problems. In addition, installers connect clients' television sets and computers to the company's system.
Advanced cable technicians known as trunk technicians maintain the main line of a cable system to prevent outages over a large area. Other cable technicians, called bench technicians, work at their company's repair center. They repair cable equipment and then deliver it back to the field. With experience, a cable technician can advance to chief technician and supervise lower-level employees.
Cable techs must have solid verbal and interpersonal communication skills to work with customers and other technicians. They also need superior manual dexterity and strong math and science skills. They must be willing and able to work both indoors and outdoors in all kinds of weather. An ability to work independently and problem-solving skills are other requirements for the job. Technicians sometimes have to work overtime, especially after storms and weather emergencies.
A high school diploma or GED is the minimum education required to become a cable technician. Some aspiring cable technicians start out as installers and learn their skills through on-the-job training. One-year certificate programs and two-year associate degree programs in telecommunications repair are also available at community colleges and technical and vocational schools. Some technicians complete a formal apprenticeship which combines class instruction plus on-the-job training.
Outlook and Pay
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects a 6 percent increase in jobs between 2012 and 2022 for cable techs, also called telecommunications line installers and repairers. This is slower than the 11 percent increase expected for all jobs. Technicians who have completed an apprenticeship or an associate degree will have the best prospects. As of 2013, the median hourly income of cable techs was $25.30 per hour, or the equivalent of $52,630 annually, according to the BLS.
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