Telecommunications technicians set up and repair equipment for communication by telephone, computer and cable systems. Depending on the particular job, their workplaces may include cable or television distribution centers, telecommunications hubs, homes and offices. The career typically requires a postsecondary certificate or associate degree in electronics or a related subject plus on-the-job training. Once qualified, telecommunications technicians receive an average salary of more than $50,000 annually.
Average and Median Income
As of 2013, the average annual income of a telecommunications technician was $54,030, or an equivalent hourly rate of $25.98, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Their median annual pay was $54,760. By way of comparison the median annual income in 2013 with any associate degree was $40,404. Most telecom techs have full-time jobs, and shift work is common.
Overall Pay Range
The lowest-earning 10 percent of telecom techs received $30,710 per year or less in 2013, according to the BLS, while the top 10 percent earned $75,690 annually or more. Wages vary depending on the technician's experience, the industry, the location and the type of work. For example, some jobs have higher entry requirements, such as certification from the Telecommunications Industry Association or the Society of Cable Telecommunications Engineers.
The top employer for telecom techs in 2013 was wired telecommunications carriers, which had more than 60 percent of the 209,350 jobs nationwide, according to the BLS. This industry paid its techs an average annual income of $55,730. The second-largest industry was building equipment contractors, paying $47,450 per year on average, followed by cable and subscription programming, paying an average of $52,520. The top-paying industry was natural gas distribution, which paid 180 telecom techs an average of $85,840 annually in 2013.
States and Metropolitan Areas
California reported the most jobs for telecom techs in 2013, according to the BLS. Its 26,140 technicians averaged $57,710 per year. The top-paying state was Rhode Island, with telecom tech pay averaging $66,120 per year. New York followed, reporting average technician wages of $64,140 annually. The greater New York City area, which had the most telecom tech jobs among metropolitan areas, reported average wages of $67,840 per year. The top-paying cities for telecom techs were Trenton-Ewing, N.J., where wages averaged $78,470 per year, and Ithaca, N.Y., which reported annual salaries averaging $74,640.
Outlook and Prospects
Although the BLS expects continuing strong demand for telecommunications services, it predicts only a modest 4 percent increase in positions for telecom techs between 2012 and 2022, compared to 11 percent on average for all jobs. The increased reliability of modern communications equipment will reduce the need for repair workers. Technicians with postsecondary education, computer savvy and customer-service abilities will have the best prospects in this field. Job availability will vary with the specialty, and growth areas will include positions in communications hubs, television and cable distribution centers and switchboard installation.
- U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: Occupational Outlook Handbook -- Telecommunications Equipment Installers and Repairers Except Line Installers
- U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: Occupational Emploment and Wages, May 2013 -- Telecommunications Equipment Installers and Repairers, Except Line Installers
- U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: Earnings and Unemployment Rates by Educational Attainment
- Photo Credit Purestock/Purestock/Getty Images
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