For every telephone, radio, television, computer, or similar product, there are individuals needed to install them and repair them when they are broken. Radio and telecommunications equipment installers and repairers have a broad range of skills that vary depending on their specialty. Most of these installers work indoors and differ from those that work outdoors called telecommunication line installers. The radio and telecommunications equipment installers and repairers field is highly technical and requires specific training. Technology is always changing, therefore, individuals in this field must always educate themselves.
In calculating salaries in this field, there are many factors that come into play. One of the factors is whether or not the employee is a member of a union. Nearly 32% of all radio and telecommunications equipment installers and repairers are members of a union. These employees tend to enjoy higher salaries and greater benefits than individuals who are members of a union.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median salary for telecommunications equipment installers and repairers was $52,990 in 2009. The top 10% earned more than $71,650. The middle half earned between $42,680 and $63,960. The bottom 10% of telecommunications equipment installers and repairers earned less than $31,430.*
The median salary for radio mechanics was $42,250 in 2009. The top 10% earned more than $61,950. The middle half earned between $31,770 and $51,050. The bottom 10% of radio mechanics earned less than $25,780.*
*According to the BLS, http://www.bls.gov/oco/
The health, dental, vision, and life insurance benefits for union members are very good. They also receive great retirement and leave benefits. Radio and telecommunications equipment installers and repairers that work for small companies tend to have less attractive benefits.
Job Description and Outlook
Computers, telephones, radios, and similar equipment possess complicated wires and hardware that need to be installed or repaired at some point. These installations and repairs are performed by radio and telecommunications installers and repairers. There are several specialties within the radio and telecommunications equipment installers and repairers field.
Telecommunication equipment installer’s job duties vary by specialty. They have a broad range of skills and perform many different activities with telecommunication equipment. They main aspect of their job is to diagnose problems with telecommunication equipment by testing each part of the equipment and make the necessary repairs.
Central office installers and repairers engage in very complex work. They set up switchers, routers, cables, and other equipment in switching hubs. Switching hubs are also called central offices and contain the switches and routers that send information to certain destinations.
PBX installers and repairers set up PBX switchboards. The switchboards are used to make in-coming or out-going telephone calls within a single location or multiple locations.
Station installers and repairers install and repair home and business equipment which includes VoIP, telephones, internet, and other communication equipment.
Radio transmitting equipment is installed and maintained by radio mechanics. This does not include cellular communication systems. They install and maintain mobile equipment such as two-way radios, and communication systems that are used in airplanes, taxis, ships, and other transportation vehicles. They also install and maintain stationary equipment mounted on transmission towers and small buildings.
According to Bureau of Labor Statistics, the employment outlook for radio and telecommunication installers and repairs is poised to experience little to no change through 2018. As technology continues to advance, the amount of maintenance required will decline. The increase of new technology will create new jobs, but not at a faster pace as the jobs that will no longer be needed.*
*According to the BLS, http://www.bls.gov/oco/
Training and Educational Requirements
The education that is required for radio and telecommunication installers and repairers is steadily increasing as technology continues to become more advanced. Many employers desire candidates with post-secondary education and experience with computers. The job duties vary, so the education required can range from certificates to 2- or 4- year degrees in electronics. There are some repairers and installers that attend trade schools or receive the necessary education and experience in the military.
Entry-level repairers and installers typically receive training from their employees. Classroom training in communication systems, electronics, or software is usually offered at most companies. Large companies tend to send their employees to outside training facilities.
There are some specialties that require employees to have licenses, such as aviation and marine mechanics. They must pass several exams before they are able to work in these areas. There are other voluntary certificates that workers can pursue. The field is constantly evolving because of new technology, so workers are encouraged to pursue these certificates to become educated in new technologies.
There are several professional associations that offer radio and telecommunication installers and repairs the ability to become licensed professionals.
- The Society of Cable and Telecommunications Engineers offer certificates in this field.
- The Telecommunications Industry Association also offers certificates for those working in this field.
- The Federal Communications Commission requires aviation and marine mechanics to become licensed. There are several exams that must be passed to become a licensed professional. The exams test the knowledge of radio law, electronics fundamentals, and maintenance practices.