The work you do in a telecommunications job keeps everyone connected via phone, voice over IP, videoconference, digitally, and across internal and external networks. Telecom workers configure, install, test, troubleshoot and maintain systems; manage projects; and train users. Other telecommunications jobs involve adding, moving or changing a system's users or solving users' technical problems.
Telecommunications Job Market
Telecommunications job opportunities for equipment installers and repairers will grow 15 percent from 2010 to 2020, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). That's about average. Demand will hold steady because new technology is always being launched, which keeps telecom technicians busy. However, growth in telecommunications employment in the maintenance sector may decline because the latest technology is very reliable.
The BLS says central office, PBX installer and headend technician jobs will be easier to find than station installer and repairer jobs because buildings are now prewired and wireless technology is reducing the need for installation and repair work.
Network and computer systems administrator jobs will grow faster than average -- 28 percent from 2010 to 2020, the BLS says. That's because organizations are investing in new technology and mobile networks.
A training certificate or associate's degree is usually required for a telecommunications technician job. Central office technicians and headend technicians increasingly need a bachelor's degree. Employers typically provide on-the-job training as well, and may also send workers to education or training programs run by manufacturers.
Telecommunications careers that require analytical skills, such as network manager, telecommunications analyst or telecommunications project manager, most often call for a bachelor's degree, although some companies will accept a two-year degree or work experience combined with certification.
Certifications in telecommunications are issued by manufacturers and trade associations and vary by specialty.
The median salary for network and computer systems administrators was $70,970 in 2011 -- among the highest in the industry, the BLS says. The top 10 percent earned $112,210. The median salary for telecommunications equipment installers and repairers was $53,960, according to the BLS. Telecom line installers and repairers earned a median of $51,720.