Cable Television Technicians


Employment Prospects


There are about 232,900 people working in the installation, maintenance, and repair sector of the telecommunications equipment industry, including cable television equipment services. Cable television technicians work for cable TV companies in large cities and small towns. Some smaller towns may have only one cable provider, while there may be more than one in large cities. Technicians may work for a locally owned company or for the local office of a large, national corporation, such as Cox Communications. The company may offer services in addition to cable television, such as Internet access and local telephone service.

Starting Out

Two ways to enter this field are either as an unskilled installer who moves up after either receiving on-the-job training; or by completing an electronics or telecommunications program in a technical school or through the Society of Cable Telecommunications Engineers and then starting work as an electronics technician or cable television technician. Many times, recruiters from various companies visit technical schools or hold job fairs in which they interview students for positions that begin immediately after training has been completed. Students can also check with their school's career services office for postings by employers or to get leads on companies that are hiring.

Employment Web sites, classified ads, and state employment offices are other good sources of job leads. Interested persons also can apply directly to a cable television company or contractor.

Advancement Prospects

Most companies provide on-the-job training, including classes in basic technical and troubleshooting skills, basic electronics, and electronics in reference to the cable television business, parts of the cable television system, installation, and safety practices. Students who have already received technical training usually are able to advance into more highly skilled positions more quickly than those who require extensive training. Many cable television technicians start out as installers or repairers and then move into technical positions, such as line technician, service technician, and bench technician. Workers with a strong industrial background, advanced training in electronics, and several years of experience can advance to supervisory and administrative positions, such as technical supervisor, headend technician, chief technician, lead technician, and plant manager.

Workers also can advance to the position of chief engineer with additional training. Chief engineers are responsible for cable systems design, equipment planning, specification of standards for equipment and material, layout for cable communications networks, and technical advice to technicians and system operating managers. A degree in electrical engineering or a related field is required to be a chief engineer.

Tips for Entry

Through the Society of Cable Telecommunications Engineers, take a course to explore career opportunities as a cable television technician.

Get and maintain a valid driver's license. You will need it to drive cable company vans that carry equipment and enable you to travel from job to job.

As a student take courses in math to help you solve computational problems that will come up as part of your work. Take English courses to develop your reading skills in order to understand installation and repair manuals.