Cable Television Technicians


Education and Training Requirements

High School

You should take high school mathematics courses at least through plane geometry and have a solid knowledge of shop mathematics. You should also take English classes to develop the language skills needed to read technical manuals and instructions and to follow detailed maintenance procedures.

Postsecondary Training

Although education beyond high school is not required, many employers prefer to hire applicants with an electronics background or people who have had some technical training. Technical training in electronics technology or communications technology is available through both one- and two-year programs at community colleges, trade schools, and technical institutes. Two-year programs provide hands-on training and include courses that cover the basics of electrical wiring and electronics, broadcasting theory and practice, blueprint and schematic diagram reading, and physics. The National Cable Television Institute offers distance-learning courses for technicians.

Certification, Licensing, and Special Requirements

Certification or Licensing

Certification in special skills can be obtained through one-year and two-year certification programs at community colleges and technical or vocational institutes. Certification classes in specialized technology, such as digital technology, digital compression, and fiber optics, prepare students to work with the more advanced technologies commonly used in cable television systems. Because cable technology is evolving so rapidly, students who learn new technology have better chances at employment, and once hired, they have better chances for advancement. All workers are encouraged to continue training throughout their careers to learn new technology, new equipment, and new methods.

Professional associations, such as the Society of Cable Telecommunications Engineers (SCTE), also offer training programs and certification in areas, such as broadband communications technology. Examinations for certification are offered in different areas of cable technology including video and audio signals and systems, signal processing centers, terminal devices, and data networking and architecture.

Experience, Skills, and Personality Traits

Cable television technicians use their manual and mechanical skills to install cable, diagnose the source of the problem when the cable fails, and repair or replace it as necessary. Cable television technicians are experienced in lifting and carrying heavy equipment and working in cramped spaces. Potential cable television technicians combine manual dexterity, athletic ability, a fix-it mentality, and a knack for receiving and giving information so that problems that arise on the job can be resolved successfully.

Cable television technicians learn about electricity and electronics either on the job or through a vocational program, community college, or experience in the Armed Forces. Future telecommunication equipment installers and repairers television may also enter the workforce through an apprenticeship, which may last up to five years and combines classroom instruction with on-the-job training.

Skillful telecommunications equipment installers and repairers, including cable television technicians, need to be able to assemble electrical components, subsystems, and systems. In addition, they should be fully trained and competent in installing programs onto computer and computer-controlled equipment, be facile in rewiring electrical and electronic systems, and be able to comprehend and enter accurate coding into computers and other equipment.

Efficient telecommunications equipment installers and repairers must be willing and able to confer with more experienced coworkers to resolve the seemingly inevitable installation and repair problems that develop when working with advanced telecommunications equipment and delivery systems. 

Finally, you'll have much public contact, so you'll need good people skills. You must be helpful and courteous. You may need to explain cable system operations and costs to customers, answer questions, and analyze customer descriptions of problems so repairs and other work can be done. The ability to communicate well with others is essential.