Fiber Optics Technicians


Education and Training Requirements

High School

There are not really any specific high school courses that will prepare you for work as a fiber optics technician, but shop classes will give you experience working with tools to complete a variety of projects, speech and writing classes will help you improve your communication skills, and mathematics classes will prepare you to work with computations and installation plans.

Postsecondary Training

A college degree is not required but can give you an edge when looking for work as a fiber optics technician. A number of community colleges across the country offer programs in fiber optics technology or broadband networks technology. (Visit for a list of programs that have been approved by the Fiber Optic Association. Additionally, the Optical Society of America and SPIE offer a searchable database of international optics and photonics education programs at These programs offer such courses as cable construction, fiber optic installation techniques, single mode and multimode systems, and wavelength and bandwidth. They also may include lab and certification components. Short-term training opportunities, lasting only a few days, may also be available at some schools.

Some fiber optics technicians prepare for the field by completing an apprenticeship, which lasts from three to five years.

Other Education or Training

The Fiber Optic Association offers Fiber U, an online learning Web site that helps technicians prepare for certification exams or simply increase their level of knowledge. Some of its recent study programs focused on the basics of fiber optics, premises cabling, and fiber optic testing. The Telecommunications Industry Association and Women in Cable Telecommunications also provide continuing education opportunities. Contact these organizations for more information.

Certification, Licensing, and Special Requirements

Certification or Licensing

The Fiber Optic Association offers the following voluntary certifications: 

  • certified fiber optic technician
  • certified fiber optic specialist, connectors
  • certified fiber optic specialist, fiber characterization
  • certified fiber optic specialist, data center cabling 
  • certified fiber optic specialist, design
  • certified fiber optic specialist, distributed antenna system
  • certified fiber optic specialist, fiber for wireless
  • certified fiber optic specialist, fiber to the antenna
  • certified fiber optic technician, FTTx
  • certified fiber optic specialist, optical LANs
  • certified fiber optic specialist, outside plant 
  • certified fiber optic specialist, splicing
  • certified fiber optic specialist, testing. 

ETA International offers several certifications in fiber optics. The Telecommunications Industry Association offers a certification program for technicians working in convergence technologies, and iNARTE offers certification for technicians employed in the telecommunications industry. 

Experience, Skills, and Personality Traits

There is no way to obtain direct experience preparing, installing, and testing fiber optics transmission systems while in high school, but a solid background in mathematics, shop, and science will be helpful. Aspiring technicians typically obtain their first hands-on experience with fiber optics during their apprenticeship or college training. 

Because of the fine nature of the fibers, you should have a steady hand and good eyesight in assembling fiber optic cables. You will also need good math skills for working with detailed plans and designs. Some companies may require you to have your own special fiber optic tools. Other important traits include good communication skills and the ability to work effectively on one's own and with others on projects. Fiber optics technicians who work in the field need to be in good physical shape since bending, climbing, reaching, and other physical activity is occasionally required.