Line Installers and Cable Splicers
There are approximately 242,200 line installers and cable splicers working in the United States. Among electrical power-line installers and repairers, 46 percent are employed by the electric power industry. Additionally, 55 percent of telecommunications line installers and repairers work for the telecommunications industry. Some installers work for the freelance construction companies that contract with telecommunications and electric companies.
Those who meet the basic requirements and are interested in becoming either a line installer or a cable splicer may inquire about job openings by directly contacting the personnel offices of local telecommunications and utility companies.
Those enrolled in a trade school or technical institute may be able to find out about job openings through their schools' career services office. Occasionally, employers will contact teachers and program administrators, so it is helpful to check with them also. Some positions are advertised through classified advertisements in the newspaper or at the Web sites of professional associations. Because many line installers are members of unions such as the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers and Communications Workers of America, job seekers can contact their local offices for job leads and assistance or visit these unions' Web sites.
Entry-level line installers are generally hired as helpers, trainees, or ground workers; cable splicers tend to work their way up from the position of line installer.
After successfully completing an on-the-job training program, the employee will be assigned either as a line crew member under the guidance of a line supervisor or as a cable splicer's helper under the guidance of experienced splicers. Cable splicers' helpers advance to positions of qualified cable splicers after three to four years of working experience.
Both the line installer and the cable splicer must continue to receive training throughout their careers, not only to qualify for advancement but also to keep up with the technological changes that occur in the industry. Usually it takes line installers about six years to reach top pay for their job; top pay for cable splicers is earned after about five to seven years of work experience.
In companies represented by unions, opportunities for advancement may be based on seniority. Workers who demonstrate technical expertise in addition to certain personal characteristics, such as good judgment, planning skills, and the ability to deal with people, may progress to foremen or line crew supervisors.
Tips for Entry
Read The High-Tech News (https://www.eta-i.org/high_tech_news.html) and Fiber Optic Association News (https://www.thefoa.org/foanewsletter.html) to learn more about the industry.
Visit https://www.thefoa.org/jobs/jobs.html to read Jobs in Fiber Optics: Where Are the Jobs and How to Find Them.
Join the Communication Workers of America and other unions to increase your chances of landing a job and receiving fair pay for your work.