Telephone and PBX Installers and Repairers


Exploring this Job

High school courses in physics, mathematics, blueprint reading, and shop can help you gauge your aptitudes and interest in these occupations. Building electronic kits and assembling models tests manual dexterity and mechanical ability as well as provides experience in following drawings and plans. Direct work experience in this field is probably unavailable on a part-time or summer job basis, but it may be possible to arrange a visit to a telephone company facility to get an overall view of the company's operations.

The Job

When calls go from one telephone to another, they usually go through a telephone company facility that houses automatic switching equipment. For telephone calls to go through, an array of wires, cable, switches, transformers, and other equipment must be installed and in good operating order. Central office workers, cable splicers, and line repairers are among the workers who work on telephone equipment away from the customer's premises. Telephone and PBX installers and repairers are workers who service the systems on the customer's premises.

When customers request a new telephone line or equipment, telephone installers, also called station installers, do the necessary work. They often travel to the customer's home or business in a vehicle that contains a variety of tools and equipment. If they must make a new connection, they may have to work on roofs, ladders, or at the top of a telephone pole to attach an incoming wire to the service line. They install a terminal box and connect the appropriate wires. On some jobs, they may have to drill through walls or floors to run wiring. In large buildings, they may connect service wires or terminals in basements or wire closets. After installing equipment, they test it to make sure it functions as it should. Telephone installers may also install or remove telephone booths, coin collectors, and switching key equipment, in addition to private and business phones.

Wear and deterioration may cause telephones to function improperly. Telephone repairers can determine the cause of such problems, sometimes with the assistance of testboard workers or trouble locators in the central office, and then repair the problem and restore service.

Some larger users of telephone services, such as some businesses or hotels, have a single telephone number. Calls that come in may be routed to the proper telephone with PBX switching equipment located on the customer's premises. Outgoing calls also go through what is in effect a private telephone system within the building. In addition to handling regular phone calls, PBX equipment is often used for specialized services such as electronic mail. PBX installers, also called systems technicians, set up the necessary wiring, switches, and other equipment to make the system function, often creating customized switchboards. These workers often work as part of a crew because the communications equipment they work with is heavy, bulky, and complex.

PBX repairers, with the assistance of testboard workers, locate malfunctions and repair PBX and other telephone systems. They may also maintain related equipment, such as power plants, batteries, and relays. Some PBX repairers service and repair mobile radiophones, microwave transmission equipment, and other sophisticated telecommunications devices and equipment.

Some experienced workers can handle a range of installation and repair work. They may put their skills to use handling special jobs, such as investigating unauthorized use of telephone equipment.