Interested in working in telecommunications equipment? You’re not alone. Many people might find successful careers working with telecommunications equipment. This industry typically includes working on all of the hardware involved in telecommunications — including phones, television, radio, and satellite communication — all of which play a huge role in our daily lives…whether or not we think about it.
Jobs in Telecommunications Equipment
The Bureau of Labor and Statistics estimates there are about 178,000 jobs in telecommunications equipment in the United States, and most of these jobs involve the installation and/or repair of equipment.
With the increase in technology and the growing popularity of the internet, there’s some confusion about the difference between telecommunications equipment and information technology (IT) hardware — which includes the physical components of computers, servers, and internet network equipment. However, there’s a lot of crossover between the two, and some companies might even work in both industries.
What Types of Jobs Are in Telecommunications Equipment?
There are several different types of jobs available in telecommunications equipment. Most people might think about jobs as technicians or line workers — roles that involve working on telephone equipment both in-home and out in the field. But there are also engineering and manufacturing jobs available that involve telecommunications equipment.
Technicians are typically involved in fieldwork—they’re responsible for installation, maintenance, and providing repair services to a variety of telecommunications equipment. Usually, technicians work primarily on in-home or in-office equipment, but it depends on the job and the company. According to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics, telecommunications equipment technicians typically earn a median salary of $60,370 and require post-secondary education — like a training certification — or on-the-job training. The job outlook for these technicians isn’t expected to change much between now and 2030, but there are still an estimated 21,500 openings for technicians each year.
Also known as line installers, line workers provide installation and repair services to power lines and telecommunication cables, including phone lines and fiber optics. This is widely considered a very dangerous job since line workers deal with both heights and high-voltage electricity, so most employers require long on-the-job training to ensure line workers receive proper technical instruction. The Bureau of Labor and Statistics reports that the average median salary for line workers is $74,530 — it’s typically higher for those working on power lines and lower for those working on phone lines — and there are approximately 23,300 openings for line workers each year.
Unlike technicians and line workers, telecommunications engineers don’t work directly with the hardware used in telecommunications equipment—instead, they help design and create it. These are typically desk jobs — including programming, circuit design, and computer-aided design (CAD) work—where you would help design the hardware (and software) that powers telecommunications infrastructure. According to Payscale, the average salary for telecommunications engineers is $80,444.
Production managers work in the manufacturing side of telecommunications equipment, and they help oversee the production of telecommunications equipment. This job typically involves managing people and processes, as well as the production equipment itself. Production managers typically require a bachelor’s degree, as well as several years of experience in manufacturing. While the Bureau of Labor and Statistics reports relatively low job growth — with only 13,900 openings each year — they do have a higher median salary of $103,150 which makes this an attractive career choice for many job seekers.
Equipment Assemblers and Fabricators
If you’re interested in working in the manufacturing side of telecommunications equipment and don’t have the experience required to work as a production manager, you might want to consider working as an equipment assembler or fabricator. These jobs typically involve factory work using machines and hand tools to create various parts and products.
Equipment assemblers and fabricators usually only require a high school diploma and receive a median salary of $37,170. While many manufacturing jobs are in decline, there’s still a large number of openings each year due to people transferring to new industries and retiring. The Bureau of Labor and Statistics estimates 174,200 openings for assemblers and fabricators across multiple industries, so your chances of finding a job are pretty good.
Quality Control Inspectors
When it comes to manufacturing telecommunications equipment, there are countless manufacturing positions available — including inspectors, testers, sorters, samplers, and weighers. These jobs serve as quality control for the manufacturing process to make sure everything is being produced correctly. Most companies provide on-the-job training for these roles, and they have a median salary of $38,580. The job outlook for quality control inspectors isn’t great — the Bureau of Labor and Statistics predicts a 12% decline in job growth between now and 2030. But there are still approximately 54,900 job openings each year for these positions due to people changing jobs and retiring.
Is Telecommunications Equipment a Good Career Path?
Telecommunications infrastructure is constantly changing and growing. We rely on telecommunications equipment for many things in our daily lives — like our phones — and that’s unlikely to change in the future. Plus, new advances in telecommunications technology happen all the time. For example, 5G networks will eventually be replaced by 6G — meaning we’ll pretty much always need people to work in telecommunications equipment jobs.
Some people might worry about how many jobs are available in telecommunications equipment, but — despite advances in technology — these roles provide essential services to people around the world. Whether you’re interested in working out in the field, in an office, or in manufacturing, there are many different jobs available in telecommunications equipment to choose from.
Not sure which job is right for you? Try taking Teal’s free Work Styles Assessment assessment to learn more about what kind of work energizes (or drains you) so you can find the right job — and the right environment — for you.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are the biggest telecommunications equipment companies?
There are different types of telecommunications equipment companies — like companies who manufacture the equipment and companies who use that equipment in their businesses—so a few you might recognize are Cisco, AT&T, Verizon, Comcast and Spectrum.
How do I get started as a telecommunications equipment technician?
You’ll need mechanical, problem-solving and customer service skills to get a job as a telecommunications equipment technician. It can be helpful to get a certificate or an associate’s degree in telecommunications (or a related field), but most telecommunications equipment companies provide extensive on-the-job training to new technicians. Some might require an associate degree, but many hire people with a high school diploma as well.
What’s the difference between line work for telecommunications equipment and electrical/power equipment?
Electrical work tends to be more dangerous and difficult if you’re in the field — especially since you’ll be working with high voltages, more demanding processes, and extra worker protections and regulations) — which is why electrical line work typically pays more than telecommunications equipment line work.