Options for Becoming a Network Cabling Technician
For those of you enamored with the world of communications and cabling, the amount of career options at your fingertips can be a little bit staggering at times. However, within this myriad of options, some believe that once a path has been chosen, there is only one way to achieve the necessary training. For network cabling technicians, at least, this couldn’t be further from the truth.
At this time, there is no education requirement to become a network cabling technician. Although two year certifications are becoming more of the norm, some companies require nothing more than a willingness to learn and to work. There are some companies that will hire interested employees, give them in house training, and then send them out to work with provided equipment. However, in these cases, you are generally just installing cable or terminating voice and data jacks. The hope is that you will learn more sophisticated technology on the job over time.
The most common way to break into the network cabling field is through a certification program from a college or vocational school. This will generally take anywhere from 1-4 semesters and will give you a basic understanding of telecommunications as well as hands on teaching with fiber-optics and copper-based networks. Most, but not all, programs require a high school diploma and students are expected to be in good enough shape to dig trenches and lift heavy cables. The program is not recommended to those who are claustrophobic or afraid of heights, as both these situations arise in the field.
To acquire jobs a step above those with a network cabling certification, you must obtain an associate’s degree in computer science or information technology. These programs are two year’s in length and focus not only on hands on training, but on design and maintenance as well. You will learn how to repair damaged cables and how to terminate a line underground. You will also be able to design and build operational networking systems. To apply you must be a high school graduate.
Above and beyond the associate’s level, for those interested in managerial or administrative positions, there are bachelor’s and master’s degrees available in information technology. These are standard college programs and require all the standard university requirements. For all of these options, most of the popular schools only offer classes online. Which is great for time management and those who live far from a university. However, online learning can be difficult, so look to technical institutes for classroom-based programs.
Once you have received your training and education, the next step is simply to get a job. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics states that job options in the telecommunications field are expected to increase in the next two years. They also report the median salary for a network cabling technician to be around $51,000 a year. So if you’d like to be making some money and getting started on your career, decide on a training program, and get started.