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What Does a Fiber Optics Technician or Cable Technician Do?

Not every worker makes information more accessible, but a fiber optics technician certainly does.

A fiber optics technician — also called a cable technician, cable installer or telecommunications technician — designs, installs, operates, maintains and repairs telecommunication networks for high-speed internet, television and telephone services. This involves different types of cables used to transfer data, primarily fiber optic cables but also copper cables. (Fiber optics technology uses sheathed glass threads to transmit light.) 

They design cabling systems that connect the network, and they also run the cables. Some technicians specialize in installing the cable while others specialize in troubleshooting.

Technology is constantly changing, and this career is on the cutting edge of that trend. If you’re interested in a career that requires only one or two years of training for a substantial paycheck, keep reading to learn more. 

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$ 31,000 - $ 94,000
$ 60,000
36,860+
A fiber optics technician connects a network
The work environment of a cable or fiber optics technician is always changing. One day you’re working on a pole, and the next you’re running cable in a basement. (Credit: SOMCHAI DAENGNGAM/Shutterstock)

Job Responsibilities

  • Install telecommunication cables, including in trenches and difficult-to-reach places
  • Inspect and repair fiber optic cables and other types of cables
  • Protect optical fiber from the elements and keep clean
  • Create networking plans, including layout, installation and testing
  • Troubleshoot lines and networking equipment
  • Check signal strength across all elements of the network

Becoming A Fiber Optics Technician: FAQs

What are the requirements to become a fiber optic technician?

Most employers require a high school diploma or equivalent for entry-level positions. Technical schools and community colleges offer one- and two-year programs focusing on electronics, telecommunications and computer technology. 

Course topics include electricity, fiber installation standards and fiber optic theory. Hands-on learning for optics installers includes fusion, splicing and terminating of cables as well as optical loss testing. Longer training programs may also include courses in microwave transmission.

Some companies provide manufacturer-specific training, which consists of technical instruction and on-the-job training. Industry groups, trade unions and schools frequently provide opportunities for continuing education.

Are there any other additional qualifications?

A commercial driver’s license may be required because technicians often drive work vehicles.

Certification is available from several associations, including the Fiber Optic Association (FOA). Although not required, certifications and continued education can be a smart way to let employers know you are interested in learning and advancement.

Where do fiber optic technicians and cable technicians work? 

Just about everyone needs to be connected, which is why telecommunications technicians work everywhere. They set up systems that serve residential and business customers, including schools and hospitals. They may work for utilities, telecommunication companies or construction companies.

If your cable or internet service has ever gone down, you know that fiber optic and cable technicians also answer emergency calls. They work indoors and outdoors to make sure the problem is solved. Frequently, they use a bucket truck to reach the cables, but all fiber optics and cable technicians must be able to climb the poles where the lines are typically attached.

Is there a demand for this line of work?

As communities grow, so does the need for fiber optics technicians. 

What skills and qualities would make someone a good fit for this job?

Successful fiber optics technicians and cable technicians share these traits: 

  • Good at troubleshooting
  • Adept at creating plans or layouts and executing them
  • Good with hand tools
  • Enjoy working outdoors
  • Not bothered by heights or confined spaces
  • Safety-conscious, especially around high-voltage lines
  • Good communication skills to work with customers and team members
  • Interest and knowledge in technology

The bottom line on becoming a fiber optics technician

There’s a good reason this career is one of SkillPointe’s highest-paying trade jobs that don't require a bachelor's degree. If you’re interested in being a critical frontline worker who keeps information flowing, you’ve landed on the right description. It’s a great fit for someone who is interested in technology, is physically fit, doesn’t want an office job and likes working in a variety of settings. Sound like you? Check out the training options near you.  
 

Cable/Fiber Optics Technician Training in Your Area

Coordinates
Central Texas College logo

Telecommunications Technician Certificate of Completion

Central Texas College
Killeen (429.5 Miles)

Basic Electronics Assembler Technical Certificate

West Georgia Technical College
Waco (637.4 Miles)

Electronics Technician Technical Certificate

West Georgia Technical College
Waco (637.4 Miles)

Electronics Technology, A.A.S.

West Georgia Technical College
Waco (637.4 Miles)

Electronics Technology Diploma

West Georgia Technical College
Waco (637.4 Miles)
BridgeValley Community and Technical College logo

BISCI Certification, SS

BridgeValley Community and Technical College
South Charleston (770.1 Miles)
Central Carolina Community College logo

Laser and Photonics Technology

Central Carolina Community College
Sanford (928.3 Miles)
Conservatory of Recording Arts and Sciences Logo

Master Recording Program II

Conservatory of Recording Arts and Sciences - Gilbert
Gilbert (944.1 Miles)
Conservatory of Recording Arts and Sciences Logo

Master Recording Program II

Conservatory of Recording Arts and Sciences - Gilbert
Gilbert (944.1 Miles)
Conservatory of Recording Arts and Sciences

Master Recording Program II

Conservatory of Recording Arts and Sciences - Tempe
Tempe (946.2 Miles)
Conservatory of Recording Arts and Sciences

Master Recording Program II

Conservatory of Recording Arts and Sciences - Tempe
Tempe (946.2 Miles)
Cape Fear Community College logo

Electronics Engineering Technology, LAN Cabling Technician Certificate

Cape Fear Community College
Wilmington (1,014.8 Miles)