What is a Fiber Technician?
A fiber technician plays an integral role in the telecommunication industry – keeping us connected through telephone, high-speed internet, and television. They install and maintain fiber optic cables, as well as provide technical assistance in the designing and testing of fiber optics.
A successful fiber technician is not only comfortable with installation and other technical aspects of the job, they are also able to troubleshoot and utilize their professional knowledge to make decisions confidently. They are proficient in their understanding of the various electronic components and computer operating systems involved.
A fiber technician is knowledgeable in the following areas:
- Cabling various electrical components
- Operation and application of electrical components
- Common measurement instruments
- Utilizing hand and power tools
- Detailing of basic circuit design
Additionally, as a customer facing professional, a fiber technician is able to provide quality customer service with efficiency and professionalism.
What Does a Fiber Technician’s Job Look Like?
A typical day of work for a fiber technician involves various tasks involving a range of building types, from large commercial structures and office buildings to private homes.
A fiber technician may be asked to:
- Resolve, repair and install fiber optics systems, ensuring that they work properly.
- Examine and replace faulty and/or old fiber optic cables.
- Organize scheduled maintenance routines.
- Take care of fiber splicing and rectify fiber optic problem areas.
- Develop sensor indicators and conduct timely inspections, so that a faulty fiber optic system does not destabilize its performance.
- Execute premises cabling and take care of the underground and underwater cabling requirements.
- Keep track of the signal strength of different devices including: television, telephone, and high-speed internet.
- Formulate and maintain system records and system designs.
What Qualifications Are Needed to Become a Fiber Technician?
In addition to on-the-job training, a field technician candidate should also consider post-secondary training in: electronics, telecommunications, and/or computer technology.
Industry certifications and/or a bachelor’s degree in fiber optics communications are looked on favorably by most employers. There are also technical/vocational programs that offer more in-depth knowledge of fiber optics and fiber networks.
Certifications for Fiber Technicians
Organizations looking to prevent any unexpected crises could benefit greatly from hiring a certified fiber technician.
Having a certification demonstrates a professional’s dedication to their industry and knowledge in their craft. While there are several certifications that could meet this need, the most sought after is a Fiber Optic Association Certified Fiber Optic Technician (FOA CFOT). For fiber technicians looking for sub-certifications that focus on specific desired fields, the program offers several options.
Some FOA certifications include:
Additionally, the Electronics Technician Association (ETA) offers a certification program for fiber technicians.
Fiber Optic Technician Salary
According to ZipRecruiter, the current national average salary for a fiber optic technician is $53,843 per year. Technicians at the top end of the scale can earn up to $66,500 annually while those at the lower end may take in $33,500. The amount of pay one can expect varies depending on location and level of experience.
Career Opportunities for Fiber Technicians
While salaries for fiber technicians have increased by 12% in the past five years, demand for these professionals is also anticipated to increase by 8% between 2021 and 2031 according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. With a healthy projected growth in pay and available jobs, the career outlook for those interested in becoming a fiber technician is very positive.
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