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Updated / Apprenticeship

Communication Technician

Communication technicians install, repair and maintain telecommunication systems.

  • Avg. Salary $57,302.00
  • Avg. Wage $28.14
  • Minimum Education Apprenticeship
  • Outlook below avg
  • Employed 1,600
  • In Demand Medium
Also Known As

Cable Splicer, Switcher

NOC Codes

In Canada, the federal government groups and organizes occupations based on a National Occupational Classification (NOC) system. This alis occupation may not reflect the entire NOC group it is part of. Data for the NOC group can apply across multiple occupations.

The NOC system is updated every 5 years to reflect changes in the labour market. Government forms and labour market data may group and refer to an occupation differently, depending on the system used. Here is how this occupation has been classified over time:

  • 2006 NOC: Telecommunications Installation and Repair Workers (7246) 
  • 2006 NOC-S: Telecommunications Installation and Repair Workers (H216) 
  • 2011 NOC: Telecommunications installation and repair workers (7246) 
  • 2016 NOC: Telecommunications installation and repair workers (7246) 
Skills Shortage

Employers that Recruited in the Last 2 Years

39%
39%
Average Wage
Starting
Overall
Top
  • Certification Provincially Regulated
  • Strength Required Lift up to 20 kg
Interest Codes
The Communication Technician is part of the following larger National Occupational Classification (NOC).
Telecommunications Installation and Repair Workers
OBJECTIVE

Interest combinations are unique to each of the occupations in this National Occupational Classification (NOC) group. Please consult the 2003 NOC Career Handbook for further information.

INNOVATIVE

Interest combinations are unique to each of the occupations in this National Occupational Classification (NOC) group. Please consult the 2003 NOC Career Handbook for further information.

METHODICAL

Interest combinations are unique to each of the occupations in this National Occupational Classification (NOC) group. Please consult the 2003 NOC Career Handbook for further information.

Reading Interest Codes
A Quick Guide

The interest code helps you figure out if you’d like to work in a particular occupation. 
It’s based on the Canadian Work Preference Inventory (CWPI), which measures 5 occupational interests: Directive, Innovative, Methodical, Objective and Social.

Each set of 3 interest codes is listed in order of importance.

A code in capital letters means it’s a strong fit for the occupation.

A code in all lowercase letters means the fit is weaker.

Learn More

Duties
Updated Mar 31, 2020

Communication technicians install, maintain, test and repair wiring or cable networks, as well as consumer or business communication equipment. They also work with:

  • Specialized equipment such as intercoms and computer networks (wired and wireless)
  • Toll and switching equipment
  • Other equipment related to the transmission and processing of voice, video signals and other data over fibre optic, microwave, radio, satellite and other telecommunications media

They may work in residential, commercial or industrial settings, or specialize in installing/servicing certain types of telecommunication system components. They may also maintain and repair various types of radio frequency (RF), transmission and switching equipment. They are primarily involved in:

  • Installing, terminating and testing copper and fibre optic conductors and cables
  • Laying out and installing raceways and supporting framework
  • Installing, commissioning, maintaining and troubleshooting communications equipment
  • Applying codes and standards to guide the installation of communication equipment
  • Interpreting communications systems drawings to guide the installation of communication equipment
  • Using testing equipment to locate faults and isolate defective components.
  • Installing residential cable systems

Duties and responsibilities can vary considerably from one position to another. For example, communication technicians are primarily involved in installing residential cable:

  • Check work orders and talk to cable subscribers to determine where to hook up, disconnect or relocate cable outlets
  • String cable from a utility pole, underground box or satellite dish if necessary
  • Install jacks, terminal boxes, splitters, converters, decoders, satellite and television equipment, and other cable hardware and systems
  • Install cable modems and software
  • Test installed systems and equipment on the subscriber’s premises
  • Promote additional services offered by their company
  • Keep records of work performed at each site
  • Operate and maintain, tools and equipment

Those primarily involved in servicing residential cable systems focus on trouble shooting problems when they arise.

To perform their duties, communication technicians must be:

  • Able to use hand tools and testing equipment, such as optical time domain reflectometer (OTDR), Ethernet and radio frequency sweep testing equipment
  • Familiar with different program configurations and components
  • Able to troubleshoot faults and isolate defective components
Working Conditions
Updated Mar 31, 2020

Working conditions vary considerably in this occupation. Communication technicians may work indoors or outdoors, and often travel to several work sites in a day. They generally work a standard 35- to 40-hour week, but may have to work overtime, particularly when weather conditions or other events disrupt cable or telephone service. Shift work may be required.

Stringing cable from utility poles may involve climbing and balancing on an aerial platform or pole in all types of weather. Communication technicians must observe safety precautions to reduce the risk of injury from electrical shocks, falls or hazards associated with cable splicing.

  • Strength Required Lift up to 20 kg
Skills & Abilities
Updated Mar 31, 2020

Communication technicians need:

  • Analytical and mechanical abilities
  • Math skills
  • Communication and interpersonal skills
  • The ability to work and solve problems independently
  • Good colour vision, manual dexterity and hand-eye co-ordination
  • The ability to climb poles and ladders while carrying tools and equipment

Those who work in customers’ homes and businesses must be courteous, tactful and adaptable.

Communication technicians should enjoy operating tools and test equipment, diagnosing technical problems and doing tasks that require precision. They should be comfortable working with people.

Educational Requirements
Updated Mar 31, 2020

To work in Alberta, a communication technician may be ONE of the following:

  • A registered apprentice
  • An Alberta-certified journeyperson
  • Someone who holds a recognized related trade certificate
  • Someone who works for an employer who is satisfied that the worker has the skills and knowledge expected of certified journeyperson
  • Self-employed

To register with Alberta Apprenticeship and Industry Training, apprentices must find a suitable employer who is willing to hire and train them. They must also meet ONE of the following:

  • Have an Alberta high school transcript with at least English Language Arts 20-2, Math 20-3, and Science 10, or equivalent
  • Have a pass mark in all 5 Canadian General Educational Development (GED) tests
  • Pass an entrance exam

The term of apprenticeship is 4 years (four 12-month periods) that include a minimum of 1,500 hours of on-the-job training each year plus 6 weeks of technical training in each of the first three years and 8 weeks of technical training in the fourth year.

High school students can earn credits toward apprenticeship training and a high school diploma at the same time through the Registered Apprenticeship Program (RAP). Applicants who have related training or work experience may be eligible for admission, credit, or certification. Credits may reduce the period of apprenticeship.

Technical training is arranged by Alberta Apprenticeship and Industry Training. For more information, see the Apprenticeship Training Catalogue.


Related Education

The following schools offer programs or courses that are related to this occupation but are not required to enter the field.

Apprenticeship Trades

Northern Alberta Institute of Technology

Southern Alberta Institute of Technology

For a broad list of programs and courses that may be related to this occupation try searching using keywords.

Certification Requirements
Updated Mar 31, 2020

Communication Technician

Communication technicians install, repair and maintain telecommunication systems. For more information, see the Trades and Occupations section of Alberta’s Tradesecrets website.

Legislation

Under Alberta’s Apprenticeship and Industry Training Act [pdf] and Communication Technician Trade Regulation [pdf], you do not have to be certified if you are self-employed or work for an employer who is satisfied that you have the skills and knowledge expected of a journeyperson certified by Alberta Apprenticeship and Industry Training. To learn the trade, you must become a registered apprentice.

What You Need

The term of apprenticeship in Alberta is 4 years (four 12-month periods) that include a minimum of 1,500 hours of on-the-job training each year plus 6 weeks of technical training in each of the first three years and 8 weeks of technical training in the fourth year.

Apprentices must find suitable employers who are willing to hire and train apprentices, and successfully complete technical training examinations.

Working in Alberta

Communication technicians trained in other provinces and territories can work in Alberta if they hold a certificate or license recognized by the Alberta Apprenticeship and Industry Training Board or have the skills and knowledge expected of a journeyperson certified in Alberta. For more information, see the Recognized Trade Certificates page of the Tradesecrets website.

Contact Details

Any of the Apprenticeship and Industry Training Client Service Offices located throughout Alberta. For a list of office locations and telephone numbers, click on “Contact Us” on the home page of the Tradesecrets website (tradesecrets.alberta.ca).

Additional Information

Communication technicians must be certified in the products they support. They need to stay up to date with changes in technology.

Certified tradespeople who want to build their business skills may obtain an Achievement in Business Competencies (Blue Seal) Certificate from Alberta Apprenticeship and Industry Training.

Employment & Advancement
Updated Mar 31, 2020

Communication technicians are employed by communication and cable companies that install, maintain, sell, rent or lease communications equipment, or install communications systems in the private and public sectors. The communications industry as a whole is experiencing ongoing expansion.

Communication technicians are employed by organizations in many sectors, including:

  • Oil and gas companies
  • Health care firms
  • Forestry firms
  • Educational institutions
  • Utilities agencies

Experienced communication technicians may advance to supervisory positions such as foreman, superintendent or quality assurance. They may retrain and transfer to other departments such as sales, engineering or systems design, or become an estimator.

Communication technicians are part of the larger 2011 National Occupational Classification 7246: Telecommunications installation and repair workers. In Alberta, 80% of people employed in this classification work in the following industries:

The employment outlook [pdf] in this occupation is influenced by a wide variety of factors including:

  • Trends and events affecting overall employment, especially in the industries listed above
  • Location in Alberta
  • Employment turnover (when people leave existing positions)
  • Occupational growth (when new positions are created)
  • Size of the occupation

In Alberta, the H216: Telecommunications Installation and Repair Workers occupational group is expected to have a below-average annual growth of 1.3% from 2016 to 2020. In addition to job openings created by employment turnover, 59 new positions are forecasted to be created within this occupational group each year.

Employment turnover is expected to increase as members of the baby boom generation retire over the next few years.

Wage & Salary
Updated Mar 31, 2020

Journeyperson communication technicians wage rates vary but generally range from $30 to $48 an hour plus benefits (2019 estimates). Apprentices earn at least 40% of the journeyperson wage in their place of employment in the first year, 50% in the second, 60% in the third and 75%

In additional to hourly wages, residential cable installers earn commissions for the extra services they sell.

Telecommunications installation and repair workers

Survey Methodology

Survey Analysis

Overall Wage Details
Average Wage
Average Salary
Hours Per Week

Hourly Wage
For full-time and part-time employees
  • Low
  • High
  • Average
  • Median
Starting
Overall
Top
Wages* Low (5th percentile) High (95th percentile) Average Median
Starting $15.00 $41.48 $22.28 $18.00
Overall $18.00 $46.00 $28.14 $28.00
Top $20.00 $46.25 $33.39 $36.00

Swipe left and right to view all data. Scroll left and right to view all data.

* All wage estimates are hourly except where otherwise indicated. Wages and salaries do not include overtime hours, tips, benefits, profit shares, bonuses (unrelated to production) and other forms of compensation.

C: Lower Reliability
Data Reliability Code Definition

Lower Reliability, represents a CV of between 15.01% and 33.00% and/or if fewer than 20 survey observations and/or if survey observations represent less than 33% of all estimated employment for the occupation.


Industry Information
ALL INDUSTRIES
Retail Trade

Skills Shortage

Employers that Recruited in the Last 2 Years

39%
39%)

Recruiting Employers that Experienced Hiring Difficulties

66%
66%

Employers with Unfilled Vacancies of over 4 Months

8%
8%

Vacancy Rate

3%
Related Post-Secondary Field of Study
  • Trades, Industrial and Related Training
Other Sources of Information
Updated Mar 31, 2020

Alberta Apprenticeship and Industry Training website: tradesecrets.alberta.ca

Get information and referrals about career, education, and employment options from Alberta Supports.

Updated Mar 31, 2020. The information contained in this profile is current as of the dates shown. Salary, employment outlook, and educational program information may change without notice. It is advised that you confirm this information before making any career decisions.

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