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Occupational Profile
Apprenticeship

Communication Technician

Communication technicians install, repair and maintain telecommunication systems.

  • Avg. Salary $62,809.00
  • Avg. Wage $30.52
  • Minimum Education Apprenticeship
  • Outlook Down
  • Employed 4,500
  • In Demand Lower
Also Known As

Cable Splicer, Switcher

Skills Shortage

Employers that Recruited in the Last 2 Years

74%
74%
Average Wage
Starting
Overall
Top
  • Certification Provincially Regulated
  • Strength Required Lift up to 20 kg
NOC & Interest Codes
The Communication Technician is part of the following larger National Occupational Classification (NOC).
Telecommunications Installation and Repair Workers
NOC code: 7246
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 Dec 15, 2016

Communication technicians install, maintain, test and repair:

  • wiring or cable networks
  • consumer or business communication equipment
  • 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 or servicing certain types of telecommunication system components. They may be 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 trouble shooting communications equipment
  • using codes and standards to guide the installation of communication equipment
  • interpreting communications systems drawings to guide the installation of communication equipment
  • installing residential cable systems.

Duties and responsibilities can vary considerably from one position to another. For example, communication technicians 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 vehicles, 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 reflectomete (OTDR), Ethernet and radio frequency sweep testing equipment
  • certified in the products they support
  • familiar with different program configurations and components
  • able to troubleshoot faults and isolate defective components

 

Working Conditions
Updated Dec 15, 2016

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 some 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 conditions. 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 Dec 15, 2016

Communication technicians need the following characteristics:

  • mechanical ability
  • mathematical ability 
  • analytical ability
  • the communication and interpersonal skills required to maintain harmony with subscribers and work colleagues
  • 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
  • an ongoing interest in keeping up to date with changes in technology.

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 working with people.

Educational Requirements
Updated Dec 15, 2016

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:

  • have an Alberta high school transcript with at least English Language Arts 20-2, Math 20-3 and Science 10, or equivalent, or pass an entrance exam.
  • find a suitable employer who is willing to hire and train an apprentice. Most employers prefer to hire high school graduates. Courses in math and physics are particularly important.

The term of apprenticeship is four years (four 12 month periods) that include a minimum of 1,500 hours of on-the-job training each year plus:

  • six weeks of technical training in each of the three years
  • eight 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 credit or certification.

Technical training is arranged by Alberta Apprenticeship and Industry Training and is currently offered at the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology (NAIT) in Edmonton.

For more information, visit the Technical Training Centre on the Alberta Apprenticeship and Industry Training website.

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

Certification Requirements
Updated Dec 15, 2016

This is an Apprenticeship trade. For full details, see the related certification profile

Employment & Advancement
Updated Dec 15, 2016

Below-average occupational growth is expected in Alberta for 2016 to 2020. Job openings are a result of employment turnover and newly created positions.

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

Experienced communication technicians may advance to supervisory positions, change to other craft areas, or retrain and transfer to other departments such as sales or engineering. Alberta certified journeyperson communication technicians who have the supervisory or management skills required by industry may apply for an Achievement in Business Competencies Blue Seal by contacting Alberta Apprenticeship and Industry Training.

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 in this occupation will be 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 (work opportunities generated by people leaving existing positions)
  • occupational growth (work opportunities resulting from the creation of new positions that never existed before)
  • size of the occupation.

Over 4,500 Albertans are employed in the Telecommunications installation and repair workers occupational group. This group is expected to have a below-average annual growth of 1.3% from 2016 to 2020. As a result, 59 new positions are forecast to be created each year, in addition to job openings created by employment turnover. Note: As communication technicians form only a part of this larger occupational group, only some of these newly created positions will be for communication technicians. 

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

Wage & Salary
Updated Dec 15, 2016

Journeyperson wage rates vary but generally range from $30 to $48 an hour plus benefits (2016 estimates). Apprentice communication technicians earn at least 40% of the journeyperson wage rate in their place of employment in the first year, 50% in the second, 60% in the third and 75% in the fourth.

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

Telecommunications installation and repair workers
NOC code: 7246

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 $16.00 $38.09 $21.69 $20.00
Overall $25.00 $43.08 $30.52 $29.00
Top $25.00 $55.00 $38.44 $37.16

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.

B: Good Reliability
Data Reliability Code Definition

Good Reliability, represents a CV of between 6.01% and 15.00% and/or fewer than 30 survey observations and/or if survey observations represent less than 50% of all estimated employment for the occupation.


Industry Information
ALBERTA, ALL INDUSTRIES
Information, Culture, Recreation
Public Administration

Skills Shortage

Employers that Recruited in the Last 2 Years

74%
74%

Recruiting Employers that Experienced Hiring Difficulties

46%
46%

Employers with Unfilled Vacancies of over 4 Months

17%
17%

2015 Vacancy Rate

3%
Related High School Subjects
  • Science
  • Trades, Manufacturing and Transportation
    • Electro-Technologies
Related Post-Secondary Field of Study
  • Trades, Industrial and Related Training
Other Sources of Information
Updated Dec 15, 2016

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

Calgary Construction Association website: www.cca.cc

For more information on career planning, education and jobs, visit the Alberta Learning Information Service (ALIS) website, call the Alberta Career Information Hotline toll-free at 1-800-661-3753 or 780-422-4266 in Edmonton, or visit an Alberta Works Centre near you.

Updated Jul 01, 2009. 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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