December 2010

Central Office Installer

How to Become a Central Office Installer


Most companies and organizations rely on a variety of telecommunications equipment. Central office installers are highly trained professionals that install and repair a variety of telecommunications systems.

What does a central office installer do?
Central office installers typically work at central offices, which are switching hubs that contain a variety of switches and routers to direct information to many different locations. They install the switches, routers, cables, and other equipment. They also test, evaluate, and repair telecommunications equipment. They often repair and replace defective parts such as switches, circuit boards, amplifiers, and relays. They analyze and repair malfunctions in communications systems using a variety of equipment such as hand tools, test meters, polarity probes, analyzers, and circuit diagrams. They often test circuits and other components to determine the source of the malfunctioning equipment. Central office installers also analyze the readings from computer printouts, tests, and reports to decide the best repair method. Once an installer fixes the problem they retest the equipment to make sure it was repaired correctly.

What kind of training does a central office installer need?
Central office installers typically need some postsecondary education in computer technology, electronics, or other related field. Many central office installers have a bachelor degree. Many colleges and universities offer a variety of programs for central office installers. Prospective central office installers often complete courses in communications systems, electronics, and computer technology. Many central office installers start out in entry-level positions and advance to installer positions as they gain the necessary skills and experience. Most employers provide some on the job training to enable new central office installers to learn the necessary policies and procedures. Central office installers must complete regular continuing education throughout their careers to keep their skills up to date and stay abreast with advancements in the field.

What are the prospects for a career as a central office installer?
Employment of central office installers is expected to experience little or no change from 2008 to 2018 (1). The increase in automation will contribute to the limited job growth.
Job prospects are expected to be good especially for central office installers with extensive experience. Central office installers with advanced trained and specialized computer skills will have the best job opportunities.

How much do central office installers make?
As of March 2010, the average annual salary for central office installers is $34,000; average annual central office installer salaries vary greatly on location, employer, education, experience, and benefits (2).

A career as a central office installer is a great choice for people with a strong interest in installing and maintaining a variety of telecommunications equipment. Central office installers must have a solid understanding of the concepts and procedures of installing and repairing many different types of telecommunications systems. Technical aptitude, manual dexterity, and good problem solving skills are necessary characteristics. Central office installers must have good communication and be able to effectively work independently.

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