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Career profile Communications Systems Technician

Also known as Avionics Technician, Communications Systems Technician, Communications Tower Technician, Field Service Technician, Radio Frequency Technician (RF Technician), Radio Repairman, Radio Service Technician (Radio Service Tech), Radio Technician (Radio Tech), Tower Technician, Two-Way Radio Technician (Two-Way Radio Tech)

Communications Systems Technician

Also known as Avionics Technician, Communications Systems Technician, Communications Tower Technician

Interests Profile
  • Realistic
  • Conventional
  • Investigative
Pay Range
$32,450 - $97,780 (annual)
Required Skills
  • Equipment Maintenance
  • Repairing
  • Active Listening
Knowledge Areas
  • Telecommunications
  • Computers and Electronics
  • Engineering and Technology
Core tasks
  • Turn setscrews to adjust receivers for maximum sensitivity and transmitters for maximum output.
  • Test equipment functions such as signal strength and quality, transmission capacity, interference, and signal delay, using equipment such as oscilloscopes, circuit analyzers, frequency meters, and wattmeters.
  • Test emergency transmitters to ensure their readiness for immediate use.
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What does a Communications Systems Technician do?

Communications Systems Technicians repair, install, or maintain mobile or stationary radio transmitting, broadcasting, and receiving equipment, and two-way radio communications systems used in cellular telecommunications, mobile broadband, ship-to-shore, aircraft-to-ground communications, and radio equipment in service and emergency vehicles.

In addition, Communications Systems Technicians may test and analyze network coverage.

What kind of tasks does a Communications Systems Technician perform regularly?

Communications Systems Technicians are often responsible for overseeing or executing some or all of the following tasks:

  • Read work orders, blueprints, plans, datasheets or site drawings to determine work to be done.
  • Inspect completed work to ensure all hardware is tight, antennas are level, hangers are properly fastened, proper support is in place, or adequate weather proofing has been installed.
  • Test operation of tower transmission components, using sweep testing tools or software.
  • Bolt equipment into place, using hand or power tools.
  • Run appropriate power, ground, or coaxial cables.
  • Check antenna positioning to ensure specified azimuths or mechanical tilts and adjust as necessary.
  • Replace existing antennas with new antennas as directed.
  • Install all necessary transmission equipment components, including antennas or antenna mounts, surge arrestors, transmission lines, connectors, or tower-mounted amplifiers (TMAs).
  • Take site survey photos or photos of work performed, using digital cameras.
  • Complete reports related to project status, progress, or other work details, using computer software.

The above responsibilities are specific to Communications Systems Technicians. More generally, Communications Systems Technicians are involved in several broader types of activities:

Getting Information
Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
Inspecting Equipment, Structures, or Materials
Inspecting equipment, structures, or materials to identify the cause of errors or other problems or defects.
Repairing and Maintaining Electronic Equipment
Servicing, repairing, calibrating, regulating, fine-tuning, or testing machines, devices, and equipment that operate primarily on the basis of electrical or electronic (not mechanical) principles.
Monitoring Processes, Materials, or Surroundings
Monitoring and reviewing information from materials, events, or the environment, to detect or assess problems.
Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events
Identifying information by categorizing, estimating, recognizing differences or similarities, and detecting changes in circumstances or events.

What is a Communications Systems Technician salary?

The median salary for a Communications Systems Technician is $57,720, and the average salary is $60,790. Both the median and average roughly describe the middle of the Communications Systems Technician salary range, but the average is more easily affected by extremely high or low salaries.

Many Communications Systems Technicians earn significantly more or less than the average, due to several factors. About 10% of Communications Systems Technicians earn less than $32,450 per year, 25% earn less than $41,980, 75% earn less than $78,870, and 90% earn less than $97,780.

Between the years of 2020 and 2030, the number of Communications Systems Technicians is expected to change by 4.4%, and there should be roughly 1,600 open positions for Communications Systems Technicians every year.

Median annual salary
$57,720
Typical salary range
$32,450 - $97,780
Projected growth (2020 - 2030)
4.4%

What personality traits are common among Communications Systems Technicians?

Interests

Career interests describe a person's preferences for different types of working environments and activities. When a person's interest match the demands of an occupation, people are usually more engaged and satisfied in that role.

Compared to most occupations, those who work as a Communications Systems Technician are usually higher in their Realistic interests.

Communications Systems Technicians typically have very strong Realistic interests. Realistic occupations frequently involve work activities that include practical, hands-on problems and solutions. They often deal with plants, animals, and real-world materials like wood, tools, and machinery. Many of the occupations require working outside, and do not involve a lot of paperwork or working closely with others.

Values

People differ in their values, or what is most important to them for building job satisfaction and fulfillment.

Compared to most people, those working as a Communications Systems Technician tend to value Support, Achievement, and Working Conditions.

Most importantly, Communications Systems Technicians moderately value Support. Occupations that satisfy this work value offer supportive management that stands behind employees.

Second, Communications Systems Technicians moderately value Achievement. Occupations that satisfy this work value are results oriented and allow employees to use their strongest abilities, giving them a feeling of accomplishment.

Lastly, Communications Systems Technicians moderately value Working Conditions. Occupations that satisfy this work value offer job security and good working conditions.

Psychological Demands

Each occupation brings its own set of psychological demands, which describe the characteristics necessary to perform the job well.

In order to perform their job successfully, people who work as Communications Systems Technicians must consistently demonstrate qualities such as attention to detail, dependability, and integrity.

Below, you'll find a list of qualities typically required of Communications Systems Technicians, ranked by importance:

Attention to Detail
Job requires being careful about detail and thorough in completing work tasks.
Dependability
Job requires being reliable, responsible, and dependable, and fulfilling obligations.
Integrity
Job requires being honest and ethical.
Stress Tolerance
Job requires accepting criticism and dealing calmly and effectively with high-stress situations.
Analytical Thinking
Job requires analyzing information and using logic to address work-related issues and problems.

What education and training do Communications Systems Technicians need?

Communications Systems Technicians often have training in vocational schools, related on-the-job experience, or an associate's degree.

Communications Systems Technicians usually need one or two years of training involving both on-the-job experience and informal training with experienced workers. A recognized apprenticeship program may be associated with this occupation.

Educational degrees among Communications Systems Technicians

  • 4.3% did not complete high school or secondary school
  • 28.8% completed high school or secondary school
  • 33.8% completed some college coursework
  • 18.0% earned a Associate's degree
  • 12.6% earned a Bachelor's degree
  • 2.2% earned a Master's degree
  • 0.2% earned a doctorate or professional degree

Knowledge and expertise required by Communications Systems Technicians

Communications Systems Technicians may benefit from understanding of specialized subject areas, such as telecommunications, computers and electronics, or engineering and technology knowledge.

The list below shows several areas in which most Communications Systems Technicians might want to build proficiency, ranked by importance.

Telecommunications
Knowledge of transmission, broadcasting, switching, control, and operation of telecommunications systems.
Computers and Electronics
Knowledge of circuit boards, processors, chips, electronic equipment, and computer hardware and software, including applications and programming.
Engineering and Technology
Knowledge of the practical application of engineering science and technology. This includes applying principles, techniques, procedures, and equipment to the design and production of various goods and services.
Mechanical
Knowledge of machines and tools, including their designs, uses, repair, and maintenance.
Administrative
Knowledge of administrative and office procedures and systems such as word processing, managing files and records, stenography and transcription, designing forms, and workplace terminology.

Important Abilities needed by Communications Systems Technicians

Communications Systems Technicians must develop a particular set of abilities to perform their job well. Abilities are individual capacities that influence a person's information processing, sensory perception, motor coordination, and physical strength or endurance. Individuals may naturally have certain abilities without explicit training, but most abilities can be sharpened somewhat through practice.

For example, Communications Systems Technicians need abilities such as problem sensitivity, near vision, and deductive reasoning in order to perform their job at a high level. The list below shows several important abilities for Communications Systems Technicians, ranked by their relative importance.

Problem Sensitivity
The ability to tell when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong. It does not involve solving the problem, only recognizing that there is a problem.
Near Vision
The ability to see details at close range (within a few feet of the observer).
Deductive Reasoning
The ability to apply general rules to specific problems to produce answers that make sense.
Finger Dexterity
The ability to make precisely coordinated movements of the fingers of one or both hands to grasp, manipulate, or assemble very small objects.
Arm-Hand Steadiness
The ability to keep your hand and arm steady while moving your arm or while holding your arm and hand in one position.

Critical Skills needed by Communications Systems Technicians

Skills are developed capacities that enable people to function effectively in real-world settings. Unlike abilities, skills are typically easier to build through practice and experience. Skills influence effectiveness in areas such as learning, working with others, design, troubleshooting, and more.

Communications Systems Technicians frequently use skills like equipment maintenance, repairing, and active listening to perform their job effectively. The list below shows several critical skills for Communications Systems Technicians, ranked by their relative importance.

Equipment Maintenance
Performing routine maintenance on equipment and determining when and what kind of maintenance is needed.
Repairing
Repairing machines or systems using the needed tools.
Active Listening
Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
Troubleshooting
Determining causes of operating errors and deciding what to do about it.
Critical Thinking
Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions, or approaches to problems.

What is the source of this information?

The information provided on this page is adapted from data and descriptions published by the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration under the CC BY 4.0 license. TraitLab has modified some information for ease of use and reading, and the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment, and Training Administration has not approved, endorsed, or tested these modifications.

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