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Community Antenna Television Technician


Years ago, simple cable networks were used to deliver television signals into communities that were shielded from broadcasts due to hills and other natural obstructions. An antenna would be placed on a high patch of ground and the signal would be delivered to each home by cable. These systems were referred to as community antenna television or CATV.

Today, this technology more commonly referred to as broadband communication system technology has grown into satellite, Internet and all matter of what is referred to as broadband signals. The person who constructs, services and maintains a two-way interactive broadband communications system is called a community antenna television technician.

Community antenna television technicians spend their time installing, removing and relocating systems at individual cable subscribers' homes. They also conduct quality control testing and repair any cable television or modem equipment used to distribute signals. Technicians spend a lot of time traveling to different locations to complete their work as required.
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  Interests and Skills  
community antenna television technicians must like working with the public as they directly interact with customers and work in and around private residences.Technicians must also have good problem-solving skills to deal with situations on the job. For example, they may have to work around difficult room layout and figure the best way to install and run cable from a main cable area to a room far away. Technicians must be able to deal with these issues as they arise and enjoy the challenges of working in different environments with different people on a daily basis.

They have good motor skills and are able to bend, splice and work with their hands. Technicians are also skilled with the tools of their trades such as cable splicers. Another component of this job is the ability to visualize the layout of cables and circuits at a subscribers home.

  Typical Tasks  
  • Communicate with cable television subscribers and company personnel to determine work assignments
  • Connect, disconnect and relocate cable outlets, install splitters, converters, pay TV equipment and install other cable hardware and systems at subscribers' premises
  • Inspect, test and repair cable television signals and associated equipment at subscribers' premises
  • Inspect, monitor, test and adjust cable transmission and distribution systems
  • Repair or replace faulty cables, power supplies, amplifiers and other associated transmission and distribution equipment
  • Communicate with other workers to coordinate the preparation and completion of work assignments.
  • Climb and work aloft on ladders or other support structures
  • Community antenna television technicians spend their days going from residence to residence installing, maintaining and/or removing communications systems. Their time is split between interacting with customers and working alone with the equipment. They generally work a 40-hour week with hours outside of 9-5 pm to accomodate customers who work during these most common hours.

  Workplaces, Employers and Industries  
  • Community antenna television technicians are employed by cable television companies, telephone and other telecommunications services.

  Long Term Career Potential  
People in this line of work do not typically have the opportunity for self-employment or as part-time workers. The long term potential for workers in this field will increase directly with their knowledge of technological developments. Workers who keep upgrading their skills have the best chance to advance into other areas such as fiber optic installation or into supervisory positions.

  Educational Paths  
Community antenna television technicians receive their training either through informal, on-the-job training or through an apprenticeship program. Trade certification can be obtained either through an apprenticeship program or after several years of work experience. While trade certification is not mandatory to become a community antenna television technician, it can be a requirement for many employers and can also help secure employment.

Apprenticeship programs involve a combination of on-the-job training and classroom instruction. A pre-apprenticeship course may also be available which takes about five to six months to complete at a community college and is designed to help you get connected with a good company to apprentice with. It is important to apprentice with a reputable company as that is your education. While some apprenticeship programs may not require a high school diploma, it is important to note that employers generally prefer to hire high school graduates.

Apprenticeships can vary, however a typical apprenticeship lasts four to five years. The apprenticeship is a paid position, however wages are about 50 percent of what an employer pays the journeyperson, with yearly increases. After successfully completing the apprenticeship requirements, their industry training and apprenticeship office awards the community antenna television technician a certificate of completion.

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2014-15 Edition, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/
Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Employment Statistics, 2002, http://www.bls.gov/oes/2002/oes_nat.htm

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