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Best Paying Jobs in Telecommunications Equipment

Last updated 03/15/2024 by

Benjamin Locke

Edited by

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Telecommunications equipment spans a number of platforms, from phone lines to fiber-optic cables and the various equipment that transports mobile data. Due to its sheer size, there are some great career paths in telecommunications for both blue-collar and white-collar workers. Some of the highest-paying jobs, many for engineers, will be on the cutting edge of telecommunications technology.
If you’ve never experienced the joy and wonder on a child’s face when showing them a paper cup phone (two paper cups that are linked together via a piece of string), then you haven’t lived. This is a great way to teach kids about the way that sound works as well as teach them about one of the original pieces of telecommunication equipment. Boy, we’ve come a long way since then, though. The telecommunications industry is booming and is full of well-paying jobs, one of which might be right up your alley.

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Jobs in telecommunication equipment

Telecommunications equipment is the equipment that underpins the way we communicate with each other. As of May 2021, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics estimated there were around 408,000 jobs available in the telecommunications industry. As telecommunications is always evolving, we will split the best-paying jobs into the following categories: traditional telecommunication landlines, fiber-optic communications, and wireless communications.
Although many of the higher-paying jobs require a college degree, there are a few high-paying blue-collar jobs that don’t. Let’s have a look below.

Traditional telephone lines

If you’re young enough, you may never have spoken on an old-school handset telephone before. However, you have undoubtedly seen a telephone pole. The interconnected system of telephone lines still needs plenty of maintenance and repair. These are the best-paying jobs in the old-school field of landline telephones.

Line worker

Average salary: $66,126
Top earners: $107,000
A line worker can do a whole host of tasks related to the telecommunications equipment industry. They can climb telephone poles, fix telephone lines, and work on installing the fiber-optic cables underneath.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics lists the median salary for line workers as $78,310, depending on the individual job. This is a high-paying blue-collar position and could be a good opportunity for those who are good with their hands and understand how cables and lines connect.

Telephone/utility pole structural engineer

Average salary: $87,516
Top earners: $112,000
A telephone and utility pole structural engineer plans out and helps design utility pole systems. As there are many telephone poles in a system, the structural engineer must plan out where to put them to achieve maximum efficiency without disturbing existing buildings or natural environments.
A utility pole structural engineer, in many cases, will have a civil engineering background as well as a structural engineering background.

Fiber-optic telecommunications equipment

Cables were originally installed in people’s homes so they could watch “cable” TV. With the rise of the internet, fiber-optic cables began to replace traditional cables as the carriers of both television and the internet. As a result, jobs in the fiber-optics field have grown and many of them pay well.

Photonics packaging engineer

Average salary: $105,000
Top earners: $130,000
A photonics packaging engineer optimizes the optical interface and packaging for custom optoelectronic devices that are used with fiber-optic cables. “Packaging engineer” is a broad term that encompasses engineers who work in packaging technology, including lasers and silicon chips. The optical fibers and electrical elements need to be packaged together in fiber-optic cables. So a packaging engineer may have a degree in electrical engineering.

Fiber-optic splicer

Average salary: $46,800
Top earners: $78,000
In the world of fiber optics, splicing is the act of putting two fiber-optic cables together. Fiber-optic splicers do not need a college degree to try their hand at this career path, and it pays quite well for a blue-collar job. Most fiber-optic cables are spliced using a method called ARC fusion splicing. An electrical arc is used to bind two pieces of cable together.
A fiber-optic splicer must complete a training program before they are certified to splice cables. They must understand how to use advanced equipment that results in the most precise splicing.

Fiber design engineer

Average salary: $80,823
Top earners: $106,000
A fiber design engineer works with fiber-optic cable systems. They are occasionally referred to as a broadband engineer or an outside plant engineer/OSP engineer. Fiber-optic cables are part of an incredibly complex network that requires mastery of how the cables work and interact with each other and how they are systematically installed below ground.
A fiber design engineer designs the whole system or parts of the system from front to back. They will need to not only design the system but also work with technical and administrative teams to resolve any issues.

Mobile/wireless telecommunications equipment

From those ridiculously large cell phones in the 1980s to controversial Huawei towers in the 2010s, mobile telecommunication has evolved significantly. In fact, the next frontier in mobile telecommunications will not utilize cell towers but will feature telecommunications beamed down from space using satellites and satellite equipment.

Pro Tip

Telecommunication equipment is a global industry reliant on a global supply chain. Loic Dufour, CEO of brokerage and trading firm LDM Solutions, has seen supply chain restrictions affect how quickly telecom equipment can be manufactured in Asia. “Export restrictions on a certain technology or extra paperwork for certain tech has caused delays in the sourcing process,” he says. “The telecom industry is very sensitive lately to different moves governments have made. If certain tech is restricted, then a company might be unable to manufacture a product. This affects them and all the supply chain down the line, even for the small parts needed for the machines that build the equipment.”

Cell tower engineer

Average salary: $67,613
Top earners: $175,000
The mobile data that we use every day travel via cell towers. If you remember the controversy surrounding Huawei’s cell towers, it illuminated how cell tower equipment is so important, it could disrupt U.S. nuclear communications. Thus, it must be well-designed and maintained.
A cell tower engineer is a type of wireless communications engineer that can work with a telecommunication equipment manufacturer (Huawei, Ericsson) or a mobile provider (T-Mobile, AT&T). On the manufacturing level, a cell phone tower engineer must understand every piece of the puzzle to achieve maximum design efficiency and usability from the tower. Once the tower transfers to a mobile provider, then a cell tower engineer is responsible for installation and maintenance.

Pro Tip

What do the job sites say? Nathan Brunner, who runs the job search engine Salarship, says two of the hottest jobs on his site are for wireless systems engineers and jobs in edge computing.
  • Wireless systems engineers work with a wide range of wireless technologies, including WLAN, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and GPS. They work in trending occupations such as the Internet of Things (IoT), systems for self-driving cars, and 5G networks (if they manage the network, the job title is technically “Wireless Network Engineer”).
  • Edge computing is a brand-new concept in telecommunication. The goal of edge computing is to reduce latency and bandwidth by bringing computers and data storage closer to the location where the service is delivered. The biggest employer in edge computing is Cloudflare.

Mobile phone marketing associate

Average salary: $56,038
Top earners: $71,500
This is one of those jobs that doesn’t require physical labor OR a degree in engineering or computer science. The cellphone industry is notoriously competitive, with everyone fighting like wolves for market share. For instance, a mobile phone marketing associate might work with a company like Samsung to promote their Galaxy phones.
There are TV advertisements for mobile phones made by third-party agencies, in which the mobile phone marketing associate must act as a liaison. They must also be well-versed in other forms of promotion, including social media.

Cellphone salesperson

Average salary: $34,320
Top earners: $55,000
You have surely encountered a cellphone salesperson trying to sell an alternative plan in which you receive a “free” cell phone at a wireless retailer or mall. Although you may not consider this a high-paying job, it can be for those with exceptional sales skills. Although many cell phones are not especially expensive, there is a great deal of competition in the market that can make them harder to sell.
However, for those looking to get into the telecommunication equipment industry, this is a great entry-level position that can start you on a longer career path. You may also be able to find a convenient work-from-home position in customer service or sales. If you need a part-time job or a side hustle to make a little extra money, these gigs may be exactly what you need.

SuperMoney may receive compensation from some or all of the companies featured, and the order of results are influenced by advertising bids, with exception for mortgage and home lending related products. Learn more

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What are the highest-paying jobs in telecommunications?

The highest-paying jobs in telecommunications equipment are generally for engineers. That’s not to say that CEOs and CFOs of large telecommunications companies don’t earn a lot more, but those jobs are much rarer. A line worker with the right experience can earn up to $107,000. This is a relatively high salary for a job without a college degree requirement.

Which tech job has the highest salary?

CEOs of tech companies have the highest salaries in the tech industry. That’s not to say that an incredible telecommunication services engineer for a large multinational company won’t make more than the CEO of a small local company, but on average, it’s the CEO position. Cloud engineers, mobile developers, and data scientists can also make annual salaries well over $100,000.

What three fields have the highest paid salaries?

Typically finance, health, and tech pay the highest salaries in the U.S. There are other fields where you can earn high salaries, such as playing in the NBA (sports) or becoming a famous movie actor (entertainment). However, only a small percentage of people get paid high salaries in the sports and entertainment industries, whereas many more people have the opportunity to make a high salary in the finance, health, and tech industries.

Key takeaways

  • Telecommunications equipment spans a number of services and platforms, such as phone lines, fiber-optic cables, and the equipment that moves and stores mobile data.
  • Technology has evolved quickly from telephone and cable lines to fiber-optic cables and satellites beaming the internet from space.
  • Engineers are vital to ensuring the integrity of the telecommunications infrastructure. They are needed for the manufacturing as well as the installation and maintenance of equipment.
  • The telecom equipment industry also offers some well-paying blue-collar jobs. You can make over six figures a year as a line worker.

SuperMoney may receive compensation from some or all of the companies featured, and the order of results are influenced by advertising bids, with exception for mortgage and home lending related products. Learn more

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