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How do I Become a Fiber-Optic Technician?

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  • Written By: T. L. Childree
  • Edited By: R. Halprin
  • Last Modified Date: 02 November 2016
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A fiber-optic technician typically works for a communications company installing and maintaining optical fibers utilized for data transmission. In order to become a fiber-optic technician, you will in general need a high school diploma or equivalent and an associate’s degree from a two-year college. In the U.S., you must also obtain a license from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) prior to employment. A valid driver’s license will probably be needed to operate company owned service vehicles. Professional certification from a recognized trade association may also be required to become a fiber-optic technician.

The minimum educational requirement to become a fiber-optic technician is a high school diploma and a college degree in this field. A General Equivalency Diploma (GED) may also be accepted in place of a high school diploma. An associate’s degree in the field of fiber-optic communications technology will also be needed. Many local community colleges offer a degree program in this field of study. Some employers may waive the college degree requirement if you have at least three years of previous work experience in a related field.

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In the U.S., you are also required to be properly licensed by the FCC before you can become a fiber-optic technician. The FCC requires all persons servicing communications transmitters to obtain a General Radiotelephone Operator License. The prerequisites for obtaining this license can be obtained from the FCC by mail, telephone, or online. Pretesting information materials are also available from various sources. Some prospective employers may be willing to accept proof that you are preparing for the exam in place of the actual license.

Fiber-optic technicians typically drive to work sites in a company-owned service vehicle. As such, you will probably need a valid driver’s license before you can become a fiber-optic technician. An excellent driving record is also likely necessary to be covered by your employer’s vehicle insurance. The ability to legally operate a service vehicle is a prerequisite to employment with most communications companies.

Many employers also require you to be professionally certified by a trade organization such as the Fiber-Optic Association. This organization offers several levels of certification from Certified Fiber-Optic Technician to Certified Fiber-Optic Specialist. The Electronics Technicians Association International provides a number of professional certifications as well. Classes for these certificates can often be taken online if you are already employed. Prospective employers may also be willing to accept proof of enrollment for these classes in place of certification.

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