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Through this in-depth tower technician career guide, you will gain insight into tower climbing certification, tower technician salary, tower technician job duty, and responsibilities, required skills to be a tower climber, etc.
How to become a tower technician: If you wish to work in a physically active career that demands a specialist understanding of telecommunications equipment, you may consider becoming a cell tower climber and technician. If you want to know if this position is a good fit for your professional interests and aspirations, researching the employee’s career path is a good place to start.
Learn about the training and credentials you’ll need to climb cell towers and land a job in this exciting industry.
You can also read another article on the topic of how to become a Tower Light Bulb Changer
What Does a Tower Technician or Climber Do?
A Tower Technician’s job is to set up, maintain, and fix the electronic components of a cell or radio tower. The tower technicians are the lifeblood of our wireless network. Whenever your phone signal is weak, there may already be a Tower Tech at the top of a cell tower working on maintenance and repair to improve that connectivity. Technicians in this field boost the quality of our TV, radio, and wireless networks. Tower Techs operate mostly on telecommunication towers.
History of Tower Technician
Motorola made the first cell phone in 1973. AT&T built the first cell phone tower in 1977. Then, in the 1980s, cell towers were put up in the Chicago service area. Ten years later, the cell system went online and could connect to the internet.
Tower Technicians Salary
Nowadays a search term is viral “How much does a tower technician make”? this question has different answers according to company and location.
The average salary for a tower technician is $23.70 per hour in the United States. 2.3k salaries reported, updated at October 29, 2023source: indeed.com
A tower climber salary is the main reward, with up to $20 per hour with a high school diploma.source: fieldengineer.com
Tower Technicians Salary Statistics and Facts
Duty or Responsibilities of a Cell/Radio Tower Technician
Professionals who work as cell tower technicians often have to go up to 500 feet in the air. There are a lot of towers that need to be fixed and troubleshooted, and because there are so many, tower jumpers are in high demand. Their plans change all the time, and they have to drive long distances and for long hours to get to the next cell tower. There needs to be cell tower maintenance, and cell tower workers are in charge of this.
- Help with the installation of all the foundations for wireless cell sites.
- Putting up equipment on top of the building, like masts, clamping, bracing, supports, antennas, RRUs, cabling, bolting, true up, shooting the right azimuth within tolerances, reading maps and a compass, torque to specification, labeling, taking pictures, writing things down, taking plumb and tilt readings with a smart level, and so on.
- Put together a monopole, and have everyone weld and knock down self-supporting and guyed towers.
- Installing microwave parabolic antennas (1 to 15 feet) as well as VHF, UHF, cellular, and FM broadcast antennas
- Lifting parts into place, often using a crane, gin pole or other equipment
- Coaxial, hardline, and elliptical wave-guides, as well as transmission lines and the installation of foam or air dielectrics
- Help with planning the cleanup of sites
- daily maintenance and inventory of tools on the job site.
- Other tasks as needed
Benefits of Working as a Mobile Tower Technician
- The vast majority of open jobs offer training on the job for new apprentices.
- Great pay; you can start at $16 an hour and easily make $20 to $30 an hour.
- Being able to keep getting new training and certifications that help your job grow
- Learn a special set of skills that will make you stand out.
- You will spend the day in a fast-paced and exciting place where you will have to climb 200-foot or more towers for maintenance, repair, and installation work.
- Make the next wave of phones and other electronics.
Hazards & Safety of Tower Technician Job
Cell tower techs need to learn how to safely climb and descend, as well as how to make big repairs while carrying tower gear.
Because of the weather on the tower, all cell tower workers have to go through a lot of training and follow strict safety rules.
If you get worried when you’re under a lot of stress or are scared of heights, this job is not for you. 90% of the time, cell tower workers climb and sit on top of very tall cell towers. So, you need to be able to work quickly and safely from these great heights.
You’ll be working in dangerous places; following exact, safe steps is always very important!
Future of Tower Climber or Technician
According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), telecommunications installers and repairers, a group to which cell tower climbers belong, have an estimated job growth of 8% between 2021 and 2031. Since this rate of expansion is higher than the average for all jobs (5%), cell tower climbing is a good way to start a secure line of work. The BLS attributes this growth to an increase in consumer demand for mobile and wireless services.
How to Become a Tower Climber or Technician
To become a successful tower technician, you need to have the following skills and qualifications:
1) Essential Technical Skills for Tower Technician/Climber
- Being able to figure out what’s wrong with mechanical or electrical links and fix them
- Being able to use man lifts, aerial lifts, skid steers, and other tools for working on high places
- Must have or get written proof of Authorized Climber and Competent Climber/Rescue certification from a recognized school that meets government standards
- Must have or get an OSHA Construction 10 HR Safety Training Card from the US Department of Labor. Must have or get certification in first aid and CPR.
- Must show proof that they took an RF/EME safety course from a qualified instructor.
- First aid and escape training for the workplace
2) Required Soft Skills for Tower Technician
- Good at managing things, talking to people, organizing, and writing things down.
- Can inspire, guide, teach, and train others on how to do their job and stay safe
- Being able to read, understand, and follow directions
- Having the ability to work with others and on your own when needed
3) Essential Physical Qualities for Cell Tower Technician
- Must be able to pass background and drug tests as part of the hiring process.
- Long periods of time must be spent climbing and working at different heights, up to 400 feet. Must be in good physical shape and be able to stoop, crawl, bend at the knees and waist, squat, and lift 50 pounds, which includes body weight, tools, and boxes.
- Must be able to pull his or her own weight plus load up a vertical tower over and over for long amounts of time.
- You have to be ready to leave the market or state for up to a few months at a time.
- The job involves working outside in all kinds of weather, so the hours may be long and hard to predict.
4) Educational Qualification of Tower Climber or Technician
A) Either finish high school or get your GED: Tower climbers don’t have to have a high school diploma or GED, but most companies want to hire people with at least that level of education. Most of the time, companies would rather hire someone with a high school diploma or GED than someone without one.
B) Get appropriate licenses and certificates: Many companies hire tower climbers who don’t have all the right certifications yet. Getting all the certifications before looking for jobs as a tower climber can show the company that you are dedicated and ready for the job.
These are some certificates that can be used:
- Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA): New workers get basic safety and health knowledge from OSHA training. This course talks about dangers in the workplace, what workers are responsible for, and how to make an OSHA report.
- Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR): This class, taught by qualified instructors, teaches you how to help adults and children in an emergency. This course gives you the chance to practice CPR in a real-life setting.
- Technician for Telecommunications Tower 1 (TTT-1): You need to know a lot about climber safety rules, hazard analysis, methods, equipment, personal protective equipment (PPE), and different types of rescue in order to get certified.
- In RF1002, Tower Workers learn about radio frequency safety: This course is for tower workers who work at tower sites. It talks about the harmful effects of radio frequency (RF) energy on living things, the safest levels of exposure, and tools that can help people who work in towers.
C) Apply for jobs as a tower climber: Make a resume that lists your experience, skills, and qualifications. Then, look online for companies near you that hire tower climbers. If you want a better chance of getting a job, you might want to apply to more than one company.
What is the work environment like for tower technicians?
What is the work environment like for tower technicians?
As part of their job, tower techs have to go up to speeds of up to 500 feet per second. They have to climb steep ladders while bringing tools that could be heavy. It’s possible that these workers will have to climb and fix things in bad weather. To do the hard work of the job, they need to be in good physical shape.
Some of the time that tower technicians spends in an office is filling out papers. They might talk to customers, make meetings, and write reports. Tower technicians also have to move their tools and themselves from one job spot to another.
What skills are needed to become a tower technician?
Tower techs need to be able to do the following:
Strength and endurance in the body
Being able to read plans and schematics
Critical thinking and problem solving
Paying attention to the details
Proficiency in math and technology
How to deal with customers
The ability to handle small tools and gadgets with ease
Skills with tools