A cable TV installer is a telecommunications technician who sets up cable systems and electronic devices at subscribers' homes. He or she connects home units to outside cable lines, runs new lines when necessary, and configures cable boxes and Internet modems. A cable TV installer also shows customers how to use specialized remote controls and digital video recorders (DVRs) that are provided by the cable company. Some installers are also skilled repair technicians who respond to service calls when people experience system problems.
When a cable TV installer arrives at a customer's home, he or she inspects indoor outlets and outdoor feeder lines to make sure the home is ready to be connected. The installer usually drives a company vehicles equipped with splicing tools, outlet covers, splitters, and other materials that a professional might need to set up a connection. Once the house is hooked up to outside lines, the installer inspects the customer's televisions, modems, and wireless adapters to figure out the best way to configure a system. He or she secures one end of a coaxial cable to a wall outlet and connects the other end to a cable box, DVR, or TV.
After all connections are set up, the installer usually checks the customer's devices to ensure they are working properly. He or she troubleshoots small problems and teaches the subscriber how to operate equipment. The installer answers any questions the customer may have and collects either a signature or direct payment for his or her services. It is common for a skilled technician who works for a large company to perform a dozen or more installation jobs in a single day.
A high school diploma is usually the only educational requirement to become a cable TV installer. Many prospective workers, however, choose to pursue six-month to two-year training programs at vocational schools to improve their credentials. A new cable TV installer usually receives several weeks of classroom and on-the-job training to become familiar with specific systems and company policies. He or she rides along with experienced technicians on house calls to learn about connecting cables, testing units, and collecting payments. Most companies allow new installers to start working independently in about three months.
Most people in telecommunications technician jobs begin their careers as cable TV installers and advance within companies with experience and continuing education. An installer who excels at his or her job may have the opportunity to obtain a service technician job, performing maintenance and repairs on cable lines and outlets. In time, a professional can usually advance to the ranks of a lead supervisor, dispatcher, or administrative worker at a cable company.