Cable Engineering Training and Education Program Information
Training and education are available for cable engineers in both undergraduate and graduate programs. The degree programs offered are in telecommunications engineering, and entry-level employment in the field usually requires a minimum of a bachelor's degree.
Bachelor's Degree in Telecommunications Engineering
Telecommunications engineering bachelor's degree programs focus on math, physics, electronics and systems. After students gain knowledge in these core subjects, more advanced telecommunications subjects are introduced, and some programs include a technology specialization. Graduates are awarded a Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in Telecommunications Engineering or Telecommunications Engineering Technology.
Some schools also offer a fast track bachelor's degree program combined with master's degree studies, and these accelerated programs take approximately five years of continuous studies to complete. Honors programs are also available to students meeting minimum grade point average (GPA) requirements in specific coursework.
Prior to consideration for entry, students are typically required to have extensive high school coursework in algebra, geometry, trigonometry, chemistry and physics. Strong reading and writing skills are also required.
Undergraduate telecommunications engineering degree programs typically require advanced studies in calculus, statistics and other math topics. Physics, science, English and communications subjects are also a heavy concentration. Telecommunications engineering-related topics include:
- Theory of circuits
- Voice, data and network communications
- Hi-frequency systems
- Telecommunications server programming
Popular Career Options
A telecommunications engineering bachelor's degree prepares graduates for a variety of career options in the cable industry. Prospective employees without a degree normally enter the field as technicians, and a bachelor's degree can provide higher-level job opportunities. Some career options include:
- Computer networking engineer
- Telecommunications analyst
- Network planning engineer
Master's Degree in Telecommunications Engineering
Telecommunications engineering master's degree programs typically take two years of full-time or three years of part-time study to complete, and some school programs are offered entirely online. Specific credit requirements in mathematics, physics and engineering vary by school, and some schools offer specialty areas of concentration such as wireless and satellite communications or high-speed and broadband networks. Students also must typically complete a project or thesis at the end of the program.
Graduates are usually awarded either Master of Science (M.S.) or Master of English (M.Eng.) in Telecommunications Engineering. Other degree options are a Master of Science in Electrical Engineering/Telecommunications Engineering (MSEE) or a M.S. in Telecommunications Engineering Technology.
Typical prerequisites for these master's degree programs include minimum Graduate Record Examination (GRE) test scores, letters of recommendation and a personal goal statement. Once enrolled, students are usually required to maintain a minimum GPA.
The coursework for telecommunications engineering graduate students includes advanced study in electronics, networking and technology. Some schools provide practical curriculum through cooperating agreements with institutions with state-of-the-art telecommunications laboratories and equipment. Some topics of study include:
- Telecommunications physical foundations
- Computer network performance analysis
- Random variables and processes
- Estimation and detection
- Telecommunications regulations and policies
Popular Career Options
Graduates of telecommunications engineering master's degree programs have advanced opportunities in cable engineering employment. Most employers of more complex engineering positions typically prefer those with a master's degree. Also, a master's degree along with experience in the field can help cable engineers with advancement in the field. Some employment areas of specialization include:
- Fiber optics
- Digital signals
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) stated that network and computer systems administrator positions were expected to grow 28% from 2010-2020, which was faster than average. These workers earned a mean yearly salary of $76,320 in May 2012. Telecommunications engineering specialists (which fell under the general category of computer network architects) earned a median annual salary of $91,000 in May 2012, reported the BLS.
Continuing Education and Certification Information
Cable engineers can pursue additional education in doctoral degree programs. Ph.D. programs are available in related areas such as computer science and software engineering.
Certification is also available for cable engineers by The Society of Cable Telecommunications Engineers (SCTE). Engineers must have comprehensive knowledge and training in telecommunications equipment technology and pass a required test to achieve the Broadband Communications Engineer (BCE) designation. Re-certification is required every three years.
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