Tower climbing jobs are not for everyone, but if you love working outdoors, if you enjoy strenuous physical activity and if the idea of working high in the air excites you, then you might have what it takes to be a successful “tower dawg” in this growing industry.
A college education is not necessarily a prerequisite in the tower industry. A high school diploma will usually suffice, unless you aspire to do something beyond tower repair. For more complicated work, such as RF maintenance, an RF (radio frequency) or mechanical engineering degree might be required. More important than this, however, is your ability to pass a background check, and whether or not you hold a valid driver’s license with a clean abstract.
Other experience that might give you a better shot includes working on wind turbines, on cargo ships and some construction work, particularly if it involves working on scaffolding or at great heights. Military experience also factors highly, as it displays a committed work ethic, as well as leadership qualities, both of which are important qualities in a tower climber.
Different companies tend to look for different things, and no two companies are the same in how they go about recruiting their workforce. Some companies prefer to work with people who already have experience, while others want to hire people coming in with a clean slate; in other words, they are looking for workers who are trainable, not set in their ways and who they can mold to fit their very specific needs and ways of doing things.
Certifications are important for every tower job, as the industry is compliance-focused for safety and liability reasons as much as it is for hard skills. Most of the common certificates can be obtained after taking a one or two-day class and passing an exam, and many certifications will need to be renewed after a year or two. Certification requirements for jobs vary, but the most common ones include the Authorized Climber Certificate, Tower Climbing and Rescue and Fall Protection certifications, but there are plenty more, depending on the complexities of the position and your company’s requirements. Last year, the FCC announced a tower climber apprenticeship training program, aimed at attracting younger job seekers to the industry. While many companies will help pay for your training, if this is something you know you are interested in, you can always seek out one of these programs on your own. Showing commitment and initiative always goes a long way toward supporting your value proposition in the eyes of a potential employer.
Working in the tower industry is never boring. If you’re looking for a Monday-to-Friday, nine-to-five job and all of your weekends off, you should probably be looking elsewhere. Depending on immediate needs, your day could start at the crack of dawn or even before, and end late. A ten-hour shift is not unusual, and often you will be on job sites that require a significant amount of travel and time away from home. Although it varies from job to job, you should expect on average to be on the road about 80 percent of the time if you are doing work for a carrier. If you are involved in local maintenance and repairs, that percentage might go down to about 20.
If you are interested in job opportunities in the tower industry, check out the telecom careers at towercrews.net, and start getting excited about what’s possible.
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