What Does a Fiber Optic Splicer Do?

Fiber optic splicers install, maintain, and repair fiber optic cabling, such as for phones, internet, or television, or other telecommunications cabling. As a fiber optic splicer, also referred to as a telecommunications line installer and repairer, you install aerial and underground cabling, pull it through a conduit, and set up other necessary equipment for service. Your primary responsibilities are to ensure that all cabling is connected properly to prevent any data loss or failed connections. Other duties may include helping customers to set up new service, consulting with construction crews, and troubleshooting problems on existing network lines.

How to Become a Fiber Optic Splicer

To become a fiber optic splicer, you typically need at least a high school diploma or GED certificate and relevant experience. However, fiber optic cabling is complex and uses light to transmit data, so splicers need special skills to manage and install the cabling. Many candidates pursue extensive on-the-job training to gain these skills, and some telecommunications employers encourage line splicers to attend specialized training programs run by equipment manufacturing companies. In addition to expanding your expertise through training, you may also pursue voluntary certifications by The Fiber Optic Association to help boost your career prospects.

What Tools and Equipment Do Fiber Optic Splicers Use?

Because fiber optic cabling is made of glass, you must understand how to use advanced equipment to handle it correctly. The preferred method of splicing fiber optic cable is to use arc fusion splicing. With this method, you use an electrical arc to melt the ends of two pieces of cable together. To do this, you use a precision cleaver to cut the ends. You then use a magnifying screen to ensure the cuts and fusion are precise. Finally, you use a splicer, which gives off an electric spark, to heat the cabling to the temperature at which glass melts.

What Characteristics Do Successful Fiber Optic Splicers Have?

Successful fiber optic splicers have keen attention to detail to precisely measure and splice fiber optic cable and not lose data across connections. You also need mechanical aptitude, analytical problem-solving skills, and knowledge of the fundamentals of electrical and optical engineering. Because you are using complex equipment that creates high temperatures, you must also be able to follow occupational safety standards.

Above all, these technicians are in high demand across the United States due to the high need of fiber optical cable. The benefits of becoming a Fiber Optical Splicer include:

Benefits of Fiber Splicing

  • Majority of positions available offer on the job training for new employees
  • Great wages where you begin at $16/hr and can easily obtain $20-30/hr
  • Ability to consistently obtain new education and certification that helps your career growth
  • Learn a unique field of study that combines science and telecommunication to create better broadband infrastructure
  • Learn equipment like the Optical Time Delayed Reflectometer to troubleshoot fiber systems
  • Be on the front lines of the telecommunications evolution to fiber

Overall Responsibilities of a Fiber Splicing Technician

Fiber Optic Splicing Technicians master the equipment, tools and technology necessary to splice fine loose tube and ribbon fiber optic cable that is used in the construction of fiber to home, business and commercial sites. As an apprentice, your goal will be to jump in and learn the trade inside and out, becoming a Master Fiber Optic Splicing Technician:

You will learn and understand these principles to Fiber Splicing:

  • Installation, repair and testing of fiber and the different components
  • Understand how to splice loose tube and ribbon fiber in compliance with modern standards
  • Understand how to connect and configure Fiber Optic networks for facilities while also troubleshooting occurring problems
  • Understand how to interpret work orders and prints to determine what is required per project
  • Master the use of splicing technology such as OTDRs, VFL, OLTS
  • Learn the techniques for fusion splicing, termination and OSP installation
  • Learn to work with a team of Splicers to accomplish deadlines and fiber needs

Job Qualifications you will learn a long the way as a Fiber Optical Splicer

As an apprentice, you will obtain initial certifications then learn on the job with experienced Splicers. The senior technician on your team will look and verify your skill level in these areas:

  • Learn the lingo and acronym such as OTDR (Optical time-domain reflectometer)
  • Learn the telecommunications space inside and out from fiber to home, outside plant, engineering, construction and operation
  • Become skilled in fiber optic splicing, testing, repair and common industry trends and compliance
  • Know the differences between loose tube and ribbon fiber optic cable
  • Understand how to correlate information from an OTDR for testing/reporting
  • Learn and become proficient in reading schematics, reports and plans
  • Ability to work outdoors, in splicing labs and other environments

Requirements needed to become a Fiber Splicer Apprentice:

    • Clean background and driver’s license history
    • Mechanical experience in some form is a plus (auto, telecom, electrical, plumbing, military experience)
    • Ability to travel up to 75% of the time