Feb. 20, 2020

Telecommunications Line Installers And Repairers Salary Review 2020

Telecom worker salaries by state


By Kevin Juhasz
For Jameson Tools

Which state is the best to be a telecom installer and repairer?

Among line installers and repairers, 1% growth in the telecommunications sector of the profession is projected through 2028.

There is a chance of higher growth as existing systems are upgraded to 5G, but how much higher remains to be seen. Knowing where the jobs are and which states offer higher wages is valuable. Jameson provides professional-grade telecom tools for cable pulling, locating, wiring, tree trimming and lighting. Consider this salary review as one more tool to help you get the best out of your career. 

The three states that employ the most workers are California, Texas, or New York, which employ more than 9,000 workers each, about a quarter of the nation’s telecommunications lineworkers. Other areas with strong numbers are the Northeast, Florida, and Illinois. As far as salaries go, the Northeast is the best for pay with Massachusetts, New York, New Jersey, and Vermont all placed in the top five.

Availability and salary aren’t the only considerations when deciding where to work and live. Cost of living is also a consideration. This is where living in the Northeast and the West Coast can present problems. Yes, the paycheck will be bigger, but it will take more work to find an affordable place to live, especially if you have a family.

Average salaries for telecommunications lineworkers can range anywhere from $30,00-$80,000. All of the areas where you’re likely to see a salary of $60,000 or higher are the areas that all have a high cost of living index, except two.

Coming in with high salaries and lower cost of living are the two states that top our list of best states to be a telecom lineworker: Illinois and West Virginia.  However, jobs in West Virginia can be hard to come by, which makes Illinois the top state for employment, wages and cost of living.

This list is meant to be a jumping off point to what might be best for your career. Once you’ve narrowed it down, there are numerous sources available online that can help you narrow down the choices. It’s important to explore further. This information is based upon data submitted by counties across the United States. Some of these counties will leave out employment numbers, salary figures, or both. Even though a state may have a low salary, there will be pockets where the pay is higher. In a state with high costs, you can find areas of better affordability.


Employment – Higher population, higher work is typically the norm in this industry. That means that you’re going to find most of the jobs in New York, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Maryland, and Virginia. West Virginia, Maine, and New Hampshire offer significantly less jobs, less than half of the region. Vermont, Delaware, and Rhode Island are even lower, offering just a handful of employment compared to the rest. Connecticut did not provide any job information.

Wages and Cost of Living –  The wages in this region are the best of any region in the nation, offering a range of anywhere of $50,000-$80,000 annually. The three states that pay in the lower portion of the range are Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Maine. Maine’s salary range is a nice surprise since salaries in Maine for other professions tend to mimic the lower end of the scale, similar to the South and Midwest. While a large chunk of the area has a high cost of living, there are areas that offer decent pay and decent salary. West Virginia is one of the higher salary states and has an excellent cost of living.


                                      Mean Wage                Cost of Living Index

Connecticut                   $62K-$80K                  127.7

Delaware                       $62K-$80K                  108.1

District of Columbia       $62K-$80K                  158.4

Maine                            $51K-$61K                  117.5

Massachusetts             $62K-$80K                   131.6

Maryland                      $62K-$80K                   129.7

New Hampshire           $62K-$80K                   109.7

New Jersey                 $62K-$80K                   125.1

New York                    $62K-$80K                   139.1

Pennsylvania              $51K-$61K                   101.7

Rhode Island              No Data                        119.4

Virginia                       $51K-$61K                   100.7

Vermont                     $62K-$80K                    114.5

West Virginia             $62K-$80K                     91.1


Employment – Florida and North Carolina are the only two states in this region that offer a solid amount of jobs. In the northern part of the region, as well as Louisiana, opportunities are slightly lower, but still good bets. The stretch from Arkansas to South Carolina are the lowest in the region, however, those states are better than several in the Midwest. Mississippi was the only state that declined to provide information on employment.

Wages and Cost of Living – The South is an area of low cost, but it’s also an area of low wages. With the exception of Nevada, Indiana, and Minnesota, the southern states are the lowest in the country.
Almost all of the states fall in the lowest range of salaries, with Tennessee and Kentucky going a little higher. Arkansas is tops in the area for salaries and has one of the best cost of living index numbers in the United States.

                                        Mean Wage              Cost of Living Index

Alabama                           $31K-$47K               89.3

Arkansas                          $51K-$61K               86.9

Florida                              $31K-$47K               97.9

Georgia                            $31K-$47K               89.2

Kentucky                          $48K-$51K               90.9

Louisiana                         $31K-$47K               93.9

Mississippi                       $31K-$47K               86.1

North Carolina                 $31K-$47K               94.9

South Carolina                $31K-$47K               95.9

Tennessee                      $48K-$51K               88.7


Employment – The Midwest is a very mixed area when it comes to the availability of jobs. Texas, which is ranked 2nd in the country, and Illinois are the only states in the region that rank high for employment. North Dakota and Iowa are the two states that provide the least amount of work. The remaining states in the area are more in the middle.

Wages and Cost of Living – With the exception of Illinois, no states in the Midwest are in the highest range of salaries. Minnesota is the only state that pays in the lowest range, which is unfortunate because it’s also the highest in the region as far as cost of living. All of the other states hover in the midrange of salaries, but Wisconsin provided no salary data for telecommunications lineworkers. The Midwest, like the south, is a cornucopia of affordable states, and this region doesn’t have the low wages.


Mean Wage
          Cost of Living Index

Illinois                                 $62K-$80K            94.5

Indiana                               $31K-$47K            90.0

Iowa                                   $51K-$61K             90.1

Kansas                              $51K-$61K             89.0

Michigan                            $48K-$51K             88.9

Minnesota                         $31K-$47K             101.6

Missouri                            $51K-$61K             87.1

Nebraska                         $48K-$51K              90.8

North Dakota                   $51K-$61K              98.8

Ohio                                $48K-$51K              90.8

Oklahoma                       $51K-$61K .            87.0

South Dakota                 $48K-$51K              99.8

Texas                             $48K-$51K              91.5

Wisconsin                      No Data                   97.2


Employment – The West is also a mixed area when it comes to job availability. The only state that offers high employment is California, the top employer in the nation for lineworkers. New Mexico, Montana, and Wyoming come up on the lower end of the job spectrum. Washington, Colorado, and Arizona are only slightly below California, and the area of Oregon, Idaho, Nevada, and Utah are a little below that.

Wages and Cost of Living – California is on top for jobs and wages for the region, but it’s also very high in the cost of living category, with only Hawaii and D.C. being higher. The only state on the bottom of the salary range is Nevada. Wyoming is the state with the best ratio, offering a salary higher than the majority of the West and one of the best on COLI. Of the states that pay in the middle range, New Mexico offers the best balance.



                                   Mean Wage           Cost of Living Index

Arizona                       $51K-$61K              96.9

California                    $62K-$80K             151.7

Colorado                     $48K-$51K             105.5

Idaho                          $48K-$51K              92.3

Montana                     $48K-$51K              106.9

Nevada                      $48K-$51K               108.5

New Mexico               $48K-$51K               87.4

Oregon                      $51K-$61K               134.2

Utah                          $48K-$51K                98.4

Washington              $51K-$61K                 110.7

Wyoming                  $51K-$61K                  89.3

Alaska and Hawaii

Employment – Both Alaska and Hawaii come in on the lowest end of the spectrum. Hawaii simply isn’t that big, and Alaska is lower in population and it’s all very concentrated. The majority of jobs are in the Anchorage, Fairbanks, and Juneau areas. Hawaii’s employment is spread pretty evenly over all the islands.

Wages and Cost of Living – Both of the states are in the high pay range, but costs can be steep in both states, especially Hawaii, the nation’s most expensive state. Alaska’s cost are more in line with those found on the East Coast.

                             Mean Wages         Cost of Living Index

Alaska                  $62K-$80K             129.9

Hawaii                  $62K-$80K             192.9


Sources: Mean Wages – Bureau of Labor and Statistics

Cost of Living Index – Council for Community and Economic Research

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