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STCC to Offer Training in Fiber Optics

SPRINGFIELD — Make a phone call. Check your email. Watch a show on cable TV. What do these three every-day activities have in common? Fiber optics.

Modern telephones, Internet, and cable television are connected to fiber optic cables, which can ferry much more information than old-fashioned copper wires. Due to the growing demand for optical fibers, the telecommunications industry needs certified fiber optic technicians to install, maintain and repair its vast networks. And to help meet the demand for employees in this growing field, Springfield Technical Community College offers affordable training.

The college has been running a Certified Fiber Optics Technician Course for the past several years. The next three-part introductory course takes place Sept. 12, 13 and 14 between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m.

Designed for anyone interested in becoming a certified fiber optic technician, the introductory course is a combination of theory (15%) and hands-on activities (85%). Students will take the certified fiber optic technician test sanctioned by the Fiber Optics Association and given and graded the final class day. Students must pass the test to become certified. Interested individuals will need just a few basic requirements to enroll: Basic working knowledge of computers; ability to see and identify small items (an optical fiber is only a little thicker than the diameter of a strand of human hair); and ability to speak and understand English fluently.

Those who obtain certification may be qualified to install and repair telecommunications cable, including fiber optics. Massachusetts is a top-paying state for telecommunications line installers and repairers, with an annual average wage of $74,430 as of May 2015, according to the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics.

STCC works with Bob Ballard, the owner of BDI Datalynk, a company that trains fiber optic technicians and delivers the classes.

STCC also offers more complex courses on Sept. 15 and 16 (Certified Fiber Optics Specialist in Testing & Maintenance) and on Sept. 17 and 18 (Certified Fiber Optics Splicing Specialist Course). For more information, visit http://www.stcc.edu/wd/descriptions/ZTEC-120.asp.

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