20 Mar How to Become a Certified Tower Climber
Tower climbers are professional technicians who perform inspections, maintenance and repair work on guyed, monopole and self-supporting towers and other tower systems. There are several types of tower climber jobs, such as working on broadcast (television), radio towers, wireless internet service providers (WISP) or cell phone and microwave relay towers.
What Do Tower Climbers Do?
Tower climbers perform installation, regular inspections / tests, and maintenance of antennas or other transmitter systems. The climbing component is only one aspect of the job. A professional tower climber is expected to be skilled in communications technology, cable splicing and more. Tower climbers for cell phone companies such as AT&T and Verizon should also know the industry standard wiring methods for equipment.
Some tower climber jobs involve lifting and hauling heavy objects and tools up to the proper installation height on the tower. Those specialized tower climbers are known as riggers.
Tower Climber Training and Certification
As tower climbing jobs entail at-height risks, proper training programs and compliance with OSHA regulations are required by tower companies. These skills can be learned through, basic Competent Climber (Fall Protection) training, Advanced Tower Climber (Fall Protection) Training, Climber Rescue, EME (RF) Awareness, CPR, Emergency Planning, and more.
If you are new to the industry, then getting certified as a basic Competent Climber can be a great step to take as it not only provides fundamental knowledge / techniques, but also shows initiative and a commitment to working in this industry. Keep in mind that, although the skills learned are portable, the certification generally is not, contact one of our expert training advisors to learn more.
Unlike most Competent Tower Climbing Training that lasts two days, Safety One Training provides the option to get certified by the industry leading experts in only ONE day. So check us out if you are planning on getting certification (or getting re-certified) in the near future.
What to Expect as a Tower Climber?
Many tower climbers have a background in rock climbing and enjoy working outdoors. These traits are essential as your job is often 200 to 500 feet above the ground when in the field, and you will face all kinds of weather, including rain, snow, wind and extreme temperatures.
Frequent Traveling Schedule
Travel is often a big component of a tower climber job. Here is a rough breakdown of travel percentage between different types of tower jobs:
- 80% of travel anticipated, if you work for a carrier
- 50% of travel anticipated, if you work on broadcast towers
- 20% of travel anticipated, if you do local maintenance and repair
Good Physical Condition
Although tower climbers do not need to look like Arnold Schwarzenegger, you must be in good physical condition. The nature of tower climbing is tough to begin with. Tower technicians work at height for hours at a time and must have the strength and energy to make it safely back to the ground when the work is finished. Don’t forget, the equipment needed to complete a job must be brought to the site, either on the climber’s harness or through various hoisting options – this equipment can add 100 pounds or more to the load.
Safety Equipment and Climbing Gear
OSHA regulations require employers to provide personal protection equipment (PPE), which includes safety harnesses, helmet/hard hat, ropes, and other equipment for climbing the tower safely. All tower climbers must undergo training to learn safe climbing / controlled descent practices, as well as skills / knowledge to deal with emergency and / or rescue situations, as a fall from a tower can result in significant injury and even death.
Enjoy the View on Top of the Towers
One of the best perks, according to many elite tower climbers, is the breathtaking view from the top and the satisfaction of a job well done. Below are just a few examples of the gravity-defying photos taken on top of towers:
“In some ways, climbing in the clouds is comforting. You can no longer see how high off the ground you are.”