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What Does it Take to Be a Telephone Operator?

Career Description Provide information by accessing alphabetical, geographical, or other directories. Assist customers with special billing requests, such as charges to a third party and credits or refunds for incorrectly dialed numbers or bad connections. May handle emergency calls and assist children or people with physical disabilities to make telephone calls.

What Do Telephone Operators Do On a Daily Basis?

  • Interrupt busy lines if an emergency warrants.
  • Suggest and check alternate spellings, locations, or listing formats to customers lacking details or complete information.
  • Listen to customer requests, referring to alphabetical or geographical directories to answer questions and provide telephone information.
  • Keep records of calls placed and received, and of related toll charges.
  • Consult charts to determine charges for pay-telephone calls, requesting coin deposits for calls as necessary.
  • Operate telephone switchboards and systems to advance and complete connections, including those for local, long distance, pay telephone, mobile, person-to-person, and emergency calls.

Skills Needed to be a Telephone Operator

Below is a list of the skills most Telephone Operators say are important on the job.

Active Listening: Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.

Speaking: Talking to others to convey information effectively.

Service Orientation: Actively looking for ways to help people.

Social Perceptiveness: Being aware of others’ reactions and understanding why they react as they do.

Reading Comprehension: Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.

Critical Thinking: Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.

Types of Telephone Operator

  • Customer Service Assistant
  • Information Specialist
  • Service Assistant
  • Telecommunications Operator
  • Local Operator

Job Outlook for Telephone Operators

In 2016, there was an estimated number of 9,100 jobs in the United States for Telephone Operator. There is little to no growth in job opportunities for Telephone Operator. Due to new job openings and attrition, there will be an average of 900 job openings in this field each year.

Forecasted Number of Jobs for Telephone Operators in U.S.

The states with the most job growth for Telephone Operator are Alaska, Utah, and Idaho. Watch out if you plan on working in Delaware, Tennessee, or New Jersey. These states have the worst job growth for this type of profession.

Salary for a Telephone Operator

The average yearly salary of a Telephone Operator ranges between $23,160 and $60,610.

Salary Ranges for Telephone Operators

Telephone Operators who work in New York, Hawaii, or District of Columbia, make the highest salaries.

How much do Telephone Operators make in each U.S. state?

State Annual Mean Salary
Arizona $35,510
California $41,900
Connecticut $44,010
District of Columbia $44,150
Florida $32,020
Georgia $33,860
Hawaii $44,040
Illinois $40,150
Indiana $40,590
Iowa $29,880
Louisiana $33,040
Maryland $36,790
Massachusetts $36,570
Michigan $28,610
Minnesota $39,470
Missouri $31,950
Nevada $31,110
New York $48,270
Ohio $35,750
Pennsylvania $39,040
Tennessee $27,610
Texas $34,410
Virginia $43,480

What Tools & Technology do Telephone Operators Use?

Below is a list of the types of tools and technologies that Telephone Operators may use on a daily basis:

  • Microsoft Excel
  • Microsoft Word
  • Microsoft Office
  • Microsoft Outlook
  • Data entry software
  • Word processing software
  • Microsoft Windows
  • Handheld computer device software
  • Computer aided dispatch software

How to Become a Telephone Operator

Are there Telephone Operators education requirements?

Telephone Operator Degree Level

What work experience do I need to become a Telephone Operator?

Telephone Operator Work Experience

Where do Telephone Operators Work?

Telephone Operator Sectors

The table below shows the approximate number of Telephone Operators employed by various industries.

Telephone Operator Industries

Other Jobs You May be Interested In

Those thinking about becoming a Telephone Operator might also be interested in the following careers:

References:

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More about our data sources and methodologies.

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