What Is a Communications Equipment Operator?

Explore the career requirements for communications equipment operator. Get the facts about the training and certification requirements, career outlook and salary to determine if this is the right career for you. Schools offering Electronics Technology degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Career Information At a Glance

A communication equipment operator can work in a variety of roles, including as a dispatcher, front desk clerk, emergency dispatcher or receptionist. Most operators use telephones and computer equipment to answer questions and troubleshoot problems. The table below outlines the general requirements for a career as a forensic science technician.

Training Required Most employers require on-the-job training
Certification Certification required in some states (for emergency dispatcher jobs)
Key Responsibilities Answer customer service calls, direct incoming calls to proper department, dispatch emergency calls, greet building visitors
Job Outlook (2012-2022) 12.9% decline in employment*
Average Salary (2014) $41,600*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Are My Career Choices as an Communication Equipment Operator?

Communication equipment operators may work as dispatchers, front desk clerks, emergency dispatchers and receptionists. Operators use telephone and computer equipment to assist others with questions or problems.

Non-emergency dispatchers may work for telephone companies, businesses or trucking companies. Telephone company dispatcher may offer directory assistance and assist customers. Business telephone system dispatchers may answer and direct calls. Truck company dispatchers may provide work instructions to drivers and manage drivers through radio contact.

Larger hotels and resorts may use communication equipment operators to answer customer service calls and book reservations. Often, operators are located at a corporate call center and handle inquiries from around the world. Hotel, motels and resorts often have communication equipment operators on-staff as well, answering the phones and directing calls to the proper department. In some instances, front desk clerks may double as operators handling incoming calls, as well as greeting and registering guests.

Emergency dispatchers handle incoming calls from the public regarding emergency situations and dispatch the correct emergency personnel to the scene. Dispatchers work with law enforcement, fire and emergency medical personnel.

Receptionists work in businesses, greeting people as they enter the building, directing them to the correct office or location within the business and answering the phone. As a receptionist, you may also offer information to visitors, handle mail and monitor visitors in the building.

What Training Do I Need?

Most of communication equipment operator positions require no formal education. Employers usually provide on-the-job training, which will teach you about company procedures, equipment operation and job duties. You may need previous experience in customer service for some positions.

Employers of emergency dispatchers may offer more formal on-the-job training, covering legal matters, medical terminology and emergency codes. In some states, you may need to be certified to work as an emergency dispatcher.

What Is the Job Outlook for This Field?

The general job outlook for communications equipment operators, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), saw a decrease in job growth of 12.9% from 2012-2022 (www.bls.gov). However, the BLS reported some careers that combine other responsibilities beyond answering phone calls did see job growth during this same period. Front desk clerks saw a 14% increase in job growth and emergency dispatchers saw a job growth of 8%. In addition, receptionists saw a 14% job growth.

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