TELEPHONE OPERATORS help customers making telephone calls. Many tasks are automated; however, callers still need a local or long-distance operator for placing person-to-person calls or interrupting busy lines in the event of an emergency. Directory assistance operators provide callers with information such as telephone numbers or area codes. Switchboard operators work for a wide variety of organizations, such as hotels, hospitals, and other businesses.
Salary, Size & Growth
- $36,500 average per year ($17.50 per hour)
- A large occupation (156,800 workers in 2010)
- Expected to decline (1.0% per year)
TELEPHONE OPERATORS receive their training on the job from the employer, experienced workers, or manufacturers of the switch board equipment. Training usually lasts several weeks. Classroom instruction lasts up to three weeks and is followed by on-the-job training. Employers generally require telephone operators to have a high school diploma. High school courses in speech, office practices, and business math will be helpful. Computer literacy and typing skills are important. Fluency in a foreign language is also an asset because of the increasing diversity of the population. Telephone operators need no license or certificate.