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Summary Report for:
43-2011.00 - Switchboard Operators, Including Answering Service

Operate telephone business systems equipment or switchboards to relay incoming, outgoing, and interoffice calls. May supply information to callers and record messages.

Sample of reported job titles: CBX Operator; Communication Specialist; Information Specialist; Operator; PBX Operator (Private Branch Exchange Operator); Switchboard Operator; Switchboard Operator, Receptionist; Telecommunications Clerk; Telecommunications Operator; Telephone Operator

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Tasks  |  Tools & Technology  |  Knowledge  |  Skills  |  Abilities  |  Work Activities  |  Detailed Work Activities  |  Work Context  |  Job Zone  |  Education  |  Credentials  |  Interests  |  Work Styles  |  Work Values  |  Related Occupations  |  Wages & Employment  |  Job Openings

Tasks

  • Answer incoming calls, greeting callers, providing information, transferring calls or taking messages as necessary. See more occupations related to this task.
  • Operate communication systems, such as telephone, switchboard, intercom, two-way radio, or public address. See more occupations related to this task.
  • Page individuals to inform them of telephone calls, using paging or interoffice communication equipment. See more occupations related to this task.
  • Relay or route written or verbal messages. See more occupations related to this task.
  • Place telephone calls or arrange conference calls as instructed. See more occupations related to this task.
  • Perform various data entry or word processing tasks, such as updating phone directories, typing or proofreading documents, or creating schedules. See more occupations related to this task.
  • Process incoming or outgoing mail, packages, or deliveries. See more occupations related to this task.
  • Perform administrative tasks, such as accepting orders, scheduling appointments or meeting rooms, or sending and receiving faxes. See more occupations related to this task.
  • Record messages, suggesting rewording for clarity or conciseness. See more occupations related to this task.
  • Monitor alarm systems to ensure that secure conditions are maintained. See more occupations related to this task.
  • Monitor emergency and code alarms, make emergency announcements, or route emergency calls to the appropriate location. See more occupations related to this task.
  • Greet visitors, log them in and out of the facility, assign them security badges, and contact employee escorts. See more occupations related to this task.
  • Answer simple questions about clients' businesses, using reference files. See more occupations related to this task.
  • Keep records of calls placed and charges incurred. See more occupations related to this task.
  • Stamp messages with time and date and file them appropriately. See more occupations related to this task.
  • Complete forms for sales orders. See more occupations related to this task.
  • Contact security staff members when necessary, using radio-telephones. See more occupations related to this task.
  • Perform various cash handling tasks, such as collecting payments, making bank deposits, or managing petty cash. See more occupations related to this task.
  • Place orders, such as for equipment, supplies, or catering for meetings. See more occupations related to this task.

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Tools & Technology

Tools used in this occupation:

  • Alarm systems — Alarm system monitors See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Inkjet printers — Computer inkjet printers See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Intercom systems — Intercom equipment See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Laser fax machine — Laser facsimile machines See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Paging controllers — Paging systems See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Personal computers See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Phone headsets — Telephone headsets See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Photocopiers — Copy machines See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Premise branch exchange PBX systems — Premise branch exchange PBX equipment; Telephone switchboards See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Public address systems — Public address PA systems See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Special purpose telephones — Multiline telephone systems See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Two way radios — Mobile radios; Radiotelephones See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Video monitors — Video surveillance monitors See more occupations related to this tool.

Technology used in this occupation:

  • Electronic mail software — IBM Notes; Microsoft Outlook See more occupations related to this technology.
  • Enterprise resource planning ERP software — SAP software See more occupations related to this technology.
  • Presentation software — Microsoft PowerPoint See more occupations related to this technology.
  • Spreadsheet software — Microsoft Excel See more occupations related to this technology.
  • Word processing software — Microsoft Word See more occupations related to this technology.

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Knowledge

  • Customer and Personal Service — Knowledge of principles and processes for providing customer and personal services. This includes customer needs assessment, meeting quality standards for services, and evaluation of customer satisfaction. See more occupations related to this knowledge.
  • English Language — Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar. See more occupations related to this knowledge.
  • Telecommunications — Knowledge of transmission, broadcasting, switching, control, and operation of telecommunications systems. See more occupations related to this knowledge.
  • Clerical — Knowledge of administrative and clerical procedures and systems such as word processing, managing files and records, stenography and transcription, designing forms, and other office procedures and terminology. See more occupations related to this knowledge.
  • Computers and Electronics — Knowledge of circuit boards, processors, chips, electronic equipment, and computer hardware and software, including applications and programming. See more occupations related to this knowledge.
  • Administration and Management — Knowledge of business and management principles involved in strategic planning, resource allocation, human resources modeling, leadership technique, production methods, and coordination of people and resources. See more occupations related to this knowledge.

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Skills

  • Speaking — Talking to others to convey information effectively. See more occupations related to this skill.
  • 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. See more occupations related to this skill.
  • Social Perceptiveness — Being aware of others' reactions and understanding why they react as they do. See more occupations related to this skill.
  • Reading Comprehension — Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents. See more occupations related to this skill.
  • Service Orientation — Actively looking for ways to help people. See more occupations related to this skill.
  • Writing — Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience. See more occupations related to this skill.

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Abilities

  • Oral Comprehension — The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences. See more occupations related to this ability.
  • Oral Expression — The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand. See more occupations related to this ability.
  • Speech Recognition — The ability to identify and understand the speech of another person. See more occupations related to this ability.
  • Speech Clarity — The ability to speak clearly so others can understand you. See more occupations related to this ability.
  • Near Vision — The ability to see details at close range (within a few feet of the observer). See more occupations related to this ability.
  • Written Expression — The ability to communicate information and ideas in writing so others will understand. See more occupations related to this ability.
  • Deductive Reasoning — The ability to apply general rules to specific problems to produce answers that make sense. See more occupations related to this ability.
  • Inductive Reasoning — The ability to combine pieces of information to form general rules or conclusions (includes finding a relationship among seemingly unrelated events). See more occupations related to this ability.
  • Information Ordering — The ability to arrange things or actions in a certain order or pattern according to a specific rule or set of rules (e.g., patterns of numbers, letters, words, pictures, mathematical operations). See more occupations related to this ability.
  • Selective Attention — The ability to concentrate on a task over a period of time without being distracted. See more occupations related to this ability.
  • Written Comprehension — The ability to read and understand information and ideas presented in writing. See more occupations related to this ability.

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Work Activities

  • Interacting With Computers — Using computers and computer systems (including hardware and software) to program, write software, set up functions, enter data, or process information. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Getting Information — Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Communicating with Persons Outside Organization — Communicating with people outside the organization, representing the organization to customers, the public, government, and other external sources. This information can be exchanged in person, in writing, or by telephone or e-mail. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates — Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Documenting/Recording Information — Entering, transcribing, recording, storing, or maintaining information in written or electronic/magnetic form. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships — Developing constructive and cooperative working relationships with others, and maintaining them over time. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Performing for or Working Directly with the Public — Performing for people or dealing directly with the public. This includes serving customers in restaurants and stores, and receiving clients or guests. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Processing Information — Compiling, coding, categorizing, calculating, tabulating, auditing, or verifying information or data. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events — Identifying information by categorizing, estimating, recognizing differences or similarities, and detecting changes in circumstances or events. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Monitor Processes, Materials, or Surroundings — Monitoring and reviewing information from materials, events, or the environment, to detect or assess problems. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Assisting and Caring for Others — Providing personal assistance, medical attention, emotional support, or other personal care to others such as coworkers, customers, or patients. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Making Decisions and Solving Problems — Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge — Keeping up-to-date technically and applying new knowledge to your job. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Organizing, Planning, and Prioritizing Work — Developing specific goals and plans to prioritize, organize, and accomplish your work. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Evaluating Information to Determine Compliance with Standards — Using relevant information and individual judgment to determine whether events or processes comply with laws, regulations, or standards. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Resolving Conflicts and Negotiating with Others — Handling complaints, settling disputes, and resolving grievances and conflicts, or otherwise negotiating with others. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Performing Administrative Activities — Performing day-to-day administrative tasks such as maintaining information files and processing paperwork. See more occupations related to this activity.

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Detailed Work Activities

  • Execute sales or other financial transactions. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Collect deposits, payments or fees. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Prepare cash for deposit or disbursement. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Proofread documents, records, or other files to ensure accuracy. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Answer telephones to direct calls or provide information. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Operate communications equipment or systems. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Greet customers, patrons, or visitors. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Order materials, supplies, or equipment. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Maintain security. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Prepare documentation for contracts, transactions, or regulatory compliance. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Maintain call records. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Schedule appointments. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Sort mail. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Type documents. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Monitor alarm systems. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Relay information between personnel. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • File documents or records. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Refer customers to appropriate personnel. See more occupations related to this activity.

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Work Context

  • Contact With Others — 91% responded “Constant contact with others.” See more occupations related to this work context.
  • Telephone — 93% responded “Every day.” See more occupations related to this work context.
  • Deal With External Customers — 86% responded “Extremely important.” See more occupations related to this work context.
  • Spend Time Sitting — 67% responded “Continually or almost continually.” See more occupations related to this work context.
  • Frequency of Decision Making — 81% responded “Every day.” See more occupations related to this work context.
  • Importance of Being Exact or Accurate — 59% responded “Extremely important.” See more occupations related to this work context.
  • Impact of Decisions on Co-workers or Company Results — 67% responded “Very important results.” See more occupations related to this work context.
  • Work With Work Group or Team — 57% responded “Extremely important.” See more occupations related to this work context.
  • Face-to-Face Discussions — 67% responded “Every day.” See more occupations related to this work context.
  • Deal With Unpleasant or Angry People — 39% responded “Once a week or more but not every day.” See more occupations related to this work context.
  • Importance of Repeating Same Tasks — 43% responded “Very important.” See more occupations related to this work context.
  • Indoors, Environmentally Controlled — 73% responded “Every day.” See more occupations related to this work context.
  • Spend Time Making Repetitive Motions — 39% responded “Continually or almost continually.” See more occupations related to this work context.
  • Structured versus Unstructured Work — 43% responded “A lot of freedom.” See more occupations related to this work context.
  • Freedom to Make Decisions — 48% responded “Some freedom.” See more occupations related to this work context.
  • Electronic Mail — 63% responded “Every day.” See more occupations related to this work context.
  • Physical Proximity — 38% responded “Slightly close (e.g., shared office).” See more occupations related to this work context.
  • Frequency of Conflict Situations — 34% responded “Once a week or more but not every day.” See more occupations related to this work context.
  • Letters and Memos — 45% responded “Once a week or more but not every day.” See more occupations related to this work context.
  • Spend Time Using Your Hands to Handle, Control, or Feel Objects, Tools, or Controls — 42% responded “Continually or almost continually.” See more occupations related to this work context.
  • Time Pressure — 40% responded “Once a month or more but not every week.” See more occupations related to this work context.
  • Coordinate or Lead Others — 26% responded “Extremely important.” See more occupations related to this work context.

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Job Zone

Title Job Zone Two: Some Preparation Needed
Education These occupations usually require a high school diploma.
Related Experience Some previous work-related skill, knowledge, or experience is usually needed. For example, a teller would benefit from experience working directly with the public.
Job Training Employees in these occupations need anywhere from a few months to one year of working with experienced employees. A recognized apprenticeship program may be associated with these occupations.
Job Zone Examples These occupations often involve using your knowledge and skills to help others. Examples include sheet metal workers, forest fire fighters, customer service representatives, physical therapist aides, salespersons (retail), and tellers.
SVP Range (4.0 to < 6.0)

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Education


Percentage of Respondents
Education Level Required
59   High school diploma or equivalent Help
24   Some college, no degree
6   Associate's degree

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Credentials

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Interests

Interest code: CES

  • Conventional — Conventional occupations frequently involve following set procedures and routines. These occupations can include working with data and details more than with ideas. Usually there is a clear line of authority to follow. See more occupations related to this interest.
  • Enterprising — Enterprising occupations frequently involve starting up and carrying out projects. These occupations can involve leading people and making many decisions. Sometimes they require risk taking and often deal with business. See more occupations related to this interest.
  • Social — Social occupations frequently involve working with, communicating with, and teaching people. These occupations often involve helping or providing service to others. See more occupations related to this interest.

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Work Styles

  • Dependability — Job requires being reliable, responsible, and dependable, and fulfilling obligations. See more occupations related to this work style.
  • Integrity — Job requires being honest and ethical. See more occupations related to this work style.
  • Self Control — Job requires maintaining composure, keeping emotions in check, controlling anger, and avoiding aggressive behavior, even in very difficult situations. See more occupations related to this work style.
  • Cooperation — Job requires being pleasant with others on the job and displaying a good-natured, cooperative attitude. See more occupations related to this work style.
  • Concern for Others — Job requires being sensitive to others' needs and feelings and being understanding and helpful on the job. See more occupations related to this work style.
  • Attention to Detail — Job requires being careful about detail and thorough in completing work tasks. See more occupations related to this work style.
  • Stress Tolerance — Job requires accepting criticism and dealing calmly and effectively with high stress situations. See more occupations related to this work style.
  • Independence — Job requires developing one's own ways of doing things, guiding oneself with little or no supervision, and depending on oneself to get things done. See more occupations related to this work style.
  • Adaptability/Flexibility — Job requires being open to change (positive or negative) and to considerable variety in the workplace. See more occupations related to this work style.
  • Social Orientation — Job requires preferring to work with others rather than alone, and being personally connected with others on the job. See more occupations related to this work style.
  • Initiative — Job requires a willingness to take on responsibilities and challenges. See more occupations related to this work style.
  • Achievement/Effort — Job requires establishing and maintaining personally challenging achievement goals and exerting effort toward mastering tasks. See more occupations related to this work style.
  • Persistence — Job requires persistence in the face of obstacles. See more occupations related to this work style.
  • Analytical Thinking — Job requires analyzing information and using logic to address work-related issues and problems. See more occupations related to this work style.
  • Leadership — Job requires a willingness to lead, take charge, and offer opinions and direction. See more occupations related to this work style.

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Work Values

  • Relationships — Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to provide service to others and work with co-workers in a friendly non-competitive environment. Corresponding needs are Co-workers, Moral Values and Social Service. See more occupations related to this work value.
  • Support — Occupations that satisfy this work value offer supportive management that stands behind employees. Corresponding needs are Company Policies, Supervision: Human Relations and Supervision: Technical. See more occupations related to this work value.
  • Independence — Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to work on their own and make decisions. Corresponding needs are Creativity, Responsibility and Autonomy. See more occupations related to this work value.

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Related Occupations

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Wages & Employment Trends

Median wages (2014) $12.77 hourly, $26,550 annual
State wages Local Salary Info
 
Employment (2012) 131,000 employees
Projected growth (2012-2022) Decline (-3% or lower) Decline (-3% or lower)
Projected job openings (2012-2022) 24,100
State trends Employment Trends
 
Top industries (2012)

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics 2014 wage data external site and 2012-2022 employment projections external site. "Projected growth" represents the estimated change in total employment over the projections period (2012-2022). "Projected job openings" represent openings due to growth and replacement.

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Job Openings on the Web

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