Skip navigation

Summary Report for:
43-2021.00 - Telephone Operators

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.

Sample of reported job titles: 411 Directory Assistance Operator, Customer Service Assistant, Directory Assistance Operator, Information Specialist, Live Source Operator, Long Distance Operator (LD Operator), Operator, Telecommunications Operator, Telephone Operator, Toll Operator

View report: Summary  Details  Custom

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

Tasks

  • Listen to customer requests, referring to alphabetical or geographical directories to answer questions and provide telephone information. See more occupations related to this task.
  • Suggest and check alternate spellings, locations, or listing formats to customers lacking details or complete information. See more occupations related to this task.
  • Offer special assistance to persons such as those who are unable to dial or who are in emergency situations. See more occupations related to this task.
  • Observe signal lights on switchboards, and dial or press buttons to make connections. See more occupations related to this task.
  • 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. See more occupations related to this task.
  • Provide assistance for customers with special billing requests. See more occupations related to this task.
  • Calculate and quote charges for services such as long-distance connections. See more occupations related to this task.
  • Monitor automated systems for placing collect calls and intervene for a callers needing assistance. See more occupations related to this task.
  • Perform clerical duties such as typing, proofreading, and sorting mail. See more occupations related to this task.
  • Consult charts to determine charges for pay-telephone calls, requesting coin deposits for calls as necessary. See more occupations related to this task.
  • Interrupt busy lines if an emergency warrants. See more occupations related to this task.
  • Provide relay service for hearing-impaired users. See more occupations related to this task.
  • Promote company products, services, and savings plans when appropriate. See more occupations related to this task.
  • Operate paging systems or other systems of bells or buzzers to notify recipients of incoming calls. See more occupations related to this task.
  • Update directory information. See more occupations related to this task.
  • Keep records of calls placed and received, and of related toll charges. See more occupations related to this task.

Find occupations related to multiple tasks

back to top

Tools & Technology

Tools used in this occupation:

  • Alarm systems — Alarm system monitors See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Desktop calculator — 10-key calculators See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Digital telephones — Voice over Internet Protocol VoIP systems See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Laser fax machine — Laser facsimile machines See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Laser printers — Computer laser printers 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.
  • Special purpose telephones — Multiline telephone systems; Secure voice equipment See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Two way radios — Mobile radios See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Typewriters — Electric typewriters See more occupations related to this tool.

Technology used in this occupation:

  • Data base user interface and query software — Data entry software See more occupations related to this technology.
  • Electronic mail software — Microsoft Outlook See more occupations related to this technology.
  • Office suite software — Microsoft Office software See more occupations related to this technology.
  • Spreadsheet software — Microsoft Excel See more occupations related to this technology.
  • Video conferencing software — Video conference software See more occupations related to this technology.
  • Word processing software — Microsoft Word See more occupations related to this technology.

back to top

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.
  • Communications and Media — Knowledge of media production, communication, and dissemination techniques and methods. This includes alternative ways to inform and entertain via written, oral, and visual media. See more occupations related to this knowledge.

back to top

Skills

  • 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.
  • Speaking — Talking to others to convey information effectively. See more occupations related to this skill.
  • Service Orientation — Actively looking for ways to help people. 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.
  • Critical Thinking — Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems. 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.

back to top

Abilities

  • Oral Expression — The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand. See more occupations related to this ability.
  • 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.
  • Speech Clarity — The ability to speak clearly so others can understand you. 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.
  • Written Comprehension — The ability to read and understand information and ideas presented in writing. 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.
  • Problem Sensitivity — The ability to tell when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong. It does not involve solving the problem, only recognizing there is a problem. See more occupations related to this ability.

back to top

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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Getting Information — Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources. 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.
  • Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge — Keeping up-to-date technically and applying new knowledge to your job. 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.
  • Processing Information — Compiling, coding, categorizing, calculating, tabulating, auditing, or verifying information or data. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Interpreting the Meaning of Information for Others — Translating or explaining what information means and how it can be used. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Developing and Building Teams — Encouraging and building mutual trust, respect, and cooperation among team members. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Analyzing Data or Information — Identifying the underlying principles, reasons, or facts of information by breaking down information or data into separate parts. 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.
  • Judging the Qualities of Things, Services, or People — Assessing the value, importance, or quality of things or people. 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.
  • Developing Objectives and Strategies — Establishing long-range objectives and specifying the strategies and actions to achieve them. 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.

back to top

Detailed Work Activities

  • Enter information into databases or software programs. 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.
  • Assist disabled or incapacitated individuals. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Maintain call records. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Calculate costs of goods or services. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Search files, databases or reference materials to obtain needed information. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Promote products, services, or programs. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Sort mail. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Discuss account status or activity with customers or patrons. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Assist individuals with paperwork. See more occupations related to this activity.

Find occupations related to multiple detailed work activities

back to top

Work Context

  • Spend Time Sitting — 98% responded “Continually or almost continually.” See more occupations related to this work context.
  • Telephone — 100% responded “Every day.” See more occupations related to this work context.
  • Deal With Unpleasant or Angry People — 96% responded “Every day.” See more occupations related to this work context.
  • Contact With Others — 97% responded “Constant contact with others.” See more occupations related to this work context.
  • Importance of Repeating Same Tasks — 94% responded “Extremely important.” See more occupations related to this work context.
  • Deal With External Customers — 84% responded “Extremely important.” See more occupations related to this work context.
  • Frequency of Decision Making — 95% responded “Every day.” See more occupations related to this work context.
  • Importance of Being Exact or Accurate — 73% responded “Extremely important.” See more occupations related to this work context.
  • Indoors, Environmentally Controlled — 87% responded “Every day.” 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.
  • Spend Time Making Repetitive Motions — 83% responded “Continually or almost continually.” See more occupations related to this work context.
  • Spend Time Using Your Hands to Handle, Control, or Feel Objects, Tools, or Controls — 78% responded “Continually or almost continually.” See more occupations related to this work context.
  • Level of Competition — 55% responded “Extremely competitive.” See more occupations related to this work context.
  • Physical Proximity — 66% responded “Moderately close (at arm's length).” See more occupations related to this work context.
  • Work With Work Group or Team — 38% responded “Extremely important.” See more occupations related to this work context.
  • Degree of Automation — 23% responded “Completely automated.” See more occupations related to this work context.
  • Duration of Typical Work Week — 78% responded “40 hours.” See more occupations related to this work context.
  • Pace Determined by Speed of Equipment — 36% responded “Very important.” See more occupations related to this work context.
  • Face-to-Face Discussions — 43% responded “Once a month or more but not every week.” See more occupations related to this work context.
  • Time Pressure — 38% responded “Never.” See more occupations related to this work context.

back to top

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)

back to top

Education


Percentage of Respondents
Education Level Required
84   High school diploma or equivalent Help
16   Less than high school diploma
1   Post-secondary certificate Help

back to top

Interests

Interest code: CSR

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Realistic — Realistic occupations frequently involve work activities that include practical, hands-on problems and solutions. They often deal with plants, animals, and real-world materials like wood, tools, and machinery. Many of the occupations require working outside, and do not involve a lot of paperwork or working closely with others. 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.

back to top

Work Styles

  • Stress Tolerance — Job requires accepting criticism and dealing calmly and effectively with high stress situations. See more occupations related to this work style.
  • Integrity — Job requires being honest and ethical. See more occupations related to this work style.
  • Dependability — Job requires being reliable, responsible, and dependable, and fulfilling obligations. 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.
  • 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.
  • Attention to Detail — Job requires being careful about detail and thorough in completing work tasks. 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Persistence — Job requires persistence in the face of obstacles. 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.
  • 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.
  • Analytical Thinking — Job requires analyzing information and using logic to address work-related issues and problems. See more occupations related to this work style.
  • Innovation — Job requires creativity and alternative thinking to develop new ideas for and answers to work-related 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.

back to top

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.

back to top

Related Occupations

back to top

Wages & Employment Trends

Median wages (2014) $16.90 hourly, $35,140 annual
State wages Local Salary Info
 
Employment (2012) 11,000 employees
Projected growth (2012-2022) Decline (-3% or lower) Decline (-3% or lower)
Projected job openings (2012-2022) 2,900
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.

back to top

Job Openings on the Web

Find Jobs Job Banks

back to top