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Radio Operator

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What is a Radio Operator?

Radio Operator Definition Receive and transmit communications using radiotelephone equipment in accordance with government regulations. May repair equipment.

Daily Life Of a Radio Operator

  • Operate sound-recording equipment to record signals and preserve broadcasts for purposes such as analysis by intelligence personnel.
  • Coordinate radio-related aspects of locating and contacting airplanes and ships that are missing or in distress.
  • Set up antennas and mobile communication units during military field exercises.
  • Operate radio equipment to communicate with ships, aircraft, mining crews, offshore oil rigs, logging camps and other remote operations.
  • Monitor emergency frequencies to detect distress calls and respond by dispatching emergency equipment.
  • Repair radio equipment as necessary, using electronic testing equipment, hand tools, and power tools.

Skills Needed to be a Radio Operator

These are the skills Radio Operators say are the most useful in their careers:

Speaking: Talking to others to convey information effectively.

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.

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

Monitoring: Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.

Writing: Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.

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

  • Radio Dispatch Operator
  • Radio Room Operator
  • Radio Maintainer
  • Communications Specialist
  • Centrex Radio Operator

Is There Going to be Demand for Radio Operators?

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


The states with the most job growth for Radio Operator are Minnesota, Illinois, and Louisiana. Watch out if you plan on working in Washington, Ohio, or Louisiana. These states have the worst job growth for this type of profession.

What is the Average Salary of a Radio Operator

The salary for Radio Operators ranges between about $21,850 and $71,470 a year.


Radio Operators who work in Missouri, Florida, or Minnesota, make the highest salaries.

Below is a list of the median annual salaries for Radio Operators in different U.S. states.

State Annual Mean Salary
Florida $52,930
Louisiana $35,210
Minnesota $53,080
Missouri $66,270
Ohio $42,280
Texas $36,620

What Tools & Technology do Radio Operators Use?

Although they’re not necessarily needed for all jobs, the following technologies are used by many Radio Operators:

  • Microsoft Excel
  • Microsoft Word
  • Microsoft Office
  • Web browser software
  • Email software
  • Database software

How to Become a Radio Operator

Education needed to be a Radio Operator:


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


Who Employs Radio Operators?


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



Image Credit: Airman 1st Class Alexis P. Docherty, 49th Wing Public Affairs via Public domain

More about our data sources and methodologies.

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