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Radio Operator

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What Do Radio Operator Do?

Position Description Receive and transmit communications using radiotelephone equipment in accordance with government regulations. May repair equipment.

Life As a Radio Operator

  • Repair radio equipment as necessary, using electronic testing equipment, hand tools, and power tools.
  • Monitor emergency frequencies to detect distress calls and respond by dispatching emergency equipment.
  • Broadcast weather reports and warnings.
  • Determine and obtain bearings of sources from which signals originate, using direction-finding procedures and equipment.
  • Examine and operate new equipment prior to installation to ensure that it performs properly.
  • Set up antennas and mobile communication units during military field exercises.

Qualities of 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.

Other Radio Operator Job Titles

  • Receiver
  • Field Radio Operator
  • Radio Officer
  • Communications Operator
  • Communications Specialist

Job Opportunities 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.

How Much Does a Radio Operator Make?

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.

How much do Radio Operators make in each U.S. state?

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

Tools & Technologies Used by Radio Operators

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 do I Become a Radio Operator?

What education or degrees do I need to become a Radio Operator?


How many years of work experience do I need?


Where Radio Operators Work


The table below shows some of the most common industries where those employed in this career field work.



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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