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Radio Operator

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Life As a Radio Operator

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

List of Radio Operator Job Duties

  • Send, receive, and interpret coded messages.
  • Operate sound-recording equipment to record signals and preserve broadcasts for purposes such as analysis by intelligence personnel.
  • Maintain station logs of messages transmitted and received for activities such as flight testing and fire locations.
  • Review applicable regulations regarding radio communications, and report violations.
  • Determine and obtain bearings of sources from which signals originate, using direction-finding procedures and equipment.
  • Coordinate radio-related aspects of locating and contacting airplanes and ships that are missing or in distress.

Skills Needed to be a Radio Operator

Radio Operators state the following job skills are important in their day-to-day work.

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.

Types of Radio Operator

  • Radiophone Operator
  • Radio Officer
  • Avionics Supervisor
  • Electronic Intelligence Operations Specialist
  • Continuous Wave Operator (CW Operator)

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. The BLS estimates 100 yearly job openings in this field.

Forecasted Number of Jobs for Radio Operators in U.S.

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?

Radio Operators make between $21,850 and $71,470 a year.

Salary Ranges for Radio Operators

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

What Tools do Radio Operators Use?

Below is a list of the types of tools and technologies that Radio Operators may use on a daily basis:

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

How do I Become a Radio Operator?

What kind of Radio Operator requirements are there?

Radio Operator Degree Level

How Long Does it Take to Become a Radio Operator?

Radio Operator Work Experience

Who Employs Radio Operators?

Radio Operator Sectors

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

Radio Operator 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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