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Radio Operator

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What You Need to Know About Radio Operator

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

Life As a Radio Operator

  • Operate radio equipment to communicate with ships, aircraft, mining crews, offshore oil rigs, logging camps and other remote operations.
  • 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.
  • Broadcast weather reports and warnings.
  • Coordinate radio-related aspects of locating and contacting airplanes and ships that are missing or in distress.
  • Turn controls or throw switches to activate power, adjust voice volume and modulation, and set transmitters on specified frequencies.

Things a Radio Operator Should Know How to Do

Below is a list of the skills most Radio Operators say are important on the job.

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

  • Radiotelephone Operator
  • Field Radio Operator
  • Communications Operator
  • Pilot Radio Operator
  • Radio-Teletype Operator

Radio Operator Employment Estimates

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.


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 typical yearly salary for Radio Operators is somewhere between $21,850 and $71,470.


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 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

Becoming a Radio Operator

Individuals working as a Radio Operator have obtained the following education levels:


How Long Does it Take to Become a Radio Operator?


Who Employs Radio Operators?


Radio Operators work in the following 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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