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Radio Operator

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What is a Radio Operator?

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

A Day in the Life of a Radio Operator

  • Review applicable regulations regarding radio communications, and report violations.
  • Broadcast weather reports and warnings.
  • 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.
  • Coordinate radio-related aspects of locating and contacting airplanes and ships that are missing or in distress.
  • Examine and operate new equipment prior to installation to ensure that it performs properly.

What Skills Do You Need to Work as 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

  • Communications Operator
  • Telecommunications Operator
  • Radio Division Officer
  • Avionics Supervisor
  • Radio Room Operator

Is There Job Demand for Radio Operators?

There were about 900 jobs for Radio Operator in 2016 (in the United States). 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 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.

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 is needed to be a Radio Operator?


How Long Does it Take to Become a Radio Operator?


Radio Operators Sector


Below are examples of industries where Radio Operators 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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