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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.

Life As a Radio Operator

  • Conduct periodic equipment inspections and routine tests to ensure that operations standards are met.
  • Repair radio equipment as necessary, using electronic testing equipment, hand tools, and power tools.
  • Coordinate radio-related aspects of locating and contacting airplanes and ships that are missing or in distress.
  • Communicate with receiving operators to exchange transmission instructions.
  • Send, receive, and interpret coded messages.
  • 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?

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.

  • Radio Dispatch Operator
  • Airline Radio Operator
  • Continuous Wave Operator (CW Operator)
  • Radio Recorder
  • Police Communications Operator

Is There Job Demand for Radio Operators?

In the United States, there were 900 jobs for Radio Operator in 2016. There is little to no growth in job opportunities for Radio Operator. There will be an estimated 100 positions for Radio Operator per 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.

Radio Operator Average Salary

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

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 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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