Communication Equipment operators work at switch board and route incoming or outgoing calls and screens them to forward to the appropriate recipient. They may work at customer care centers routing incoming calls, or at other various business institutions. Comunication equipment operators may also be specially trained customer service representatives who are assigned to route incoming calls for troubleshooting and other customer needs. Communication Equipment Operators can also work in inbound calling desks at hospitals, private businesses, employment services, government institutions and others.
Communication Equipment operators must know or will be trained in operating Private Branch Exchange and Voiceover Internet Protocol systems to route incoming and outgoing calls. Communication equipment operators may have to be specially trained in specific industries in order to assist customers calling for specific requests.
Communication Equipment Operators typically work in offices or call centers at desks, cubicles or offices. They often need to be on the computer as well as the phone for the majority the work day. Communication equipment operator positions are typically entry level, requiring little to no formal education except for a HS Diploma, GED or equivalent certificate. On the job training is usually provided by the employer or directly from the manufacturer of the equipment being used. Sucessful candidates may have previous experience in customer service and must communicate well in English, have an easily understood voice and have a working knowledge of basic computer software and data entry operations.
Salary of communication equipment operators vary depending on specialty and equipment assigned to. In general, telephone switchboard operators make an average of $24k annually. This may or may not include additional benefits such as medical, dental, vision coverage, life insurance or retirement plans. *
*According to the BLS, http://www.bls.gov/oco/
Job Description and Outlook
Communication Equipment operators most often work in call centers or offices. Their main priority is to screen and route incoming calls to the appopriate recipient. A communication equipment operator can be a specially trained customer service representative working in an inbound call center who is knowledgeable in operating special equipment which allows him or her to route calls to the appropriate department.
Switchboard operators run Private Branch exchange, or PBX systems or Voiceover Internet Protocol, or VoIP switchboards. Typically in addition to this, candidates are responsible for basic administrative and receptionist duties such as taking down names and information, and relaying messages to appropriate recipients.
Communication Equipment Operators may specialize in a particular industry. A communication equipment operator working at a hospital may be required to know additional information in order to answer incoming calls regaring insurance coverage, patient statuses and making appointments. The same type of position working for a travel agency or vacation property may also need to be knowledgable in operating reservation software, and operating a credit card machine to take down a deposit for future booking. Communication equipment operators working for airlines industries may be asked questions regarding the current status of inbound and outbound flights.
Communication Equipment Operators typically work in office or call center operations. Often times these employees are on the phone about 90% of his or her work day and are seated at a desk infront of a computer or switchboard. Working hazards are generally low, but do include modern technology related ailments such as weight gain from sitting and carpal tunnel from frequent computer use. In addition, because the candidate will be on the phone, slight hearing loss may also occur.
Generally speaking, opportunities for communication equipment operators and other switchboard operators are expected to decrease as the result of advancing technologies and increase in automation. Need for communication equipment operators is also declining due to continuing outsourcing to other countries.*
*According to the BLS, http://www.bls.gov/oco/
Training and Education Requirements
There are no formal education requirements, however most commonly, businesses require at least a High School Diploma, GED or equivalent certificate. Most jobs are entry level and training is provided on site by the employer or manufacturer of the switchboard operating equipment.
Candidates typically must be computer literate and able to operate basic computer programs. Often times they also must be able to perform basic data entry tasks as often times callers will ask questions regarding accounts. Switchboard operators must be able to effectively communicate in English and have a clear, easily understood voice. Experience with providing customer service is also helpful for prospective candidates.
There are no formal certifications required for Communication Equipment Operators, however new candidates are usually trained to operate the switchboard equipment either by members of the company or directly by the manufacturer of the switchboard equipment.
There are no professional associations for Communication Equipment operators, however some companies may offer the option to join a labor union or other type of organized labor association. In addition, Communication equipment operators may become certified to train other individuals on operating switchboard equipment by the manufacturing company.
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