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How to Become a Telecommunications Operator

Are you ambitious, responsible, and detail-oriented? Do you have excellent communication skills and a friendly personality? A career as a telecommunications operator might be right for you.

Telecommunications operators manage incoming calls, collect required data, answer questions, and transfer calls as necessary. A telecommunications operator has fast and accurate typing skills and the ability to speak clearly and in a friendly manner. They take messages accurately and record conversations where required. They are familiar with various communications systems and transfer calls to appropriate parties in a timely manner. As part of their duties, they might also organize the telephone directory and may perform some additional administrative tasks. 

As telecommunications operators are typically the first point of contact at a call center, they are first-line representatives of the company and have a friendly and professional manner when speaking with external and internal customers. 

Sample job description

The key to our success is our unwavering belief in providing our employees with an environment in which they can excel and provide customers with a superior contact experience. This is why we’re searching for an experienced telecommunications operator to join our team. The telecommunications operator provides real-time monitoring, triage, and resolution of degradation/outages to infrastructure, networks, and applications. As an ideal candidate, you have proven experience working in a call center or related position, taking inbound calls and responding appropriately or re-directing the calls as needed. Your communication skills are excellent, and you have a friendly demeanor.  

Typical duties and responsibilities

  • Answer incoming calls promptly and respond to questions in a friendly, professional manner 
  • Transfer calls to appropriate parties as needed
  • Use office communication systems, including intercom, public address, telephone, two-way radio, or switchboard
  • Relay messages verbally or in written form
  • Set up conference calls and regular telephone calls between co-workers, clients, and management
  • Schedule meeting rooms and appointments between clients and staff 
  • Send and receive communications via fax
  • Update telephone directories, manage schedules, create and proofread documents, and perform other data entry tasks
  • Process packages and other incoming mail and deliver outgoing mail and packages to the post office or other shipping facilities

Education and experience

  • High school diploma or equivalent
  • 1-2 years experience

Required skills and qualifications

  • Ability to speak fluently and clearly
  • Solid multitasking skills
  • Excellent verbal and written communication skills
  • Ability to type at least 30 words per minute
  • Ability to work efficiently with minimal supervision
  • Ability to convey information accurately and effectively
  • Able to listen and comprehend what others are saying
  • Awareness of others’ reactions and understanding why they react as they do
  • Good reading comprehension
  • Solid writing skills
  • Excellent customer service skills

Preferred qualifications

  • Experience as a telecommunications operator or in a similar role
  • Experience in a virtual call center

Typical work environment

Telecommunications operators typically work in call centers, emergency service organizations, or telecommunications providers. They spend their days seated in front of a computer, usually wearing a headset, where they take inbound calls and direct them appropriately. Some telecommunications operators work remotely. 

Typical hours

Most telecommunications operators work full-time, 40-hour weeks. Hours vary depending on the job and the industry. Call centers are typically open for extended hours, which might be from 8 AM to 9 PM every day of the week. Some call centers and emergency service centers are available 24/7, and telecommunications operators in these sectors may work various shifts, which include all hours and all days of the week, including holidays.

Available certifications

Telecommunications operators work in many different industries, and many institutions offer certifications for telecommunications operators. Here are three of the top certifications for telecommunications operators:

  • Emergency Medical Dispatcher Certification (EMD). The Emergency Medical Dispatcher (EMD) certification provides individuals with timely training and sound medical protocol to prepare them to deliver quality care to the public with emergency medical needs. The 3-day course is certified through the International Academy of EMD. To qualify for certification, you must be CPR-certified through the National Safety Council, American Heart Association, American Red Cross, European Resuscitation Council, or equivalent. 
  • Emergency Fire Dispatcher Certification (EFD). The EFD is administered under the direction of the International Academies of Emergency Dispatch’s Boards of Curriculum. The course provides solid training and proven protocols to guide candidates in the highest standards of care. Using instructor-led lectures, discussion, video segments, audiotape review, hands-on practice, and role-playing,  individuals can enhance their skills and confidence in extreme situations. The prerequisites for the course are the ability to read and write at a high school graduate or GED level. 
  • Certified Call Centre Associate (CCCA). The Global Association for Quality Management (GAQM) offers the CCCA, which demonstrates that you have the skills to provide an excellent customer experience. The CCCA Certification includes six critical elements of customer service that help give you the knowledge and skills to outdo your competition. This certification teaches you how to make the most of your telephone-based work and understand the best ways to listen and be heard. Through practical training, you will enhance your sales and customer service skills. There are no prerequisites for this course.

Career path

The steps to becoming a telecommunications operator begin with earning a high school diploma or its equivalent. There are no educational requirements beyond that. Telecommunications operators typically receive on-the-job training, although some positions require previous experience. Most telecommunications operators work for large companies and or emergency services. To excel as a telecommunications operator, excellent oral communication skills, the ability to work under pressure, and excellent diction are essential. Patience and self-control are also important when dealing with demanding customers.

US, Bureau of Labor Statistics’ job outlook

SOC Code: 43-4050

2020 Employment2,923,400
Projected Employment in 20302,888,900
Projected 2020-2030 Percentage Shift 1% decrease
Projected 2020-2030 Numeric Shift34,500 decrease

Over the past several years, especially due to quarantine, the way people communicate with telecommunications operators has radically changed. The mega call centers, with many operators in a brick-and-mortar building sitting side-by-side, are in decline. During the pandemic, companies scrambled to establish operations using home-based telecommunications operators, and in many industries, that trend is not expected to reverse itself. A streamlined telecommunications workforce that is spread out geographically provides the resources and flexibility needed for telecommunications operators to supply the customer service needed. A remote work model for telecommunications operators enables organizations to utilize flexible staffing models to help contact centers stay prepared in the event of another crisis using cloud-based call centers that can be scaled up or down quickly as needed. 

Digital technology is changing many industries, and telecommunications is one of them. The use of AI-enabled learning, messaging, and cloud based-systems is becoming the norm in call centers, allowing companies to provide quick solutions to issues. Telecommunications operators can take advantage of artificial intelligence to analyze caller sentiment and give them relevant, real-time, suggestions, so they can deliver immediate results backed with human empathy. Automation speeds up the call center delivery process and companies are seeing cost savings and greater customer satisfaction as well.