Telephone Operators


Education and Training Requirements

High School

Take speech, drama, and other classes that will help with oral communication skills. Typing and computer fundamentals courses will prepare you for the demands of running a modern switchboard and for handling special services such as TDD, with is telecommunications device for the hearing impaired. Learn a foreign language to help with international calls.

Postsecondary Training

Many telephone companies prefer to hire people who are high school graduates. Most of the training for the job will be from the employer, which may include classes in-house or telecommunications courses at a community college.

Certification, Licensing, and Special Requirements

Certification or Licensing

A company may have its own training program leading to certification. There is no national certification for telephone operators. 

Experience, Skills, and Personality Traits

No experience is needed to work as a telephone operator, but those with prior work experience will increase their chances of landing a job, getting promoted, and possibly earning higher pay.

Manual dexterity is an asset to the telephone operator; however, the degree of dexterity needed is about the same as that required for the operation of any type of office equipment. Personal qualifications include tact, patience, a desire to work with people and to be of service to others, a pleasing phone voice, an even-tempered disposition, and good judgment. Operators must also have legible handwriting and must be punctual and dependable in job attendance.