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Career profile Switchboard Operator

Also known as CBX Operator; Communication Specialist; Information Specialist; PBX Operator (Private Branch Exchange Operator); Switchboard Operator; Switchboard Operator, Receptionist; Telecommunications Clerk; Telecommunications Operator

Switchboard Operator

Also known as CBX Operator; Communication Specialist; Information Specialist; PBX Operator (Private Branch Exchange Operator); Switchboard Operator; Switchboard Operator, Receptionist; Telecommunications Clerk; Telecommunications Operator

Interests Profile
  • Conventional
  • Enterprising
  • Social
Pay Range
$22,530 - $49,570 (annual)
Required Skills
  • Speaking
  • Active Listening
  • Social Perceptiveness
Knowledge Areas
  • Customer and Personal Service
  • Telecommunications
  • Administrative
Core tasks
  • Answer incoming calls, greeting callers, providing information, transferring calls or taking messages as necessary.
  • Operate communication systems, such as telephone, switchboard, intercom, two-way radio, or public address.
  • Page individuals to inform them of telephone calls, using paging or interoffice communication equipment.
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What does a Switchboard Operator do?

Switchboard Operators operate telephone business systems equipment or switchboards to relay incoming, outgoing, and interoffice calls.

In addition, Switchboard Operators may supply information to callers and record messages.

What kind of tasks does a Switchboard Operator perform regularly?

Switchboard Operators are often responsible for overseeing or executing some or all of the following tasks:

  • Answer incoming calls, greeting callers, providing information, transferring calls or taking messages as necessary.
  • Operate communication systems, such as telephone, switchboard, intercom, two-way radio, or public address.
  • Page individuals to inform them of telephone calls, using paging or interoffice communication equipment.
  • Relay or route written or verbal messages.
  • Place telephone calls or arrange conference calls as instructed.
  • Perform various data entry or word processing tasks, such as updating phone directories, typing or proofreading documents, or creating schedules.
  • Process incoming or outgoing mail, packages, or deliveries.
  • Perform administrative tasks, such as accepting orders, scheduling appointments or meeting rooms, or sending and receiving faxes.

The above responsibilities are specific to Switchboard Operators. More generally, Switchboard Operators are involved in several broader types of activities:

Working with Computers
Using computers and computer systems (including hardware and software) to program, write software, set up functions, enter data, or process information.
Getting Information
Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
Communicating with People Outside the Organization
Communicating with people outside the organization, representing the organization to customers, the public, government, and other external sources. This information can be exchanged in person, in writing, or by telephone or e-mail.
Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates
Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.
Documenting/Recording Information
Entering, transcribing, recording, storing, or maintaining information in written or electronic/magnetic form.

What is a Switchboard Operator salary?

The median salary for a Switchboard Operator is $31,430, and the average salary is $33,980. Both the median and average roughly describe the middle of the Switchboard Operator salary range, but the average is more easily affected by extremely high or low salaries.

Many Switchboard Operators earn significantly more or less than the average, due to several factors. About 10% of Switchboard Operators earn less than $22,530 per year, 25% earn less than $26,710, 75% earn less than $38,780, and 90% earn less than $49,570.

Between the years of 2020 and 2030, the number of Switchboard Operators is expected to change by -22.7%, and there should be roughly 4,500 open positions for Switchboard Operators every year.

Median annual salary
$31,430
Typical salary range
$22,530 - $49,570
Projected growth (2020 - 2030)
-22.7%

What personality traits are common among Switchboard Operators?

Interests

Career interests describe a person's preferences for different types of working environments and activities. When a person's interest match the demands of an occupation, people are usually more engaged and satisfied in that role.

Compared to most occupations, those who work as a Switchboard Operator are usually higher in their Conventional and Enterprising interests.

Switchboard Operators typically have very strong Conventional interests. Conventional occupations frequently involve following set procedures and routines. These occupations can include working with data and details more than with ideas. Usually there is a clear line of authority to follow.

Also, Switchboard Operators typically have moderate Enterprising interests. Enterprising occupations frequently involve starting up and carrying out projects. These occupations can involve leading people and making many decisions. Sometimes they require risk taking and often deal with business.

Values

People differ in their values, or what is most important to them for building job satisfaction and fulfillment.

Compared to most people, those working as a Switchboard Operator tend to value Relationships, Support, and Independence.

Most importantly, Switchboard Operators strongly value Relationships. Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to provide service to others and work with co-workers in a friendly non-competitive environment.

Second, Switchboard Operators moderately value Support. Occupations that satisfy this work value offer supportive management that stands behind employees.

Lastly, Switchboard Operators moderately value Independence. Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to work on their own and make decisions.

Psychological Demands

Each occupation brings its own set of psychological demands, which describe the characteristics necessary to perform the job well.

In order to perform their job successfully, people who work as Switchboard Operators must consistently demonstrate qualities such as dependability, integrity, and self-control.

Below, you'll find a list of qualities typically required of Switchboard Operators, ranked by importance:

Dependability
Job requires being reliable, responsible, and dependable, and fulfilling obligations.
Integrity
Job requires being honest and ethical.
Self-Control
Job requires maintaining composure, keeping emotions in check, controlling anger, and avoiding aggressive behavior, even in very difficult situations.
Cooperation
Job requires being pleasant with others on the job and displaying a good-natured, cooperative attitude.
Concern for Others
Job requires being sensitive to others' needs and feelings and being understanding and helpful on the job.

What education and training do Switchboard Operators need?

Working as a Switchboard Operator usually requires a high school diploma.

Switchboard Operators need anywhere from a few months to one year of working with experienced employees. A recognized apprenticeship program may be associated with this occupation.

Educational degrees among Switchboard Operators

  • 3.2% did not complete high school or secondary school
  • 30.8% completed high school or secondary school
  • 33.3% completed some college coursework
  • 12.9% earned a Associate's degree
  • 17.3% earned a Bachelor's degree
  • 2.5% earned a Master's degree

Knowledge and expertise required by Switchboard Operators

Switchboard Operators may benefit from understanding of specialized subject areas, such as customer and personal service, telecommunications, or administrative knowledge.

The list below shows several areas in which most Switchboard Operators might want to build proficiency, ranked by importance.

Customer and Personal Service
Knowledge of principles and processes for providing customer and personal services. This includes customer needs assessment, meeting quality standards for services, and evaluation of customer satisfaction.
Telecommunications
Knowledge of transmission, broadcasting, switching, control, and operation of telecommunications systems.
Administrative
Knowledge of administrative and office procedures and systems such as word processing, managing files and records, stenography and transcription, designing forms, and workplace terminology.
Computers and Electronics
Knowledge of circuit boards, processors, chips, electronic equipment, and computer hardware and software, including applications and programming.
Administration and Management
Knowledge of business and management principles involved in strategic planning, resource allocation, human resources modeling, leadership technique, production methods, and coordination of people and resources.

Important Abilities needed by Switchboard Operators

Switchboard Operators must develop a particular set of abilities to perform their job well. Abilities are individual capacities that influence a person's information processing, sensory perception, motor coordination, and physical strength or endurance. Individuals may naturally have certain abilities without explicit training, but most abilities can be sharpened somewhat through practice.

For example, Switchboard Operators need abilities such as oral comprehension, oral expression, and speech recognition in order to perform their job at a high level. The list below shows several important abilities for Switchboard Operators, ranked by their relative importance.

Oral Comprehension
The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
Oral Expression
The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.
Speech Recognition
The ability to identify and understand the speech of another person.
Speech Clarity
The ability to speak clearly so others can understand you.
Near Vision
The ability to see details at close range (within a few feet of the observer).

Critical Skills needed by Switchboard Operators

Skills are developed capacities that enable people to function effectively in real-world settings. Unlike abilities, skills are typically easier to build through practice and experience. Skills influence effectiveness in areas such as learning, working with others, design, troubleshooting, and more.

Switchboard Operators frequently use skills like speaking, active listening, and social perceptiveness to perform their job effectively. The list below shows several critical skills for Switchboard Operators, ranked by their relative importance.

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.
Social Perceptiveness
Being aware of others' reactions and understanding why they react as they do.
Reading Comprehension
Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work-related documents.
Writing
Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.

What is the source of this information?

The information provided on this page is adapted from data and descriptions published by the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration under the CC BY 4.0 license. TraitLab has modified some information for ease of use and reading, and the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment, and Training Administration has not approved, endorsed, or tested these modifications.

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