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Radio Operator

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All About Radio Operators

Job Description: Receive and transmit communications using radiotelephone equipment in accordance with government regulations. May repair equipment.

Life As a Radio Operator: What Do They Do?

  • Determine and obtain bearings of sources from which signals originate, using direction-finding procedures and equipment.
  • Examine and operate new equipment prior to installation to ensure that it performs properly.
  • Communicate with receiving operators to exchange transmission instructions.
  • Conduct periodic equipment inspections and routine tests to ensure that operations standards are met.
  • Operate radio equipment to communicate with ships, aircraft, mining crews, offshore oil rigs, logging camps and other remote operations.
  • Maintain station logs of messages transmitted and received for activities such as flight testing and fire locations.

Radio Operator Required Skills

These are the skills Radio Operators say are the most useful in their careers:

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.

  • Avionics Supervisor
  • Field Radio Operator
  • Radio Dispatch Operator
  • Radio Communication Coordinator
  • Continuous Wave Operator (CW Operator)

Radio Operator Job Outlook

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. The BLS estimates 100 yearly job openings in this field.


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.

Salary for a Radio Operator

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

What Tools & Technology do Radio Operators Use?

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?


What work experience do I need to become a Radio Operator?


Radio Operators Sector


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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