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Telephone Operators

Provide information by accessing alphabetical, geographical, or other directories. Assist customers with special billing requests, such as charges to a third party and credits or refunds for incorrectly dialed numbers or bad connections. May handle emergency calls and assist children or people with physical disabilities to make telephone calls.   (O'Net 43-2021.00)

 
Reported job titles:   411 Directory Assistance Operator, Bilingual Operator, Central Office Operator, Change Number Operator, Charge Operator, Communications Operator   (view all job titles)
 
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    Career Video
    for Arts, Audio-Video Technology and Communications
     
    Arts, Audio-Video Technology and Communications photo Arts, Audio-Video Technology and Communications photo Arts, Audio-Video Technology and Communications photo
    Related Career Video:   View video on Arts, Audio-Video Technology and Communications related careers
     


    Wages
    for Telephone Operators
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    No wage data for this occupation.
     


    Employment Trends
    for Telephone Operators
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    No trend data for this occupation.
     


    Industries of Employment
    for Telephone Operators
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    No industries of employment data for this occupation.
     


    Tasks
    for Telephone Operators
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  • Listen to customer requests, referring to alphabetical or geographical directories to answer questions and provide telephone information.
     
  • Suggest and check alternate spellings, locations, or listing formats to customers lacking details or complete information.
     
  • Offer special assistance to persons such as those who are unable to dial or who are in emergency situations.
     
  • Observe signal lights on switchboards, and dial or press buttons to make connections.
     
  • Operate telephone switchboards and systems to advance and complete connections, including those for local, long distance, pay telephone, mobile, person-to-person, and emergency calls.
     
  • Provide assistance for customers with special billing requests.
     
  • Calculate and quote charges for services such as long-distance connections.
     
  • Monitor automated systems for placing collect calls and intervene for a callers needing assistance.
     
  • Perform clerical duties such as typing, proofreading, and sorting mail.
     
  • Consult charts to determine charges for pay-telephone calls, requesting coin deposits for calls as necessary.
     
    source: Occupational Information Network: Telephone Operators  updated June 2007
     


    Knowledge
    for Telephone Operators
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  • 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.
     
  • English Language - Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
     
  • Clerical - Knowledge of administrative and clerical procedures and systems such as word processing, managing files and records, stenography and transcription, designing forms, and other office procedures and terminology.
     
  • Communications and Media - Knowledge of media production, communication, and dissemination techniques and methods. This includes alternative ways to inform and entertain via written, oral, and visual media.
     
  • Telecommunications - Knowledge of transmission, broadcasting, switching, control, and operation of telecommunications systems.
     
    source: Occupational Information Network: Telephone Operators  updated June 2007
     


    Skills
    for Telephone Operators
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  • 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.
     
  • Speaking - Talking to others to convey information effectively.
     
  • Service Orientation - Actively looking for ways to help people.
     
  • Social Perceptiveness - Being aware of others' reactions and understanding why they react as they do.
     
  • Critical Thinking - Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
     
  • Reading Comprehension - Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.
     
    source: Occupational Information Network: Telephone Operators  updated June 2010
     


    Abilities
    for Telephone Operators
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  • Oral Expression - The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.
     
  • Oral Comprehension - The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
     
  • Speech Clarity - The ability to speak clearly so others can understand you.
     
  • Speech Recognition - The ability to identify and understand the speech of another person.
     
  • Written Comprehension - The ability to read and understand information and ideas presented in writing.
     
  • Selective Attention - The ability to concentrate on a task over a period of time without being distracted.
     
  • Problem Sensitivity - The ability to tell when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong. It does not involve solving the problem, only recognizing there is a problem.
     
    source: Occupational Information Network: Telephone Operators  updated June 2007
     


    Work Activities
    for Telephone Operators
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  • Interacting With Computers - Using computers and computer systems (including hardware and software) to program, write software, set up functions, enter data, or process information.
     
  • Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates - Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.
     
  • Resolving Conflicts and Negotiating with Others - Handling complaints, settling disputes, and resolving grievances and conflicts, or otherwise negotiating with others.
     
  • Getting Information - Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
     
  • Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships - Developing constructive and cooperative working relationships with others, and maintaining them over time.
     
  • Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge - Keeping up-to-date technically and applying new knowledge to your job.
     
  • Documenting/Recording Information - Entering, transcribing, recording, storing, or maintaining information in written or electronic/magnetic form.
     
  • Processing Information - Compiling, coding, categorizing, calculating, tabulating, auditing, or verifying information or data.
     
  • Interpreting the Meaning of Information for Others - Translating or explaining what information means and how it can be used.
     
  • Developing and Building Teams - Encouraging and building mutual trust, respect, and cooperation among team members.
     
    source: Occupational Information Network: Telephone Operators  updated June 2007
     


    Interests
    for Telephone Operators
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  • Conventional - 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.
     
  • Social - Social occupations frequently involve working with, communicating with, and teaching people. These occupations often involve helping or providing service to others.
     
  • Enterprising - 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.
     
    source: Occupational Information Network: Telephone Operators  updated June 2008
     


    Work Styles
    for Telephone Operators
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  • Stress Tolerance - Job requires accepting criticism and dealing calmly and effectively with high stress situations.
     
  • Integrity - Job requires being honest and ethical.
     
  • Dependability - Job requires being reliable, responsible, and dependable, and fulfilling obligations.
     
  • Adaptability/Flexibility - Job requires being open to change (positive or negative) and to considerable variety in the workplace.
     
  • Self Control - Job requires maintaining composure, keeping emotions in check, controlling anger, and avoiding aggressive behavior, even in very difficult situations.
     
  • Attention to Detail - Job requires being careful about detail and thorough in completing work tasks.
     
  • Cooperation - Job requires being pleasant with others on the job and displaying a good-natured, cooperative attitude.
     
  • Independence - Job requires developing one's own ways of doing things, guiding oneself with little or no supervision, and depending on oneself to get things done.
     
  • Achievement/Effort - Job requires establishing and maintaining personally challenging achievement goals and exerting effort toward mastering tasks.
     
  • Concern for Others - Job requires being sensitive to others' needs and feelings and being understanding and helpful on the job.
     
    source: Occupational Information Network: Telephone Operators  updated June 2007
     


    State of Vermont License Information
    that may be required for Telephone Operators
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    No state licenses listed for this occupation.
     


    Education and Training Requirements
    for Telephone Operators
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  • Job Zone Two: Some Preparation Needed
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  • Education: These occupations usually require a high school diploma.
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  • Training: Employees in these occupations need anywhere from a few months to one year of working with experienced employees. A recognized apprenticeship program may be associated with these occupations.
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  • Experience: Some previous work-related skill, knowledge, or experience is usually needed. For example, a teller would benefit from experience working directly with the public.
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    source: Occupational Information Network: Telephone Operators  updated June 2007
     


    Schools
    offering instructional programs related to Telephone Operators
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    No school information for this occupation.
     


    Other Resources
    for Telephone Operators
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  • Labor Exchange Information
  • A source for occupational characteristics, such as age, gender, race, and years of education and an alternative source for occupational wage rates. Limited to people looking for jobs and the jobs advertised through VDOL Vermont Job Link.
  • Look for statewide information over the latest 12 months for Telephone Operators.
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  • Occupational Outlook Handbook
  • No handbook information for this occupation.
     
  • O*NET™ Online
  • O*NET Online is an interactive web site for those interested in exploring occupations through O*NET, The Occupational Information Network database.   All of the descriptive information on this page comes from the O*NET database, version 18.1, released March 2014.   The O*NET database takes the place of the Dictionary of Occupational Titles (DOT) as the nation's primary source of occupational information.
  • For additional information on Telephone Operators , go to O*NET Online Detail Report.
  • For the O*NET Online home page, go to   
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    Related Occupations
    Occupations with skill requirements similar to Telephone Operators
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  • Customer Service Representatives
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  • Gaming Cage Workers
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  • Insurance Claims Clerks
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  • Interviewers, Except Eligibility and Loan
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  • Legal Secretaries
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  • License Clerks
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  • Medical Secretaries
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  • Office Clerks, General
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  • Receptionists and Information Clerks
  •  
  • Switchboard Operators, Including Answering Service
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    source: Occupational Information Network: Telephone Operators 
     

     
     
     
    Vermont.gov State of Vermont Department of Labor