Switchboard operators man communications systems within a company by relaying incoming, outgoing and interoffice calls. They may also serve as the answering service or direct callers to individual voice mail boxes, as necessary. Switchboard operators greet callers, transfer calls and provide information. They page individuals and take messages for unavailable employees.
In some positions, due to advancements in technology, switchboard operators utilize electronic systems allowing time for other clerical duties such as keyboarding, proofreading, scheduling appointments and opening mail. Switchboard operators may also be responsible for monitoring alarm systems and notifying security personnel when necessary.
Tasks commonly completed by switchboard operators include:
A high school diploma is sufficient for most switchboard operator positions. However, if the position includes clerical duties beyond operating the switchboard, an associate’s degree in secretarial science or administrative assistance could prove useful when seeking a job. Depending on the equipment, a switchboard operator may be required to participate in technical training.
Many companies have communication systems, although the prospects for switchboard operators aren’t as positive as in the past, due to technological advancements. Combining communication skills with administrative assistance abilities could possibly increase both job opportunities and salary level. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual salary for switchboard operators is around $24,000.
*Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics