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Switchboard Operators, Including Answering Service

Also called: Operator, PBX Operator (Private Branch Exchange Operator), Switchboard Operator, Telephone Operator

What they do:
Operate telephone business systems equipment or switchboards to relay incoming, outgoing, and interoffice calls. May supply information to callers and record messages.
On the job, you would:
  • 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.


  • customer service
  • administrative services
Arts and Humanities
  • English language
  • telecommunications
Engineering and Technology
  • computers and electronics


Basic Skills
  • talking to others
  • listening to others, not interrupting, and asking good questions
Problem Solving
  • noticing a problem and figuring out the best way to solve it


  • listen and understand what people say
  • communicate by speaking
Hearing and Speech
  • recognize spoken words
  • speak clearly


People interested in this work like activities that include data, detail, and regular routines.
They do well at jobs that need:
  • Dependability
  • Integrity
  • Self Control
  • Cooperation
  • Concern for Others
  • Attention to Detail


You might use software like this on the job:

Electronic mail software
  • IBM Notes
  • Microsoft Outlook
Spreadsheet software
  • Microsoft Excel
Enterprise resource planning ERP software
  • SAP software


Education: (rated 2 of 5)
high school diploma/GED or
some college
usually needed

Job Outlook

Below Average Outlook
New job opportunities are less likely in the future.
per year, on average
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See more details at O*NET OnLine about switchboard operators, including answering service.