Job Family: Communications Equipment Technologists and Technicians Communications Equipment Operators
Services Offering this Occupation
Army  | Navy  | Air Force  | Marine Corps  | Coast Guard  | National Guard

Supplemental Information
Profile 1 |  Profile 2 | 
Photo 1: Equipment operators help set up communications. Photo 2:
Technician repairs satellite.

Staci Guercio
Occupation: Communications Equipment Operator

I decided to join the Navy after I finished high school. I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do with my life. One day a couple of girlfriends and I went…

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Jordan O'Hearn
Occupation: Intelligence Communications Division Chief

I was just a typical teenager. I never necessarily wanted to join the Military in the very beginning because I thought, honestly, that …

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Short Description
The ability to relay information between air, sea, and ground forces is critical in the military. The military has sophisticated communications systems that use a variety of technologies and telecommunications equipment such as radios, telephones, antennas, satellites, and complex security and network devices. Communications equipment operators use these systems to transmit, receive, and decode messages at military locations throughout the world.

What They Do
Communications equipment operators in the military perform some or all of the following duties:
  • Transmit, receive, and log messages according to military procedures
  • Encode and decode classified messages
  • Operate different types of telephone switchboards, satellite communications terminals, and network switches
  • Set up and operate communications equipment and security equipment
  • Monitor and respond to emergency calls
  • Run state-of-the-art command, control, communications and computer and signals intelligence/electronic warfare equipment
  • Install, operate and repair communications and security equipment

Helpful Attributes
Helpful school subjects include English and speech. Helpful attributes include:
  • Ability to remain calm in an emergency
  • Interest in working with codes
  • Interest in working with communications equipment

Training Provided
Job training consists of instruction, including practice with equipment. Further training occurs on the job and through advanced courses. Course content typically includes:
  • Installation and usage of various types of communications equipment
  • Communications security
  • Message encoding and decoding

Work Environment
Communications equipment operators may work either indoors or outdoors, depending on the specialty. They may be assigned to ships, aircraft, land bases, or mobile field units.

Civilian Counterparts
Civilian communications equipment operators work in airports, harbors, police stations, fire stations, telephone companies, telegraph companies, and many businesses. They may also work aboard ships. Their duties are similar to those of military communications equipment operators. They may be called radio operators, telephone operators, communication center operators, or switchboard operators, depending on their specialty.

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