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Career and Education Opportunities for Telephone Operators in Seattle, Washington

Telephone operator career and educational opportunities abound in Seattle, Washington. About fifty people are currently employed as telephone operators in Washington. By 2016, this is expected to grow by 19% to sixty people employed. This is better than the national trend for telephone operators, which sees this job pool shrinking by about 3.6% over the next eight years. Telephone operators generally provide information by accessing alphabetical and geographical directories.

The income of a telephone operator is about $12 per hour or $25,120 annually on average in Washington. In the U.S. as a whole, their income is about $15 per hour or $31,670 yearly on average. Earnings for telephone operators are not quite as good as earnings in the general category of Telephone in Washington and better than general Telephone category earnings nationally.

There are sixty-five schools of higher education in the Seattle area, including four within twenty-five miles of Seattle where you can get a degree to start your career as a telephone operator. Telephone operators usually hold a high school diploma or GED, so you can expect to spend only a short time studying to be a telephone operator if you already have a high school diploma.

CAREER DESCRIPTION: Telephone Operator

Telephone Operator video from the State of New Jersey Dept. of Labor and Workforce Development

In general, telephone operators provide information by accessing alphabetical and geographical directories. They also assist customers with special billing requests.

Every day, telephone operators are expected to be able to articulate ideas and problems. They need to listen to and understand others in meetings. It is also important that they understand what others are saying to them even in a noisy environment.

It is important for telephone operators to suggest and check alternate spellings and/or listing formats to customers lacking details or complete data. They are often called upon to offer special assistance to persons such as those who are unable to dial or who are in emergency situations. They also perform clerical duties such as typing and sorting mail. They are sometimes expected to 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. Somewhat less frequently, telephone operators are also expected to promote company products and savings plans when appropriate.

Telephone operators sometimes are asked to promote company products and savings plans when appropriate. They also have to be able to furnish assistance for customers with special billing requests and observe signal lights on switchboards, and dial or press buttons to make connections. And finally, they sometimes have to furnish relay service for hearing-impaired users.

Like many other jobs, telephone operators must be able to deal with stress and deal with situations calmly and have exceptional integrity.

Similar jobs with educational opportunities in Seattle include:

  • Computer Systems Support Specialist. Monitor and control electronic computer and peripheral electronic data processing equipment to process business, scientific, and other data according to operating instructions. May enter commands at a computer terminal and set controls on computer and peripheral devices. Monitor and respond to operating and error messages.
  • Customer Care Specialist. Interact with customers to provide information in response to inquiries about products and services and to handle and resolve complaints.
  • Front Desk Manager. Accommodate hotel, motel, and resort patrons by registering and assigning rooms to guests, issuing room keys, transmitting and receiving messages, keeping records of occupied rooms and guests' accounts, making and confirming reservations, and presenting statements to and collecting payments from departing guests.
  • Interviewer. Interview persons by telephone, mail, or by other means for the purpose of completing forms, applications, or questionnaires. Ask specific questions, record answers, and assist persons with completing form. May sort, classify, and file forms.
  • Receptionist. Answer inquiries and obtain information for general public, customers, and other interested parties. Provide information regarding activities conducted at establishment; location of departments, offices, and employees within organization.

EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES: Telephone Operator Training

Tacoma Community College - Tacoma, WA

Tacoma Community College, 6501 S 19th St, Tacoma, WA 98466-6100. Tacoma Community College is a medium sized college located in Tacoma, Washington. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 5,942 students. Tacoma Community College has a less than one year program in Receptionist which graduated five students in 2008.

Olympic College - Bremerton, WA

Olympic College, 1600 Chester Ave, Bremerton, WA 98337-1699. Olympic College is a medium sized college located in Bremerton, Washington. It is a public school with primarily 4-year or above programs and has 6,596 students. Olympic College has a less than one year program in Customer Service Support/Call Center/Teleservice Operation which graduated six students in 2008.

Renton Technical College - Renton, WA

Renton Technical College, 3000 NE Fourth St, Renton, WA 98056-4195. Renton Technical College is a small college located in Renton, Washington. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 4,708 students. Renton Technical College has a less than one year program in Receptionist which graduated eighteen students in 2008.

Clover Park Technical College - Lakewood, WA

Clover Park Technical College, 4500 Steilacoom Blvd SW, Lakewood, WA 98499-4004. Clover Park Technical College is a medium sized college located in Lakewood, Washington. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 3,781 students. Clover Park Technical College has a less than one year program in Customer Service Support/Call Center/Teleservice Operation which graduated eleven students in 2008.

LOCATION INFORMATION: Seattle, Washington

Seattle, Washington
Seattle, Washington photo by Dschwen

Seattle is located in King County, Washington. It has a population of over 598,541, which has grown by 6.2% in the past ten years. The cost of living index in Seattle, 126, is far greater than the national average. New single-family homes in Seattle are valued at $206,700 on average, which is well below the state average. In 2008, five hundred ninety-five new homes were built in Seattle, down from seven hundred seventy-five the previous year.

The three big industries for women in Seattle are health care, professional, scientific, and technical services, and educational services. For men, it is professional, scientific, and technical services, construction, and educational services. The average commute to work is about 25 minutes. More than 47.2% of Seattle residents have a bachelor's degree, which is higher than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 17.3%, is higher than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Seattle is 7.8%, which is less than Washington's average of 8.7%.

The percentage of Seattle residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 37.3%, is less than the national average but more than the state average. The largest religious groups are the Catholic Church, the LDS (Mormon) Church and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.

Seattle is home to the Berth 5 and the Akli Point Lighthouse as well as Lincoln Park and Myrtle Edwards Park. Shopping centers in the area include Lake City Shopping Center, Westwood Village Shopping Center and Oak Tree Village Shopping Center. Visitors to Seattle can choose from A-1 Motel, Arlington Suites and Marriott Sea-Tac Airport for temporary stays in the area.