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Communications operator

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Summary of occupation

Communications operators maintain, adjust and repair electronic equipment and also transmit and receive radio messages.

Equipment can include commercial and office machines, video and audio equipment, and electronic instruments and control systems.

ANZSCO description: Transmits and receives radio messages by use of morse code, voice and radio teletype.
Alternative names: Business Machine Mechanic, Electronic Equipment Trades Worker, Electronic Instrument Trades Worker
Specialisations: Business equipment technicians, Communication Information Systems Sailor (Navy), Communications and Information Systems Controller (Air Force), Computer Hardware Service Technician, Operator Specialist Communications (Army)
Job prospects: Average
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Knowledge, skills and attributes

Communications operators need:

  • to apply knowledge of electrical, electronic, mechanical, hydraulic and pneumatic principles in commissioning and maintaining control systems
  • to enjoy working with electrical, electronic and mechanical systems
  • to enjoy solving practical problems
  • good hand-eye coordination
  • good eyesight (may be corrected) and normal colour vision
  • good communication skills
  • to enjoy working with computers
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Working conditions

Communications operators work for business machine and equipment manufacturing, sales, hire or service firms. They may also work for independent providers of machine maintenance service.

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Salary details

On average, electronics trades workers, which includes communication operators, can expect to earn between $1 000 and $1 249 per week ($52 000 and $64 999 per year), depending on the organisation they work for, and their level of experience. As a communications operator develops their skills, their earning potential will generally increase.

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Tools and technologies

A communications operator may use: spanners; wrenches; Allen keys; screw drivers; vernier and calliper gauges; taps and dies; assorted drifts, punches and chisels; hammers; drills; pullers and extractors and diagnostic tools, such as ammeter/voltmeter. Compressors may be used to power machines and air tools to minimise risk of fire.

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Education and training/entrance requirements

To become a communications operator you usually need to complete a qualification in electronics and communications.

The Certificate IV in Electronics and Communications is offered at TAFE Colleges and other registered organisations throughout Western Australia.

You can also complete an apprenticeship or traineeship. The electronics and communications traineeship usually takes 12 months to complete.

​The electronic servicing (communications) or (digital) apprenticeships usually take 48 months to complete and are available as school-based apprenticeships.

Related courses

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Apprenticeships and traineeships

As an apprentice or trainee, you enter into a formal training contract with an employer. You spend most of your time working and learning practical skills on the job and you spend some time undertaking structured training with a registered training provider of your choice. They will assess your skills and when you are competent in all areas, you will be awarded a nationally recognised qualification.

If you are still at school you can access an apprenticeship through your school. You generally start your school based apprenticeship by attending school three days a week, spending one day at a registered training organisation and one day at work. Talk to your school's VET Co-ordinator to start your training now through VET in Schools. If you get a full-time apprenticeship you can apply to leave school before reaching the school leaving age.

If you are no longer at school you can apply for an apprenticeship or traineeship and get paid while you learn and work.

Related apprenticeships

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Recognition of prior learning

If you think you already have some of the skills or competencies, obtained either through non-formal or informal learning, you may be able to gain credit through recognition of prior learning.

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