The United States Bureau of Labor Statistics reports on hospital pbx operator salaries under communications equipment operators. Pbx stands for private branch exchange, the telephone switch exchange purchased by hospitals to manage the large number of telephone lines used in their daily operations. Hospital pbx operators handle a wide variety of incoming, outgoing and interoffice calls, including calls from patients, their families, the general public and hospital employees. They reference department and phone extension listings, multitask while handling calls and present a professional phone manner.
Communications equipment operators, including hospital pbx operators, earned between $20,930 and $55,860 in 2010, according to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics. The average earnings were $36,600. Switchboard operators, answering service representatives, telephone operators and receptionists are occupations in this salary range. Many phone operators start out as part-time employees and are students, retired persons and people engaged in other career activities such as training and volunteer work.
Preparation and Nature of the Work
Hospital pbx operators, like all communications equipment operators, get on-the-job training to learn how to answer calls, use the switchboard equipment to put callers on hold and transfer calls, and reference department and extension listings to refer callers to the right connections. A high school diploma is satisfactory for telephone answering positions in hospitals, and many greeting and reception roles begin as volunteer and part time opportunities. A positive attitude, clear speaking abilities, pleasant phone voice, good memory and organizational skills are required to help callers reach the parties they are seeking. Clerical duties and a knowledge of hospital departmental organization and staff are often part of the job.
The United States Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that developing telephony technology is leading to a 10 percent decrease in telephone operator jobs. In the 10 years between 2008 and 2018, the bureau is estimating 18,000 fewer jobs for communications equipment operators, as well as high turnover in telephone operator jobs. Occupations related to telephone operator positions include customer service representatives, dispatchers, hotel front desk clerks, receptionists and information clerks.
Best Areas to Work
States with the highest employment of telephone operator positions include Florida, Texas, California, Illinois and Michigan. States that pay the highest wages for communications equipment operators include New York, District of Columbia, Virginia, New Jersey and Michigan, with wages between $40,290 and $54,680. Highest paying cities for telephone operators include New York-White Plains-Wayne, New York; Santa Ana-Anaheim-Irvine, California; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; Ann Arbor, Michigan; and Baltimore-Towson, Maryland.