Jobs for Ex-Military Radio Operators

Aug 28, 2018

Ex-military radio operators can transition to civilian jobs that use radio and other communication devices to put airplanes, emergency responders, and radio broadcasts into motion. We will explore jobs that utilize an ex-military radio operator's military experience relaying, receiving and transmitting critical messages.

Career Comparison

Job Title Median Salary (2017)* Job Growth (2016-2026)* Applicable Military Skills/Traits
Announcers $31,500 -9% (Decline) Experience working with communications equipment, verbal communication skills
Police, Fire, and Ambulance Dispatchers $39,640 8% Interest in solving problems, experience communicating procedures
Air Traffic Controllers $124,540 3% Good communication skills, ability to multi-task
Broadcast Technician $39,060 -3% Experience working with communications equipment
Telecommunications Equipment Installers and Repairers $53,380 -8% Experience working with communications equipment

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Jobs for Ex-Military Radio Operators

Military radio operators play a critical role in directing the movement of troops by receiving and relaying information. Radio announcer, 911 dispatcher, air traffic controller, and broadcasting or telecommunications equipment technician are jobs that use radio and telephone communications to receive, relay, and transmit critical information that ensures the safety and security of civilian lives. We will take a look at five jobs that ex-military radio operators can smoothly transition to and utilize their military experience.


Announcers may report radio station program schedules and commercial station breaks or the time, weather, music, and other information, depending on their audience. Ex-military radio operators have experience relaying and recording radio messages in addition to the technical skills needed to operate broadcasting equipment.

Employers expect some prior broadcasting experience, which ex-military radio operators have. Transition to a public address announcer position may be easier for an ex-military radio operator because radio station announcers may need a bachelor's degree in broadcasting or communications to secure employment, while a high school diploma will suffice for public address announcers. Employment opportunities for all announcers are expected to decline between 2016 and 2026 due to the increase in the use of prerecorded segments and a decrease in segments where the announcers speak live. However, public address announcers' employment is projected to actually increase by 2% during the same job growth period.

Police, Fire, and Ambulance Dispatchers

Police, fire, and ambulance dispatchers (also called 911 dispatchers) relay calls reporting crime, fire, and medical emergencies to the appropriate emergency response personnel. Ex-military radio operators have experience receiving messages and relaying responses during operations and missions.

Police, fire, and ambulance dispatchers listen carefully to telephone callers and ask appropriate questions to determine their problem and location. They then use that information to determine the course of action required to aid the caller and get them the appropriate help, all while adhering to established policies and procedures. Most dispatchers need to earn a high school diploma and complete a training program designed to prepare them for state certification. Applicants must pass a written exam, typing test, background check, lie detector test, hearing test, vision test, and drug test. Prior computer experience, customer service experience, and Spanish language skills are desirable attributes sought by hiring managers.

Air Traffic Controllers

Air traffic controllers use radar and computers to keep track of, direct, and control the flow of multiple airplanes into and out of airports. Ex-military radio operators have demonstrated skills in receiving, transmitting, and responding appropriately to multiple messages from multiple service members while following security and safety procedures.

Air traffic controllers keep pilots informed of hazardous conditions concerning weather, visibility, and the presence of other airplanes in their vicinity. They control the landing and take-off of multiple airplanes while preventing traffic jams by issuing appropriate and accurate instructions to many pilots at the same time. They must be able to quickly adjust an airplane's flight path to avoid a collision and ensure the safety of the airplane, pilots, and passengers. In the event of an emergency, the controllers alert airport emergency responders. An FAA-approved associate's or bachelor's degree is one of the routes to employment in this field. Aspiring air traffic controllers can also qualify for positions with three years of related experience.

Broadcast Technicians

Broadcast technicians control the audio and transmission equipment that is used to broadcast radio and television programs. Ex-military radio operators have experience maintaining and operating military communication equipment, including installing lines and wiring to ensure that they are always in peak working order.

Broadcast technicians are in charge of the quality of radio and television broadcasts. They determine the clarity, strength, colors, and sounds of audio and video signals going in and coming out of transmitting equipment to ensure that the radio and television programs are airing appropriately. Most broadcast technicians hired have an associate's degree. Due to the constant improvements in technology, they must often take continuing education courses to keep up with industry standards.

Telecommunications Equipment Installers and Repairers

Telecommunication equipment installers and repairers set up telecommunication devices, such as internet routers and telephone lines, that transmit communication signals. Ex-military radio operators have acquired similar experience when operating sophisticated radio equipment.

Telecommunication equipment installers and repairers service wiring and communications equipment found in telephones, Internet connections, and cableelevision. Using circuit diagrams, meters, and polarity probes, they also test and fix telecommunications equipment and their components. Most employers hire telecommunication equipment installers and repairers who have a certificate or associate's degree in telecommunications, electronics, or a related field, like computer networking.

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