Army Communication Systems Operator full width

You are the internal voice of the Army, operating and maintaining sophisticated communications systems to keep vital command and control systems up and running.

  • Service
  • Specialisation
    Intelligence, IT and Communications
  • Location
  • Starting Salary
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About the role

For a modern army to function, communications are vital. As a Communication Systems Operator you will be working with the some of New Zealand’s most sophisticated communications equipment and technology to keep the Army's command and control systems up and running.

This can include communication channels over short distances, or anywhere around the world using our satellite equipment.

You will learn to set up and operate multi-channel communications, long and short range radio networks and satellite terminals. Out in the field, you could find yourself in a highly mobile radio detachment or possibly a vehicle mounted radio/field line detachment.

Job on base

You'll have the opportunity to work at 2 Signal Squadron, RNZ Signals at Linton Military Camp or 3 Signal Squadron, RNZ Signals at Burnham Military Camp. You may also be able to to work alongside other NZ Army units, as well as the Air Force and Navy. Your role includes your day to day responsibilities as a Communications Systems Operator. On top of that, you will continue your soldier training with weapons, medical and radio/communications.

Job on deployment

Communications Systems Operators (CSOs) are highly deployable, and are employed in a variety of overseas missions and exercises, primarily in support of other units. We currently have CSOs deployed in Timor-Leste, Afghanistan, and the Solomon Islands. Whilst deployed you will operate high tech communication equipment, ensuring units can talk to each other and important information is received and sent at the right time.

"A person that would best fit a Communication System operator is someone that’s a fast learner, they have high standards, and someone that definitely wants a sense of adventure and challenge."

Training and career progression

Career progression

You start with 16 weeks of basic training at Waiouru Army Base, three months of telecommunications training and various other courses to enhance your knowledge and capabilities.


Once qualified you play an important role keeping the Army’s command and control systems up and running.


As your career progresses you can work to become a Signals Instructor.

Basic training

Upon successful enlistment into the Army you are be posted to Waiouru Army base. Here you do 16 weeks of basic military training to find out if you have what it takes to be in the Army, and learn various subjects including:

  • Organisation and Administration
  • Army Customs and Protocol
  • Drill and Parades
  • Military Field Skills and Weapon Training
  • First Aid
  • Physical Fitness


Other training

Royal New Zealand Signals Corps training course

You will start your telecommunications training with this three-month course, where you will learn radio voice procedure, basic information systems and be introduced to some of the Army's communications equipment including the Tactical Mobile Communications Systems.


Junior course

This Course equips you with higher level communication skills including data, satellite and Information Systems skills. You will be taught the theory and implementation of ground base satellite systems. This course also includes the engineering of long range data systems.


Specialist course

These courses are made up of four electives. The electives specialise in Electronic Warfare, UHF Multi-Channel Bearer Systems, Strategic multi-channel satellite systems and Advanced Line Laying Techniques. The Advanced Line Laying Techniques course is associated with civilian qualifications - these being BISCI Installer Level One, Employ Fall Arrest Systems, and Conduct Pole Top Rescue.


Senior courses

These courses are higher level courses which combine trade knowledge gained from the Junior and Specialist courses. Your knowledge of Satellite, Data, and Electronic Warfare will be enhanced to a higher level of understanding.


Trade promotion courses

The Detachment Commanders Course and the Troop Sergeants Course are part of your career progression. They are designed to test your trade knowledge and skills as well as your leadership ability. Base level management is conducted during these courses and enhanced at Unit level.


Management courses

A more advanced course which will train you in the administration, design and management of communications systems. The Communications Information Systems Managers Course is designed to test your management skills and your ability to manoeuvre communications assets on the battlefield.

As your career progresses you will continue to develop your skills and eventually work towards becoming a Signals Instructor. As an instructor, you can be posted to Waiouru, to the School of Signals.

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Salary and benefits

Careers in the Army are well-rewarded, diverse and exciting. As you become more experienced and move up through the ranks, gaining additional skills and qualifications, your salary will rise accordingly.


Starting Salary




Higher Rank

Benefits and allowances

There are many additional benefits to being in the Defence Force, that will make your money go further.

For example, on top of your basic salary you can expect ‘Military Factor’. This provides you with significant extra financial rewards because of the commitment you’ve made to serve your country.

Free medical and dental
Access to subsidised equipment on base
Subsidised food on base
Competitive superannuation, up to 4% with KiwiSaver
Sponsored tertiary study programmes at all levels

Entry requirements

Fitness and Medical
Period of Service

You must:

  • be at least 17.5 years of age due to the requirement to hold a TSV clearance. However, the preferred minimum age is 20 years old
  • be a NZ Citizen
  • meet the citizenship and security requirements to gain TSV security clearance for this trade
  • have no decreased colour perception.


  • some typing ability and computer skills will make your application more competitive
  • a Class 1 restricted driver's licence is recommended, but is not compulsory.

You must have achieved the NCEA level 1 Literacy and Numeracy requirements

Find out more about the NCEA levels and certificate requirements

You must:

  • be medically fit for service
  • colour perception restrictions may apply.

There are strict citizenship and security requirements to gain the required TSV security clearance for this trade.

Find out if you’re eligible here.

Your training is some of the most thorough and advanced in the world. On completion of your training, there may be a return of service period for this trade.

Please contact our 0800 number or talk to your Candidate Experience Facilitator for more information.


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