What Does a Copy Operator Do?

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  • Written By: A. Leverkuhn
  • Edited By: Andrew Jones
  • Last Modified Date: 21 February 2020
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A copy operator is typically responsible for producing a full range of photocopied materials within an office or business. This job role is sometimes described as an office support or clerical position. It can also be part of a larger administrative role or department according to the size of a business, and how much copying is needed. Alternately, this job role gets incorporated into the role of a secretary, a receptionist, or some other type of clerical worker.

Although it may seem basic, the job of a copy operator can be considerably complex in a large firm; indeed it may almost be akin to running a small printing shop. This individual will generally be in charge of producing black-and-white and color copies in a range of sizes. This requires knowing about all of the specific unique calibrations and command structures for a physical copy machine. Besides being a very large appliance, the average copy machine has many different functions and complex command panels that may require some research to operate correctly. The person in this position may even expected to master several different such machines, and handle basic maintenance for them as well.


In many cases, the job of a copy operator is put together with a few other similar duties. A common job role that involves copy operation is that of a “copy and mail operator.” Here the job of the copy operator is combined with general mailroom work, where the individual may be responsible for producing copies of documents, along with sorting or otherwise dealing with incoming or outgoing mail. Another combined job is the job of a “copy/scanner operator” who is responsible for copying and also scanning documents for digital use.

Another common aspect of some copy operators’ jobs is sourcing for the physical paper that is used for copying. One of these jobs might be assigned along with purchasing responsibilities, where the professional will also research possibilities for sourcing of paper products, ink/toner, and binding materials. This person may also be responsible for ordering parts for a copier or other appliances as necessary.

Jobs for copy operators may be full-time or part-time. Some of these job roles are described as “floating” where the individual will work between different departments. Many of these job positions are optimized to provide a business with the most value for the least cost. That means that there are many different job roles and situations available for individuals who want to work as copy operators.


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