Career Development

What Does a Dispatcher Do?

Find out what a dispatcher does, how to get this job, and what it takes to succeed as a dispatcher.

Dispatchers are responsible for coordinating the movement of people and goods throughout a given area. They monitor all incoming calls and determine which ones require immediate attention, then assign and coordinate the response from police officers, firefighters, paramedics, etc.

Dispatcher Job Duties

Dispatchers have a wide range of responsibilities, which can include:

  • Coordinating with other emergency responders such as police officers, fire departments, and medical personnel
  • Coordinating with insurance companies to handle claims processing or investigating claims for damages
  • Determining which units should be dispatched to emergencies based on the type of emergency and available resources
  • Documenting calls received and dispatching them to the appropriate person
  • Listening to messages from callers who have not been able to reach an operator or who have been put on hold
  • Maintaining records of all communications with callers, including all messages and their responses, dispatch orders, and data regarding the status of calls
  • Monitoring radio frequencies to monitor dispatch activities and call responses
  • Receiving reports from officers on the scene of an accident or crime
  • Sending text messages to citizens requesting information about suspects or other individuals connected to an investigation

Dispatcher Salary & Outlook

Dispatchers’ salaries vary depending on their level of experience, the company size and geographic location. Dispatchers may also earn additional compensation in the form of overtime.

  • Median Annual Salary: $41,500 ($19.95/hour)
  • Top 10% Annual Salary: $73,500 ($35.34/hour)

The employment of dispatchers is expected to grow slower than average over the next decade.

Employment growth will be limited by the increasing automation of some types of dispatch work, such as automatic vehicle location and computer-aided dispatch systems. However, these systems will allow dispatchers to handle more calls than they currently do, which should result in increased productivity and offset some of the loss of jobs.

Dispatcher Job Requirements

A dispatcher typically needs to have the following qualifications:

Education: A high school diploma is often a minimum requirement for dispatchers. Some dispatchers choose to pursue an associate’s degree in public safety or a related field. Courses in communications, psychology and criminal justice can be helpful for dispatchers.

Training & Experience: Most dispatchers receive on-the-job training, which may last for a few weeks or months. This training may include shadowing a current dispatcher or performing duties under the supervision of a current dispatcher.

Certifications & Licenses: Dispatchers do not need certifications to earn their position, but many earn certifications to gain additional knowledge about their responsibilities and further their career advancement opportunities.

Dispatcher Skills

Dispatchers need the following skills in order to be successful:

Communication skills: Dispatchers must be able to communicate clearly and concisely with callers, law enforcement officers and other emergency personnel. They must also be able to listen to and interpret information from callers and officers to ensure they send the correct response team to the correct location. Dispatchers must also be able to communicate with other dispatchers from other agencies to ensure the correct response team is sent to the correct location.

Attention to detail: Dispatchers must be able to listen to and interpret information accurately. They must be able to read and write clearly, as they may be required to write messages and reports. They must also be able to listen to and interpret callers’ messages accurately, as this can help them send the right emergency response team. Dispatchers must also be able to interpret maps and other geographical information.

Problem-solving skills: Dispatchers need to be able to solve problems and think on their feet. They need to be able to assess a situation and determine the best course of action. They need to be able to think of alternative solutions if the first plan doesn’t work. Dispatchers need to be able to think critically and make quick decisions that can affect the lives of others.

Teamwork skills: Dispatchers work in teams with law enforcement officers, firefighters and other emergency responders. They must be able to work with others and support them during emergency situations. Dispatchers must also work with dispatchers from other agencies. They must be able to communicate with them and share information.

Critical thinking: Dispatchers need to be able to think quickly and make decisions that are in the best interest of the public and law enforcement. They need to be able to assess situations and determine the best course of action. Dispatchers need to be able to make quick decisions about what information to share with law enforcement and what information to withhold to protect the public. They also need to be able to make decisions about what resources to send to a scene and how to best handle emergency situations.

Dispatcher Work Environment

Dispatchers work in a variety of settings, including police and fire departments, taxi and trucking companies, and public utility companies. They typically work in well-lit, comfortable offices and have access to a variety of communication equipment, including two-way radios, telephones, and computer terminals. Dispatchers usually work shifts of 8 to 12 hours, although some may work longer shifts. They may work weekends, holidays, and evenings, and they may be on call 24 hours a day. The work can be stressful, and dispatchers must be able to handle emergency situations calmly and efficiently.

Dispatcher Trends

Here are three trends influencing how dispatchers work. Dispatchers will need to stay up-to-date on these developments to keep their skills relevant and maintain a competitive advantage in the workplace.

The Growth of Driverless Trucks

The growth of driverless trucks is an emerging trend that is quickly changing the trucking industry. As more and more companies begin to use driverless trucks, dispatcher roles will need to evolve in order to keep up with the changes.

Dispatchers can be a valuable resource for driverless trucks by providing support and training. They can also help to ensure that driverless trucks are safe and reliable. In the future, dispatcher roles may become less important as driverless trucks become more common, but they will still be needed to provide support for other types of vehicles.

More Focus on Customer Service

As businesses focus more on customer service, dispatchers will need to develop skills in this area.

Dispatchers are often the first point of contact for customers, so they need to be able to handle calls and emails effectively. They also need to be able to manage customer expectations and resolve issues quickly. In addition, dispatchers need to be able to track and manage customer feedback to help improve the company’s products and services.

Greater Use of Technology

The use of technology in the workplace is becoming increasingly common, and this is especially true for dispatchers.

Dispatchers can now use technology to manage their operations more efficiently, which allows them to spend more time on tasks that require human interaction. Additionally, many businesses are using technology to connect with customers, which means that dispatchers need to be familiar with these tools in order to provide excellent customer service.

How to Become a Dispatcher

A dispatcher career can be a great way to get your foot in the door of the transportation industry. As a dispatcher, you’ll be responsible for coordinating the movement of people and goods by land, air, and sea. This can include everything from arranging ground transportation for passengers and cargo to planning flight paths and schedules.

To become a dispatcher, you’ll need to have a strong understanding of transportation systems and procedures. You should also be able to work effectively under pressure and be able to handle multiple tasks simultaneously.

Related: How to Write a Dispatcher Resume

Advancement Prospects

Dispatchers may advance to supervisory or managerial positions within their organization. Some dispatchers may become trainers for new dispatchers. With experience, dispatchers may move to larger communication centers with more responsibility. Some dispatchers may become interested in other aspects of emergency management and move into related fields, such as emergency medical services, firefighting, or law enforcement.

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