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Dispatcher Job Description

The responsibilities of a dispatcher can vary depending on the industry, so the job can differ greatly from employer to employer.

Dispatchers working for emergency services are also called public safety communicators.

They are some of the most focused employees out there.

This is an important skill for all dispatchers, whether they are employed in security, logistics, a tow truck company, or airport.

Read on to find out more details about the job of a dispatcher.

What Does A Dispatcher Do

In this article, our primary focus is on the job of an emergency dispatcher.

However, you will also discover various aspects of the industries that distinguish one dispatcher position from another.

Whether it’s the police or a transportation dispatcher, there are some responsibilities that remain common across the industries.

However, the job of an EMS usually comes with more responsibilities and stress.

Dispatcher job


  • Operating a multi-line console telephone system.
  • Determining and assigning the levels of priority of codes.
  • Operating a radio console, alert systems, and computer equipment.
  • Operating a TDD system for the hearing impaired.
  • Assigning appropriate codes to the information.
  • Entering data into the computers.
  • Performing crisis intervention and emergency medical dispatch services.
  • Providing instructions before the emergency response team arrives.
  • Handling the responding and reception of a wide range of emergency and non-emergency services and complaints.
  • Asking questions and determining the situation of a caller through analysis, anticipation, and interpretation.
  • Providing information and helping solve problems.
  • Dispatching emergency services and coordinating the public safety agencies’ response when needed.
  • Identifying the apparatus, numbers, or equipment to use in various situations.
  • Entering and changing information in local, state, and national computer databases.
  • Monitoring and responding to alarms and technical systems.

Essential Skills


Dispatchers should develop and maintain cooperative and professional relations with colleagues, supervisors, and employees from other departments.


Dispatchers should have excellent listening skills, good hearing, and clear speech.

They should communicate effectively and be able to follow instructions.


Dispatchers should evaluate situations, use judgment, establish priorities, and quickly resolve issues.

They should be confident, reasonable, and logical when approaching problems and reaching conclusions.


Dispatchers should be able to write clearly without any spelling mistakes.

This is an essential aspect of the dispatcher job.

They also have to be able to follow instructions, pass the information, and establish priorities.

How to Become a Dispatcher

First off, dispatchers need a high school diploma and a certification.

In some states, however, there is also a range of personal and technical requirements to be met if you want to be considered for the position.

The skills and education and training requirements are the same for different types of dispatchers, including flight dispatchers, towing company dispatchers, safety supervising or EMS dispatchers.

Training and Qualifications

Most companies offer on-the-job training to their dispatchers, despite the type of the company.

Even if the applicants have experience as a dispatcher, procedures can differ from one company to another.

One of the most significant dispatcher training takes place for the future 9-1-1 dispatchers.

Those who pursue the certification can take a training program through a national association or state, or both.


For this job, the experience isn’t required, but it can make a difference.

The EMS dispatch, for instance, usually hires employees who can work under pressure and know what they are doing.

So, while the experience isn’t mandatory, it can be highly advantageous in certain instances.

For other dispatcher jobs, experience plays a minor role.

Employers pay more attention to the personal skills of candidates.

When it isn’t a question of life or death, employers prefer qualified people who will get the job done over those who are effective and straight-to-the-point.

Working Hours

Dispatchers for police, fire departments, and ambulance work in a stressful environment.

This is because of the calls they receive as well as chaotic schedules.

The hours can be long and tiring and with the constant need for emergency services, so the job of a dispatcher can be exhausting.

Emergency dispatchers receive a lot of overtime and have to work on weekends, holidays, and at night.

The most common shift duration is 12 hours.

The hours of other types of dispatchers depend on the company.

Also, the experience can influence that as well.

A dispatch manager can have a reduced workday and more favorable hours rather than an assistant.

Despite the workplace (EMS, courier services, airlines, warehouse, or HVAC), dispatchers should be available all the time.

With the long working days and stressful environment, dispatchers need quick reflexes, nerves of steel, and quick wit.

Career Outlook

The employment level of dispatchers in the Police, Ambulance, and Fire departments should grow by 8%, which is equal to the national average.

However, there is a high quitting rate in the occupation due to the high levels of stress, low pay, and competitive environment.

That, on the other hand, creates opportunities for new hires, so the positions of emergency dispatchers are always available.

Typically, emergency dispatchers should have a high school diploma.

Some states, though, require them to also hold a certification.

The median salary is $39,476, but dispatchers can learn how to do the job within days and master over time.


A dispatcher is probably the most stressful job out there, and it can take a lot out of anybody.

This job isn’t easy since employees need to have a set of personal traits to succeed.

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