What does a dispatcher do?
The duties that you perform as a dispatcher depend on where you work. Many of these professionals work in the public safety industry. As this type of dispatcher, you handle both emergency and non-emergency calls. During emergency calls, you need to keep the caller calm enough to describe the situation and find out what help they need. You also send help through police officers, firefighters, and paramedics as well as provide the caller with first aid help. None Emergency calls come in just as often. You assist callers by telling them who to call for support and giving them phone numbers to other organizations.
Industry dispatcher duties
Dispatchers also work in industries where they assign workers and dispatch vehicles. One example is a taxi cab company. As a vehicle dispatcher, you keep track of schedules and identify which workers are on the job. When someone calls to arrange a vehicle, you assign a driver and vehicle to the caller. As a taxi cab dispatcher, you keep track of where the driver went and what time they should be back to ensure they are safe.
What is the average salary of a dispatcher?
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, dispatchers who work in public safety telecommunications earn a median salary of $22.44 hourly, or $46,670 yearly. The top positions in this field are in the state government. Not including those who work in education or hospitals, they earn $47,940 every year. As a dispatcher who works for your local government, you have the chance to make more than $46,000 a year. If you decide to work as a hospital dispatcher, expect your salary to be slightly lower and in the $38,000 range. Dispatchers working for ambulance services and in the education field earn the least. When you work holidays or overtime, you make more in many states. For example, if you work more than 40 hours per week or eight hours per day, you'll be paid more for those hours. Overtime and holiday pay adds up quickly.
Dispatcher salaries by industry
The Bureau of Labor Statistics also found that the average wages for dispatchers who work in other industries are around the same. Working as a truck dispatcher will help you earn a median salary of more than $49,000 a year, or $24 an hour. Working as a taxi or limo dispatcher means that you'll earn a median wage of around $34,000 a year. Keep in mind that some employers offer bonus opportunities for dispatchers who work at night or on weekends and holidays.
Dispatcher job description
Working as a dispatcher allows you to help others find transportation and to assist callers during emergencies. Learning more about the responsibilities of the job and the work environment will help you decide if working as a dispatcher is the best choice for you.
What are the responsibilities of a dispatcher?
Many of the open dispatcher jobs are in public safety. Working as this type of dispatcher requires that you handle both emergency and non-emergency calls. Emergency calls include life or death situations where the person on the other end of the phone needs help right away. Not only do you need to keep a cool head, but you also need to keep them calm to find out where they are and what they need. You are also responsible for getting paramedics or firefighters and other professionals to the caller's location.
Emergency calls will take up just as much of your time. These calls come from people who do not need help right away but aren't sure who else to call. As an emergency dispatcher, you also need to keep track of calls and maintain call logs. Dispatchers also work in other fields like limo and taxi companies. These positions are less stressful but still require some solid organizational skills. When a customer calls, you take down their information and tell them about the available services. You then help them book the type of transportation they need and make sure that you have both a driver and a vehicle for them.
As an ambulance dispatcher, you'll work with hospitals and doctors along with patients who need help getting between two locations.
What type of equipment do dispatchers use?
As a dispatcher, you use equipment that helps you handle your job duties. Dispatch consoles are a type of workstation that helps you stay on track during emergency situations. You log into your account at the beginning of your shift on a computer at your station. The computer allows you to take new calls as they come in and end calls as you complete them. You use software to find where your callers are if they cannot tell you. You will also use other software that allows you to contact other departments as needed. As a dispatcher, you wear a headset that helps you hear each caller, too. Your headset will have a microphone on it that you talk into. There will also be a landline telephone at your desk as well as a radio system that allows you to speak with the drivers.
What is the work environment of a dispatcher?
The Bureau of Labor Statistics found that 79% of dispatchers work for the local government and another 6% work for the state government. Expect to work in a communications center around other dispatchers. Your employer will assign you a specific workstation that includes your computer, phone, headset, and any other equipment you need. Most dispatchers work indoors and spend little time outside. Working as a transportation dispatcher may require that you check the vehicles that the drivers use to make sure they have all of their supplies. Some dispatchers have the option of working from home, especially those who work for employers with large vehicle fleets. You log into the system before every shift and use your computer to dispatch vehicles. Working as a dispatcher is challenging and stressful. You will receive calls from people who worry that they are about to die. Dispatchers also get calls where you keep the caller calm until help arrives. Dispatchers even talk with callers who found dead bodies or came home to find a loved one unresponsive.
Who are your colleagues as a dispatcher?
As a dispatcher, expect to work with other dispatchers as well as supervisors. Your supervisor is the person responsible for everyone in your department. The supervisor trains you on how to handle calls. They also move around the floor during shifts to offer more assistance when you receive a call and aren't sure what to do. Emergency dispatchers work with firefighters and police officers on a daily basis, too. If you work for a cab company or a delivery business, you'll also work with drivers.
What is the work schedule of a dispatcher?
One of the benefits of working as a public safety dispatcher is that you know your work hours ahead of time because you usually work a set schedule. This is a full-time job that usually requires you to work eight-hour or 12-hour shifts. Some shifts are as long as 14 to 16 hours. Communications centers need dispatchers 24 hours a day to handle emergency and non-emergency calls. Dispatchers work during the day, but some prefer overnight shifts. As a dispatcher, it's common to work outside of your scheduled shifts such as taking calls on a weekend or holiday. To reduce stress, some employers divide holidays among all workers.
What is the career outlook for a dispatcher?
The job outlook for dispatchers is on par with other fields. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the need for dispatchers will grow at the same rate as other positions do, which is 8%. That comes to about 7,800 jobs up through 2032. The public safety field will need more dispatchers than other fields like transportation and education fields. Worker burnout is one reason why there will always be a need for dispatchers. While some workers easily handle the stress of the job, others burn out after a few years and move to a different job. Even as automation grows, the world still needs emergency dispatchers because computers cannot keep humans as calm as dispatchers.
What are the advantages of working with Spherion as a dispatcher?
If you want to know more about working as a dispatcher or are ready to take the plunge and apply for open jobs, Spherion is there for you. You get a contact person who helps you apply for jobs and understand what employers want. The contact person will give you feedback about the jobs that interest you and help you make your resume shine. Some of the other advantages of working with Spherion as a dispatcher include:
- Flexible hours and work environments
- Tons of training opportunities to help you advance your career
- More options when it comes to your schedules
- Weekly payments that come right to you
- A range of available jobs in your current city
What education do you need as a dispatcher?
Communications centers offer on-the-job training for dispatchers. You do not need to go to college to work as a dispatcher. Many employers hire workers who have a high school diploma or GED. Some community colleges and career centers offer programs for students who want to become dispatchers. These programs allow you to complete your training and learn more about working with people in emergency situations.
You usually need a minimum of 40 hours of training to work as a dispatcher, which you'll finish in your first month on the job. Many employers also have a probationary period that lasts for your first 90 days to a year. This allows your supervisors to make sure that you are able to handle the job duties and are an asset to the team. The International Academies of Emergency Dispatch and the Association of Public Safety Communications Officials offer training programs for dispatchers.
Skills & competencies
As a dispatcher working in any industry, you’ll need to have a clear head and the ability to think quickly on your feet. You never know who is on the other end of the line or what type of help they need. Communication skills are crucial because callers are sometimes distraught when they contact you. As you are responsible for sending help and keeping your supervisor informed while arranging for help and talking to the caller, multitasking is essential. Being empathetic and having good decision-making skills are also helpful.
A dispatcher is someone who answers calls and responds to different situations. Discover how to become a dispatcher and find out answers to frequently asked questions about a dispatcher’s job description below.
Are there different types of dispatcher jobs?
Yes, there are different types of dispatcher jobs. In addition to working in the public safety sector, dispatchers also work in education or for the government. Both state and local governments hire dispatchers. As a dispatcher, you also have the option of working in the transportation and construction sectors. While transportation dispatchers arrange for drivers and vehicles, construction dispatchers dispatch workers and tools.
Do dispatchers and operators handle the same things?
Some bigger cities and employers have both dispatchers and operators. The dispatcher is the person who takes the initial call and then assigns it to an operator. Operators working for smaller employers are typically responsible for the same things that dispatchers are.
How do I apply for a job as a dispatcher?
Applying for a job as a dispatcher is easy with Spherion. You can search for dispatcher jobs on Spherion.com by job title and location. If you don’t see the perfect role, you can submit an open application. Once you submit your resume through Spherion’s open application, a recruiter from the office closest to you will reach out with details about potential case manager roles that fit your skill set and professional goals.