what is a dispatcher?

A dispatcher works in an organization's communications department. Your job as a dispatcher is to receive and pass information to different people. As a dispatcher, you coordinate operations with customers and drivers to help ensure that drivers deliver services on time.

Dispatchers carry out many duties. For instance, you respond to non-emergency and emergency calls from your company's drivers and customers. You also track the vehicles transporting goods to different places and pass messages to customers. When working for a company that supplies products, you send and receive product orders.

As a dispatcher, you work in various organizations. For instance, you can work for the police force or a transport or utility company. You may also work in emergency services or for a taxi company.

When you work in emergency services, it is crucial to stay calm and collect vital information to determine the severity of a situation. The role requires excellent communication and decision-making skills since you weigh a situation and send the appropriate team to assist the caller. Communication skills help you instruct callers as they wait for police officers or paramedics.

Would working as a dispatcher suit your interest in helping people? Then read on to find out what competencies and qualifications you need to thrive in a dispatcher role.

dispatcher jobs near you

average dispatcher salary

The average annual salary of a dispatcher is $46,670, or $22.44 an hour. However, it is important to bear in mind that the average dispatcher salary can vary greatly based on area of specialization, level of experience, and the city or state in which you work.

For example, emergency or 911 dispatchers in the United States have a median annual salary of $41,843 with $33,056 on the lower end, and $52,480 on the higher end. On the other hand, truck dispatchers earn a median salary of $53,077, with $38,760 on the lower end and $70,580 on the higher end. Flight dispatchers enjoy a median salary of $59,065, with $39,975 on the lower end and $84,515 on the higher end.

factors influencing a dispatcher's earnings

There can be quite a lot of variance in the salary of a dispatcher. Your area of specialization, qualifications, work experience, certifications (if any are applicable) and tenure on the job may all factor into your end compensation.

The industry sector and employer also influence your salary. For instance, working in transportation and private security companies has a different salary structure than working for the government.

A dispatcher's salary varies depending on the area of specialization. If you work as a flight or truck dispatcher, you will earn more than emergency dispatchers. Your qualifications and work experience also influence your compensation package. Your salary scale is different if you have specific qualifications or certifications since you can negotiate higher pay. The additional skills you possess improve your earning potential.

The industry sector and the employer also influence your salary. For instance, working in transportation and private security companies has a different salary structure than working for the government.

dispatchers and packers
dispatchers and packers

types of dispatchers

Some of the types of dispatchers include:

  • emergency dispatchers: As an emergency dispatcher, you handle cases associated with public safety. The role usually covers police, firefighters and emergency medical dispatchers. Your job is to obtain information from callers and dispatch the appropriate units to offer assistance. You also talk callers through life-saving medical procedures and safety tips.
  • transportation and service dispatchers: Transport companies rely on dispatchers to respond to service calls and organize transport schedules for various deliveries. You monitor the delivery of materials and coordinate pickups and drops. If you work for a water or gas company, you receive calls for emergency assistance with utilities.
  • flight dispatchers: As a flight dispatcher, you are responsible for monitoring and planning an aircraft's journey. You are in charge of the flight's safety and have the authority to delay, cancel or divert a flight for safety reasons.

working as a dispatcher

As a dispatcher, you perform various roles in different business sectors. Here are more details on the tasks and work environments of dispatchers:


dispatcher skills and education

Some of the qualifications of a dispatcher include:

  • education: You will need a high school diploma or GED, at a minimum, for most dispatcher jobs. However, fresh dispatchers will undergo lengthy on-the-job training to cement the ins and outs of their duties. As an emergency dispatcher, in particular, you will need to obtain CPR and other kinds of certifications. Some dispatchers may prefer candidates with higher levels of education, such as a degree in communications or some college credits.
  • testing: Candidates for dispatcher jobs must undergo psychiatric evaluations as well as testing for computer and keyboarding skills.
  • background checks: Candidates must also pass criminal background checks and checks that look into credit reports, court records and prior employment information, although the nature of these checks may vary by locality.

skills and competencies

Some skills of a dispatcher include:

  • communication skills: It is crucial to communicate with people. That means you require good communication skills. For instance, you should listen keenly and speak clearly. It is also important to use a friendly tone to encourage people to continue talking to you.
  • problem-solving skills: You encounter many issues that require creative solutions, so problem-solving skills are central for dispatchers. When you have these skills, you analyze problems, determine the sources and find solutions.
  • keyboarding skills: As a dispatcher, you type on your computer keyboard throughout the day. You need keyboarding skills to ensure you do not have difficulty doing this. These skills improve your speed and typing accuracy.
  • directional skills: It is crucial to know your area of jurisdiction, including major routes and landmarks. Directional skills help you determine the location of a caller from simple descriptions. They are also essential for directing emergency response teams.
  • compassion: A dispatcher is naturally compassionate and comfortable talking to stressed and panicked callers. When you empathize with the caller, you reassure them and help calm them down.
male dispatcher
male dispatcher

FAQs about working as a dispatcher

Here you will find answers to the most frequently asked questions about dispatchers.

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