Life As an Emergency Dispatcher
Career Description Operate radio, telephone, or computer equipment at emergency response centers. Receive reports from the public of crimes, disturbances, fires, and medical or police emergencies. Relay information to law enforcement and emergency response personnel. May maintain contact with caller until responders arrive.
Emergency Dispatcher Responsibilities
- Test and adjust communication and alarm systems, and report malfunctions to maintenance units.
- Receive incoming telephone or alarm system calls regarding emergency and non-emergency police and fire service, emergency ambulance service, information, and after-hours calls for departments within a city.
- Question callers to determine their locations, and the nature of their problems to determine type of response needed.
- Observe alarm registers and scan maps to determine whether a specific emergency is in the dispatch service area.
- Enter, update, and retrieve information from teletype networks and computerized data systems regarding such things as wanted persons, stolen property, vehicle registration, and stolen vehicles.
- Provide emergency medical instructions to callers.
What an Emergency Dispatcher Should Know
These are the skills Emergency Dispatchers say are the most useful in their careers:
Active Listening: Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
Speaking: Talking to others to convey information effectively.
Social Perceptiveness: Being aware of others’ reactions and understanding why they react as they do.
Critical Thinking: Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
Coordination: Adjusting actions in relation to others’ actions.
Reading Comprehension: Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.
Types of Emergency Dispatcher Jobs
- 911 Telecommunicator
- Emergency Medical Dispatcher
- Emergency Communications Officer (ECO)
- 911 Emergency Dispatcher
- Public Safety Telecommunicator
Job Opportunities for Emergency Dispatchers
There were about 98,600 jobs for Emergency Dispatcher in 2016 (in the United States). New jobs are being produced at a rate of 8.2% which is above the national average. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts 8,100 new jobs for Emergency Dispatcher by 2026. The BLS estimates 10,000 yearly job openings in this field.
The states with the most job growth for Emergency Dispatcher are Utah, Texas, and Nevada. Watch out if you plan on working in Vermont, Maryland, or District of Columbia. These states have the worst job growth for this type of profession.
Emergency Dispatcher Salary
The salary for Emergency Dispatchers ranges between about $26,590 and $63,930 a year.
Emergency Dispatchers who work in California, Alaska, or Washington, make the highest salaries.
How much do Emergency Dispatchers make in different U.S. states?
|State||Annual Mean Salary|
|District of Columbia||$50,600|
What Tools & Technology do Emergency Dispatchers Use?
Although they’re not necessarily needed for all jobs, the following technologies are used by many Emergency Dispatchers:
- Microsoft Excel
- Microsoft Word
- Microsoft Office
- Microsoft PowerPoint
- Web browser software
- Corel WordPerfect Office Suite
- National Crime Information Center NCIC database
- Law enforcement information databases
- Computer aided dispatch software
How do I Become an Emergency Dispatcher?
What kind of Emergency Dispatcher requirements are there?
What work experience do I need to become an Emergency Dispatcher?
Where Emergency Dispatchers Work
The table below shows some of the most common industries where those employed in this career field work.
More about our data sources and methodologies.
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