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Emergency Dispatcher

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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.

Forecasted Number of Jobs for Emergency Dispatchers in U.S.

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.

Salary Ranges for Emergency Dispatchers

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
Alabama $32,280
Alaska $59,640
Arizona $41,310
Arkansas $29,660
California $65,530
Colorado $48,710
Connecticut $55,520
Delaware $44,980
District of Columbia $50,600
Florida $42,300
Georgia $32,480
Hawaii $46,990
Idaho $39,070
Illinois $52,010
Indiana $37,360
Iowa $47,680
Kansas $34,930
Kentucky $35,660
Louisiana $33,530
Maine $40,920
Maryland $47,380
Massachusetts $49,090
Michigan $42,510
Minnesota $56,490
Mississippi $26,930
Missouri $36,960
Montana $39,310
Nebraska $37,420
Nevada $53,140
New Hampshire $45,230
New Jersey $47,480
New Mexico $36,600
New York $47,600
North Carolina $35,720
North Dakota $44,490
Ohio $44,480
Oklahoma $31,500
Oregon $56,220
Pennsylvania $40,980
Rhode Island $47,740
South Carolina $32,660
South Dakota $36,430
Tennessee $36,940
Texas $38,740
Utah $38,430
Vermont $45,180
Virginia $39,000
Washington $57,440
West Virginia $30,320
Wisconsin $44,130
Wyoming $41,590

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?

Emergency Dispatcher Degree Level

What work experience do I need to become an Emergency Dispatcher?

Emergency Dispatcher Work Experience

Where Emergency Dispatchers Work

Emergency Dispatcher Sectors

The table below shows some of the most common industries where those employed in this career field work.

Emergency Dispatcher Industries

References:

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More about our data sources and methodologies.

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