How To Become a Dispatcher

How To Become a Dispatcher

If you’re looking for a new career that pays well and is always in demand, you should consider becoming a dispatcher. Even when the economy struggles, there’s a need for dispatchers. Learn more about the career and find out what you need to enter this unique field.

What Does a Dispatcher Do?

When someone is experiencing an emergency situation, they don’t call the police or fire station directly. Instead, they call a dispatcher. Although there are several types of dispatchers, they all have similar responsibilities. Dispatchers receive phone calls from people in emergency and non-emergency situations. Then, they direct the phone calls to the proper channels. The pay for a dispatcher varies from as little as $19 an hour to $40 an hour.

Perhaps the most familiar type of dispatcher is the 911 dispatcher. These individuals handle phone calls directed to first responders like police and firefighters. However, you could become any of the following types of dispatchers:

  • Transportation
  • Railroad
  • Flight or Aircraft
  • Freight

Dispatcher Duties

A dispatcher usually helps the caller handle their situation until the emergency services arrive on-site. For instance, they might direct a caller to perform CPR. After a call, the dispatcher often keeps track of the status of the first responder.

At times, dispatchers synchronize their responses with other communication centers. They deal with multiple calls at a time and need to operate switchboards. Because this is a stressful job, dispatchers should be calm under pressure and highly organized.

What You Need to Do to Be a Dispatcher

As with most jobs, the requirements for a dispatcher vary by employer and industry. However, most dispatchers need a minimum of a high school diploma or a GED. A majority of the training is on-the-job, and you might need a special certification. Before you become a dispatcher, you should check into your local requirements.

Due to the fact that most of the training is on the job, hiring managers place a strong emphasis on soft skills. Good dispatchers usually have the following traits:

Multi-tasking abilities

Excellent listening skills

Decision-making skills


Ability to work under pressure

Typing skills

Getting Started as a Dispatcher

In some industries, it’s nearly impossible to get a job with no experience. Fortunately, being a dispatcher is relatively easy even if you have no experience. If you have experience working in a call center, you’re more likely to receive a request for an interview or job offer. A call center job gives you the soft skills you need to be a great dispatcher.

With that said, you can enter the industry with no call center experience. Unlike many other careers, this career doesn’t require you to have the training before you receive a job offer. Typically, dispatchers complete the training after they receive a job offer. In some states, the training is 40 hours and requires you to undergo continuing education.

If your state has no requirements, it’s up to the employer to decide if there’s a need for any coursework. It’s likely that a more experienced dispatcher will provide your training. Your training could include all of these topics:

Local geography

Company or agency protocols

Dispatch procedures

System use

High-risk situations

Specific Dispatcher Requirements

How to Become a 911 Dispatcher

Some types of dispatcher jobs require more training than others. For instance, 911 dispatchers usually benefit from having an associate degree or an IAED certificate. 911 dispatchers might need coursework in public safety, telecommunications, and crisis communication. Here’s a closer look at what some of the other types of dispatchers and their requirements.

Police Dispatcher

As a police dispatcher, you need to know how to handle emergencies. You also need to know about law enforcement protocols and their communication systems. Before you obtain a job in this field, you need a background check and polygraph. If you want to stand out from other applicants, you could benefit from having an IAED PPDS certificate.

Truck Dispatcher

A freight or truck dispatcher doesn’t deal with life-or-death situations, but they still have a stressful job. If you want a job in this field, you should have some customer service experience. The NDFCA has a certificate program that could help you stand out from other job applicants. However, the certificate isn’t a requirement. In the course, you learn the terminology, regulations, and more.

Aircraft Dispatcher

Being an aircraft dispatcher requires a significant amount of education. In addition to needing a high school diploma, aircraft dispatchers need 20 hours of flight dispatch training. Furthermore, they need to pass an FAA practical exam. There’s a minimum age requirement of 21 years and dispatchers must first work as an assistant. Then, after two years, they can obtain a flight dispatcher license.

Although it’s difficult to become an aircraft dispatcher, the job pays extremely well. As an aircraft dispatcher, you could earn around $80,000 per year.

Emergency Dispatcher

Some of the emergency dispatcher certifications are listed above. While the minimum requirements are easy to satisfy, there are other certifications and trainings you can obtain to be more desirable to employers. One such certification is The International Academics of Emergency Dispatch (IAED). Other certifications include the ENP. For an ENP certificate, you need at least three years of experience as an emergency communications worker.

How Should You Embark on the Career?

If you think that being a dispatcher is right for you, there are a few steps you can take to get started. First, you need to determine what type of dispatcher you want to be. Do you have the time it takes to become an aircraft dispatcher, or do you want a dispatcher job that requires less training?

Whatever type of dispatcher job you want, you need to have a strong resume. Think about the skills a good dispatcher needs, and then make a list of the skills that overlap with your own. If you don’t have any experience in communications, you should consider volunteering in a position that would give you that experience.

Once you have a resume, it’s time to start applying for jobs. Spend time researching the employer and preparing for the interview, and you could be steps away from a dispatcher job.

Do you have any presale question to ask?

Lorem Ipsum is simply dummy text of the printing and typesetting industry. Lorem Ipsum has been.