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Emergency Dispatcher

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What Does it Take to Be 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.

Life As an Emergency Dispatcher: What Do They Do?

  • Operate and maintain mobile dispatch vehicles and equipment.
  • Record details of calls, dispatches, and messages.
  • Scan status charts and computer screens, and contact emergency response field units to determine emergency units available for dispatch.
  • Monitor various radio frequencies such as those used by public works departments, school security, and civil defense to keep apprised of developing situations.
  • Maintain files of information relating to emergency calls, such as personnel rosters, and emergency call-out and pager files.
  • Relay information and messages to and from emergency sites, to law enforcement agencies, and to all other individuals or groups requiring notification.

Skills Needed to be an Emergency Dispatcher

Emergency Dispatchers state the following job skills are important in their day-to-day work.

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

  • Telecommunications Specialist
  • 911 Emergency Dispatcher
  • Communications Supervisor
  • 911 Telecommunicator
  • Alarm Operator

Is There Job Demand 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.

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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.

Do Emergency Dispatchers Make A Lot Of Money?

The typical yearly salary for Emergency Dispatchers is somewhere between $26,590 and $63,930.

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Emergency Dispatchers who work in California, Alaska, or Washington, make the highest salaries.

How much do Emergency Dispatchers make in each U.S. state?

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 do Emergency Dispatchers Use?

Below is a list of the types of tools and technologies that Emergency Dispatchers may use on a daily basis:

  • 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?

Individuals working as an Emergency Dispatcher have obtained the following education levels:

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How many years of work experience do I need?

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Where do Emergency Dispatchers Work?

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

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References:

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More about our data sources and methodologies.

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