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What is an Emergency Dispatcher?

Example of an Emergency Dispatcher Job 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?

  • Provide emergency medical instructions to callers.
  • Relay information and messages to and from emergency sites, to law enforcement agencies, and to all other individuals or groups requiring notification.
  • 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.
  • Read and effectively interpret small-scale maps and information from a computer screen to determine locations and provide directions.
  • Monitor alarm systems to detect emergencies, such as fires and illegal entry into establishments.
  • Maintain access to, and security of, highly sensitive materials.

Qualities of an Emergency Dispatcher

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.

Reading Comprehension: Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.

  • Emergency Communications Dispatcher
  • Emergency Communications Officer (ECO)
  • Protective Signal Operator
  • Dispatch Manager
  • 911 Emergency Dispatcher

Emergency Dispatcher Job Outlook

There were about 98,600 jobs for Police, Fire, and Ambulance Dispatchers in 2016 (in the United States).

New jobs are being produced at a rate of 8.3% which is lower than average. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts 8,200 new jobs for Emergency Dispatchers by 2026. Due to new job openings and attrition, there will be an average of 10,000 job openings in this field each year.

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

The states with the most job growth for Police, Fire, and Ambulance Dispatchers are Texas, Florida, and New York.

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.

What is the Average Salary of an Emergency Dispatcher

The average yearly salary of an Emergency Dispatcher ranges between $26,590 and $63,930. The median salary for this occupation is $40,660.

Salary Ranges for Emergency Dispatchers

How much do Police, Fire, and Ambulance Dispatchers make in different U.S. states?

Annual Mean Salary by State
State Annual Mean Salary

California

$65,530

Alaska

$59,640

Washington

$57,440

Minnesota

$56,490

Oregon

$56,220

Connecticut

$55,520

Nevada

$53,140

Illinois

$52,010

District of Columbia

$50,600

Massachusetts

$49,090

Colorado

$48,710

Rhode Island

$47,740

Iowa

$47,680

New York

$47,600

New Jersey

$47,480

Maryland

$47,380

Hawaii

$46,990

New Hampshire

$45,230

Vermont

$45,180

Delaware

$44,980

North Dakota

$44,490

Ohio

$44,480

Wisconsin

$44,130

Michigan

$42,510

Florida

$42,300

Wyoming

$41,590

Arizona

$41,310

Pennsylvania

$40,980

Maine

$40,920

Montana

$39,310

Idaho

$39,070

Virginia

$39,000

Texas

$38,740

Utah

$38,430

Nebraska

$37,420

Indiana

$37,360

Missouri

$36,960

Tennessee

$36,940

New Mexico

$36,600

South Dakota

$36,430

North Carolina

$35,720

Kentucky

$35,660

Kansas

$34,930

Louisiana

$33,530

South Carolina

$32,660

Georgia

$32,480

Alabama

$32,280

Oklahoma

$31,500

West Virginia

$30,320

Arkansas

$29,660

Mississippi

$26,930

Tools & Technologies Used by Emergency Dispatchers

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

Becoming an Emergency Dispatcher

What education or degrees do I need to become an Emergency Dispatcher?

Emergency Dispatcher Degree Level

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

Emergency Dispatcher Work Experience

Who Employs Emergency Dispatchers?

Emergency Dispatcher Sectors

References

Bureau of Labor Statistics

College Factual

O*NET Online

Image Credit: Via Wikimedia Commons

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