Work as a dispatcher!

Last updated: April 25, 2024
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Ashley Wilson
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Content Manager at Jobcase
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Work as a dispatcher!
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Dispatchers work in a range of industries, receiving phone calls and dispatching vehicles.

For example, emergency services rely heavily on dispatchers. There are currently 98,000 fire, ambulance, and police dispatchers in the U.S., with job growth set to rise by 6% in the next 10 years.

If you're looking for a new career, you may want to apply for a job as a dispatcher.

Not sure what a dispatcher does? In this article, we'll explain the role and the types of responsibilities you can expect in this job position.

And we'll tell you about the skills you need and the minimum education requirements. Plus, we'll give you our top dispatcher resume tips.

What is a dispatcher?

Dispatchers communicate with drivers and schedule their movements.

In logistics, dispatchers work closely with trains, planes, and truck drivers to make sure they get to their destination safely and on time. They schedule pickups and deliveries and monitor delays, breakdowns, and efficiency.

Dispatchers also work in emergency services. An emergency dispatcher coordinates police officers, paramedics, and firefighters. They take phone calls and forward the details to the relevant service.

You may also find dispatchers working for taxi services, tradespeople such as plumbers and electricians, internet technicians, and food delivery companies.

What skills do you need to be a dispatcher?

Some of the dispatcher skills you'll need include excellent communication, problem-solving skills, and multi-tasking skills.

You'll need to be confident talking on the phone, writing reports, and managing people.

Dispatchers need good computer skills and a high accuracy rate in word processing. You should also have good time management and be comfortable working with little supervision.

To be a reliable dispatcher, you'll need to be able to coordinate and schedule transport and make changes to routes at short notice.

To work as an emergency services dispatcher, you'll need to be empathetic and calm under pressure. Often, callers will be distressed, so you need to have good listening skills and a patient nature.

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What are the responsibilities of a dispatcher?

Working as a dispatcher comes with a number of responsibilities. Let's take a look at five of the top dispatcher duties:

1. Receiving calls

If the dispatcher works in an industry with incoming calls, they'll be the first point of contact. For example, they may work for emergency services, field units, a courier company, or a taxi service.

They have strong communication skills and a professional phone manner. When they answer a call, they'll ask questions to determine what the next step may be.

911 operators will often receive calls from people in emergencies. They need to find out what's wrong and what type of help to send.

Dispatchers working in fleet management may answer queries or take bookings.

2. Dispatching vehicles

Dispatchers have to manage who goes where and when. They'll give their drivers clear instructions, including names, addresses, and the purpose for their visit.

They'll be conscious of the workload of their team and the distances they have to travel. For example, if it's an urgent delivery, they'll choose the closest driver to that location.

They may need to send a nearby police officer to a crime or a taxi driver to a pickup. If they can't schedule the jobs ahead of time, they'll need to give their team instructions while on the road.

In industries that operate 24 hours a day, dispatchers need to be available for shift work.

3. Scheduling

Dispatchers need to manage a busy schedule. They take customer bookings and requests and add them to the hourly, daily, weekly, or monthly calendar.

They need to estimate the length of each job and determine the location and type of vehicle that they should send.

For example, a trucking company may deliver building supplies to worksites. They'll need to send different vehicles and drivers for concrete, sand, or bricks.

Traffic, road incidents, and breakdowns can cause interruptions to the schedule, so dispatchers need to be flexible.

4. Using technology

Dispatchers rely on technology to schedule and communicate with their drivers. They may use computer-aided dispatch software and phones with headsets.

The computer system may create automatic call logs and come with calendars and a customer address book.

Dispatchers often have access to multiple screens. The screens may display maps, personal details, and route information.

The job can include data entry, as dispatchers may need to record details after each call.

5. Relaying messages

When the dispatcher takes calls, they may have messages to relay.

For example, they may answer emergency calls and need to explain the medical situation to police officers or ambulance drivers.

Or, if they're working with a truck company, they may need to change the route or add extra stops depending on customer demand.

Dispatchers need good listening and communication skills. Otherwise, they could accidentally give the wrong information.

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How much does a dispatcher make?

The rate you can earn as a dispatcher depends on the industry and whether it’s a government or private company.

In the U.S., the median annual salary for an emergency dispatcher is $43,290, or $20.82 per hour.

For other industries, the average yearly salary is $44,860, or $21.57 per hour.

What are the education requirements to be a dispatcher?

To be a dispatcher, you'll need a high school diploma or GED. You may also need to pass a health check, background check, and drug test.

Most positions come with on-the-job training and supervision from an experienced operator.

Top resume tips for dispatcher jobs

Do you see yourself as a dispatcher? Show hiring managers that you're an ideal candidate with these top resume tips:

  • Include the job title in your cover letter

  • Read the dispatcher job description and change your resume to suit

  • Add soft skills such as good communication, listening, and time management

  • List your work history in chronological order

  • Give an example of a time when you had to work under pressure

  • Include any relevant computer skills

  • Check your resume for spelling and grammatical errors

  • Highlight any experience you have in customer service or call centers

Dispatcher jobs hiring now

There may be dispatcher job vacancies in your area right now. You can browse job postings on Jobcase from different industries:

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Working as a dispatcher

Dispatchers can have a rewarding career. It can be a busy work environment, and you'll need good organization and motivation, as well as the confidence to talk to others.

Want more tips and expert advice during your job search? Check out Jobcase’s resource section.

Would YOU consider working as a dispatcher?



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