Research the requirements to become a public safety or emergency response dispatcher. Learn about the job description and duties, and read the step-by-step process to start a career in dispatching.

Here are the steps to becoming a police dispatcher:
  1. Complete high school. Police dispatchers must have at least a high school diploma or GED. …
  2. Gain relevant experience. Police dispatchers need to be at least 18 years of age. …
  3. Develop vital skills. …
  4. Pass a background check. …
  5. Obtain certifications. …
  6. Finish on-the-job training.

How to Become a Truck Dispatcher

What does a dispatcher do?

Depending on where a dispatcher works, their duties and job responsibilities can vary, but commonly, emergency dispatchers take on several key responsibilities for the agencies they work in:

What is a dispatcher?

Dispatchers, or 911 operators and emergency dispatchers, play an important role within law enforcement, fire department and emergency services. These professionals receive incoming emergency phone calls and prioritize these calls based on the urgency of the situation. They frequently communicate with callers to provide instructions on life-saving interventions while dispatching the appropriate emergency personnel. They also are experienced in communicating and interacting with others, as this is usually evident in their abilities to stay calm in stressful situations.

Average salary for dispatchers

The following steps outline the basic process of becoming a dispatcher. Depending on the civil sector you prefer to work (such as police, fire or ambulatory services), the skills you develop should focus on your interpersonal, communication and coping skills for stressful situations. Here are the basic steps you can use as a guide:

1. Complete the required level of education

Most agencies require emergency dispatchers to have at least a high school diploma or GED. It is helpful to have some college experience or even an associates degree, but its not always necessary. Just be sure to inquire through the agency youre interested in working for about what educational requirements they may have for their dispatcher role.

2. Develop your customer service skills

Because dispatchers main role is to communicate and interact with the public, its important to develop your customer service skills. This can be similar to a call center employee who relies on their ability to clearly and effectively communicate with customers to help them solve problems. Consider taking a job in a customer-facing role or volunteering within your community to gain valuable experience and skills helping others.

3. Complete any additional required training

Even with extensive customer service experience and education credentials, many states, counties and municipalities require an extensive pre-employment process to qualify candidates for a dispatcher role. This process may include additional training, which can include comprehensive programs that cover topics such as:

Some agencies may require you to take and pass an aptitude test to certify that youve participated in this extensive training. It really depends on the location of your employment.

4. Complete a background check

Most all employment processes for becoming an emergency dispatcher involve undergoing a background check. Especially in the case of police dispatchers, all potential dispatchers must pass their background checks prior to employment. Typically, the background check includes several key elements that employers look for:

5. Gain experience and on-the-job training

The role of an emergency dispatcher is unique and requires a specific set of skills to be successful. When you gain employment as a dispatcher, youll likely be required to complete a probationary work period. Use this period to gain on-the-job training, develop your skills and learn from your managers and team leaders.

Frequently asked questions about being a dispatcher

The following frequently asked questions about being a dispatcher can give you additional insight in what its like to work in this job:

Is there a medical examination to be a dispatcher?

Most public safety and emergency dispatchers must take and pass a medical examination prior to employment. This is because many employers want to determine whether candidates have any conditions that would prevent them from performing their jobs safely and efficiently.

Is there a psychological evaluation to be a dispatcher?

Just like medical examinations, many agencies require potential dispatchers to take and pass a psychological evaluation. Employers use this evaluation to determine a candidates mental and emotional suitability for the role.

Do I have to have prior experience working as a dispatcher to be eligible for the job?

While its not a requirement to have previous experience working as a dispatcher, it helps that you showcase a consistent work ethic. Employers typically look for qualities such as dependability, honesty and the ability to adapt to a changing and fast-paced work environment.

FAQ

What are the qualifications to be a dispatcher?

A career as a 911 dispatcher is fast-paced, hectic, and above all else, rewarding. As a part of a chain of emergency responders, dispatchers are the face—or the ear—of emergency calls to 911. It takes a remarkable person to do a dispatcher’s work, and it is not suited to everyone.

Is it hard to be a dispatcher?

While ZipRecruiter is seeing salaries as high as $55,126 and as low as $16,886, the majority of 911 Dispatcher salaries currently range between $26,818 (25th percentile) to $40,724 (75th percentile) with top earners (90th percentile) making $51,650 annually in California.

Can you make money being a dispatcher?

While ZipRecruiter is seeing salaries as high as $55,126 and as low as $16,886, the majority of 911 Dispatcher salaries currently range between $26,818 (25th percentile) to $40,724 (75th percentile) with top earners (90th percentile) making $51,650 annually in California.

How do I learn to dispatch my truck from home?

While ZipRecruiter is seeing salaries as high as $55,126 and as low as $16,886, the majority of 911 Dispatcher salaries currently range between $26,818 (25th percentile) to $40,724 (75th percentile) with top earners (90th percentile) making $51,650 annually in California.

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