A communications dispatcher is responsible for responding to emergency calls and sending out authorities to resolve the situation. They answer calls from the public and coordinate police, fire or medical personnel to the scene of an incident. They also question callers in order to prioritize the emergency response and handle emergency calls for public works departments that come in when those offices are closed.

Communications dispatchers earn an average salary of $40,000 annually or $19 per hour. They may use a computer database to look up a suspect's criminal record or to check a vehicle's registration. They also maintain records of all calls and dispatches and deliver messages between the callers at the scene of the emergency, responders, and others who need to be informed.

Communications dispatchers typically hold a high school diploma or a GED certificate. They are expected to have some years of experience as a communications dispatcher or in a similar role. Some employers prefer candidates who have completed certification courses through professional associations and update their training periodically.

What Does a Communications Dispatcher Do

There are certain skills that many communications dispatchers have in order to accomplish their responsibilities. By taking a look through resumes, we were able to narrow down the most common skills for a person in this position. We discovered that a lot of resumes listed ability to multitask, empathy and listening skills.

Learn more about what a Communications Dispatcher does

How To Become a Communications Dispatcher

If you're interested in becoming a communications dispatcher, one of the first things to consider is how much education you need. We've determined that 39.6% of communications dispatchers have a bachelor's degree. In terms of higher education levels, we found that 3.1% of communications dispatchers have master's degrees. Even though some communications dispatchers have a college degree, it's possible to become one with only a high school degree or GED.

Communications Dispatcher Career Paths

Average Salary for a Communications Dispatcher

Communications Dispatchers in America make an average salary of $35,153 per year or $17 per hour. The top 10 percent makes over $47,000 per year, while the bottom 10 percent under $26,000 per year.
Average Communications Dispatcher Salary
$35,153 Yearly
$16.90 hourly

What Am I Worth?


Roles and Types of Communications Dispatcher

There are several types of communications dispatcher, including:



Dispatchers can work a number of important jobs. In fact, did you know they're also known as public safety telecommunicators? Sounds really important, right? They answer emergency and nonemergency calls for police, fire and ambulance departments.

As a dispatcher, you'll most likely work in an emergency communication center called a public safety answering point. Since this is such an important position, you will be expected to be on-call to work evenings, weekends and even holidays. Also, don't be surprised if you have to work long 12-hour shifts occassionally. The people are depending on you!
  • Average Salary: $35,328
  • Degree: High School Diploma

Communications Officer


The primary duty of a communications officer is to support both internal and external communications strategies. He/She writes and distributes content to promote an organization's brand, activities, services, or products. He/She serves as a liaison between the organization, the public, and the media to maintain the organization's image. Generally, he/she creates content, including publications, press releases, website content, annual reports, and other marketing materials. Furthermore, he/she responds to media inquiries and arranges interviews. Also, he/she keeps records of media coverage and compiles analytics and metrics.

Most communications officers hold a bachelor's degree in communications, journalism, or a related field. However, most employers prefer two to five years of experience in a similar role. Candidates must possess interpersonal, time management, analytical, communication, computer, and organization skills. You must be familiar with content management systems and social media platforms. The annual salary ranges between $32,000 and $106,000, with an average of $58,184

  • Average Salary: $40,161
  • Degree: Bachelor's Degree

Telecommunication Operator


Telecommunications operators play an important role in satisfying the rising demands of individuals and businesses. They were very vital when multi-line telephone networks were first adopted. In comparison, although some businesses have moved over time to digital processes, consumers enjoy a hands-on approach more. A telecommunications operator is required to handle incoming calls, gather necessary information, write quickly and precisely, route calls, and monitor conversations when necessary.

There are really no formal qualifications to become a telecommunications operator. Most employers, however, would prefer someone who has experience in the field. Many large companies and emergency services often provide on-the-job training. Bear in mind that his/her position demands outstanding oral communication skills and someone who must be able to work under pressure.
  • Average Salary: $39,381
  • Degree: Bachelor's Degree

States With The Most Communications Dispatcher Jobs

Mouse over a state to see the number of active communications dispatcher jobs in each state. The darker areas on the map show where communications dispatchers earn the highest salaries across all 50 states.

Average Salary: Job Openings:

Number Of Communications Dispatcher Jobs By State

RankStateNumber of JobsAverage Salary
3New York759$37,934
10North Carolina393$28,882
13New Jersey372$37,929
30South Carolina134$25,784
38New Hampshire94$40,886
40New Mexico87$30,941
44West Virginia69$42,689
45North Dakota68$38,682
46South Dakota66$33,047
49Rhode Island60$40,610

Communications Dispatcher Education

Communications Dispatcher Majors

19.7 %

Communications Dispatcher Degrees


39.6 %


27.8 %

High School Diploma

20.7 %

Top Skills For a Communications Dispatcher

The skills section on your resume can be almost as important as the experience section, so you want it to be an accurate portrayal of what you can do. Luckily, we've found all of the skills you'll need so even if you don't have these skills yet, you know what you need to work on. Out of all the resumes we looked through, 11.8% of communications dispatchers listed computer aided dispatch on their resume, but soft skills such as ability to multitask and empathy are important as well.

Choose From 10+ Customizable Communications Dispatcher Resume templates

Zippia allows you to choose from different easy-to-use Communications Dispatcher templates, and provides you with expert advice. Using the templates, you can rest assured that the structure and format of your Communications Dispatcher resume is top notch. Choose a template with the colors, fonts & text sizes that are appropriate for your industry.

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Communications Dispatcher Demographics

Communications Dispatcher Gender Distribution


After extensive research and analysis, Zippia's data science team found that:

  • Among communications dispatchers, 70.4% of them are women, while 29.6% are men.

  • The most common race/ethnicity among communications dispatchers is White, which makes up 72.1% of all communications dispatchers.

  • The most common foreign language among communications dispatchers is Spanish at 88.2%.

Online Courses For Communications Dispatcher That You May Like

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1. Communicating During Global Emergencies


In collaboration with the Rollins School of Public Health and the CDC's Division of Global Health Protection, Emergency Response, and Recovery Branch, this course introduces basic concepts and principles of communicating during a global crisis or emergency. It explores why communication during an emergency is different and the importance of adapting emergency messages to the needs of affected populations. Through sample scenarios, you will get the opportunity to identify information needs and...

See More on Coursera

2. Disaster, Crisis, and Emergency Preparedness Communication


This course will introduce you to basic concepts of emergency management, planning, and crisis risk communication. You will understand the definitions of and operational challenges associated with disasters and public health emergencies. You will identify important components of risk communication, and you will identify and evaluate the ways social characteristics shape vulnerabilities to crises and health outcomes. In completing this course, you will begin to learn about the nature of...

See More on Coursera

3. Wireless Communications for Everybody


This course will provide an introduction and history of cellular communication systems that have changed our lives during the recent four decades and will become an essential and inseparable part of human life. The principles of wireless communication theory are covered with emphasis on the essential concept delivery to non-major learners in the easiest way. Then, it will be covered how such principles are realized and how multimedia services can be delivered in practical LTE cellular systems...

See More on Coursera
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Best States For a Communications Dispatcher

Some places are better than others when it comes to starting a career as a communications dispatcher. The best states for people in this position are California, Oregon, Illinois, and Maine. Communications dispatchers make the most in California with an average salary of $50,927. Whereas in Oregon and Illinois, they would average $49,261 and $46,935, respectively. While communications dispatchers would only make an average of $46,250 in Maine, you would still make more there than in the rest of the country. We determined these as the best states based on job availability and pay. By finding the median salary, cost of living, and using the Bureau of Labor Statistics' Location Quotient, we narrowed down our list of states to these four.

1. Maine

Total Communications Dispatcher Jobs: 81
Highest 10% Earn:
Location Quotient:

2. California

Total Communications Dispatcher Jobs: 1,743
Highest 10% Earn:
Location Quotient:

3. Wyoming

Total Communications Dispatcher Jobs: 54
Highest 10% Earn:
Location Quotient:
Full List Of Best States For Communications Dispatchers

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Top Communications Dispatcher Employers

Most Common Employers For Communications Dispatcher

RankCompanyAverage SalaryHourly RateJob Openings
1City of El Paso, Texas - Municipal Government$42,491$20.433
2Broward Sheriff's Office$40,970$19.703
3San Bernardino County$40,523$19.488
4Salem State University$40,504$19.474
5Iowa Department of Transportation$39,700$19.0911
6Hillsboro County Sheriff$39,542$19.017
8Municipal Court-Criminal Div$38,820$18.665
9Framingham State University$37,998$18.275
10Atlanta Police Department$37,443$18.0015

Communications Dispatcher Videos