FIND PERSONALIZED JOBS
Sign up to Zippia and discover your career options with your personalized career search.
×
FIND
PERSONALIZED JOBS

CONTENT HAS
BEEN UNLOCKED
Close this window to view unlocked content
or
find interesting jobs in

Log In

Log In to Save

Sign Up to Save

Sign Up to Dismiss

Sign Up

SIGN UP TO UNLOCK CONTENT

or

The email and password you specified are invalid. Please, try again.

Email and password are mandatory

Forgot Password?

Don't have an account? Sign Up

reset password

Enter your email address and we will send you a link to reset your password.

Back to Log In

Log In

Log In to Save

Sign Up to Save

Sign Up to Dismiss

Sign up to save the job and get personalized job recommendations.

Sign up to dismiss the job and get personalized job recommendations.

or

The email and password you specified are invalid. Please, try again.

Email and password are mandatory

Already have an account? Log in

reset password

Enter your email address and we will send you a link to reset your password.

Back to Log In

Company Saved

Answer a few questions and view jobs at that match your preferences.

Where do you want to work?

Job Saved

See your Saved Jobs now

or

find more interesting jobs in

Job Dismissed

Find better matching jobs in

Become A Public Safety Dispatcher

Where do you want to work?

To get started, tell us where you'd like to work.
Sorry, we can't find that. Please try a different city or state.

Working As A Public Safety Dispatcher

  • Getting Information
  • Interacting With Computers
  • Documenting/Recording Information
  • Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates
  • Performing for or Working Directly with the Public
  • Deal with People

  • Unpleasant/Angry People

  • Mostly Sitting

  • Repetitive

  • Stressful

  • Make Decisions

  • $43,017

    Average Salary

What Does A Public Safety Dispatcher Do

Police, fire, and ambulance dispatchers, also called public safety telecommunicators, answer emergency and nonemergency calls.

Duties

Police, fire, and ambulance dispatchers typically do the following:

  • Answer 9-1-1 emergency telephone and alarm system calls
  • Determine the type of emergency and its location and decide the appropriate response on the basis of agency procedures
  • Relay information to the appropriate first-responder agency
  • Coordinate the dispatch of emergency response personnel to accident scenes
  • Give basic over-the-phone medical instructions before emergency personnel arrive
  • Provide advice to callers about how they may best stay safe while waiting for assistance
  • Monitor and track the status of police, fire, and ambulance units
  • Synchronize responses with other area communication centers
  • Keep detailed records of calls

Dispatchers answer calls from people who need help from police, firefighters, emergency services, or a combination of the three. They take emergency, nonemergency, and alarm system calls.

Dispatchers must stay calm while collecting vital information from callers to determine the severity of a situation and the location of those who need help. They then communicate this information to the appropriate first-responder agencies.

Dispatchers keep detailed records of the calls that they answer. They use computers to log important facts, such as the nature of the incident and the caller’s name and location. Most computer systems detect the location of cell phones and landline phones automatically.

Some dispatchers also use crime databases, maps, and weather reports to best prepare first responders for the situations they will encounter. Other dispatchers monitor alarm systems, alerting law enforcement or fire personnel when a crime or fire occurs. In some situations, dispatchers must work with people in other jurisdictions to share information and transfer calls.

Dispatchers often must instruct callers on what to do before responders arrive. Many dispatchers are trained to offer medical help over the phone. For example, they might help the caller to provide first aid at the scene until emergency medical services arrive.

Show More

Show Less

How To Become A Public Safety Dispatcher

Most police, fire, and ambulance dispatchers have a high school diploma. Many states require dispatchers to have training and certification.

In addition, candidates must pass a written exam and a typing test. In some instances, applicants may need to pass a background check, lie detector and drug tests, and tests for hearing and vision.

Most states require dispatchers to be U.S. citizens, and some jobs require a driver’s license. Experience using computers and in customer service can be helpful. The ability to speak Spanish is also desirable in this occupation.

Education

Most dispatchers are required to have a high school diploma.

Training

Training requirements vary by state. The Association of Public-Safety Communications Officials (APCO International) provides a list of states requiring training and certification.

Some states require 40 or more hours of initial training, and some require continuing education every 2 to 3 years. Other states do not mandate any specific training, leaving individual localities and agencies to structure their own requirements and conduct their own courses.

Some agencies have their own programs for certifying dispatchers; others use training from a professional association. The Association of Public-Safety Communications Officials (APCO International), the National Emergency Number Association (NENA), and the International Academies of Emergency Dispatch (IAED) have established a number of recommended standards and best practices that agencies often use as a guideline for their own training programs. 

Training is usually conducted in a classroom and on the job, and is often followed by a probationary period of about 1 year. However, the period may vary by agency, as there is no national standard governing training or probation.

Training covers a wide variety of topics, such as local geography, agency protocols, and standard procedures. Dispatchers are also taught how to use specialized equipment, such as two-way radios and computer-aided dispatch software. Computer systems that dispatchers use consist of several monitors that display call information, maps, relevant criminal history, and video, depending on the location of the incident. Dispatchers often receive specialized training to prepare for high-risk incidents, such as child abductions and suicidal callers.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations

Many states require dispatchers to be certified. The Association of Public-Safety Communications Officials (APCO) provides a list of states requiring training and certification. One certification is the Emergency Medical Dispatcher (EMD) certification, which enables dispatchers to give medical assistance over the phone. 

Dispatchers may choose to pursue additional certifications, such as the National Emergency Number Association’s Emergency Number Professional (ENP) certification or APCO’s Registered Public-Safety Leader (RPL) certification, which demonstrate their leadership skills and knowledge of the profession.

Advancement

Dispatchers can become senior dispatchers or supervisors before advancing to administrative positions, in which they may focus on a specific area, such as training, or on policy and procedures.

Training and certifications, such as emergency medical technician (EMT) training, can aide those looking to advance. Additional education and related work experience may be helpful in advancing to management-level positions.

Important Qualities

Ability to multitask. Dispatchers must stay calm in order to simultaneously answer calls, collect vital information, coordinate responders, use mapping software and camera feeds, and assist callers.

Communication skills. Dispatchers work with law enforcement, emergency response teams, and civilians. They must be able to communicate the nature of an emergency effectively and coordinate the appropriate response.

Decisionmaking skills. Dispatchers must be able to choose between tasks that are competing for their attention. They must be able to quickly determine the appropriate action when people call for help.

Empathy. Dispatchers must be willing and able to help callers who have a wide range of needs. They must be calm, polite, and sympathetic, while also collecting relevant information quickly.

Listening skills. Dispatchers must listen carefully to collect relevant details, even though some callers might have trouble speaking because of anxiety or stress.

Show More

Show Less

Do you work as a Public Safety Dispatcher?

Public Safety Dispatcher Jobs

NO RESULTS

Aw snap, no jobs found.

Add To My Jobs

Do you work as a Public Safety Dispatcher?

Help others decide if this is a good career for them

Average Length of Employment
Radio Dispatcher 4.1 years
Fire Dispatcher 3.9 years
Police Dispatcher 3.5 years
Emergency Operator 2.7 years
Telecommunicator 2.6 years
Dispatcher 2.5 years
Call Taker 2.0 years
Top Employers Before
Dispatcher 8.8%
Internship 4.9%
Cashier 4.7%
Volunteer 3.6%
Secretary 3.2%
Manager 2.8%
Teller 2.3%
Top Employers After
Dispatcher 8.5%
Internship 5.1%
Owner 3.5%
Cashier 3.2%
Driver 2.3%

Do you work as a Public Safety Dispatcher?

Public Safety Dispatcher Demographics

Gender

Female

63.3%

Male

35.1%

Unknown

1.6%
Ethnicity

White

59.8%

Hispanic or Latino

20.3%

Black or African American

10.1%

Asian

6.2%

Unknown

3.6%
Show More
Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

76.2%

French

4.8%

Gujarati

2.4%

Hebrew

2.4%

Hmong

2.4%

Carrier

2.4%

Hindi

2.4%

Mandarin

2.4%

Arabic

2.4%

Italian

2.4%
Show More

Public Safety Dispatcher Education

Schools

University of Phoenix

21.1%

Kaplan University

7.8%

Columbia Southern University

5.5%

University of South Alabama

5.5%

Pima Community College

4.7%

Rio Hondo College

4.7%

Faulkner University

4.7%

Colorado Technical University

4.7%

San Jose State University

3.9%

Ashford University

3.9%

Troy University

3.9%

Sacramento City College

3.9%

Grand Canyon University

3.9%

University of California - Riverside

3.1%

Rhode Island College

3.1%

University of Massachusetts - Lowell

3.1%

San Joaquin Delta College

3.1%

Florida State University

3.1%

Bates College

3.1%

Bishop State Community College

3.1%
Show More
Majors

Criminal Justice

27.3%

Business

17.5%

Psychology

5.4%

Communication

5.0%

Medical Technician

4.8%

Nursing

4.4%

General Studies

3.5%

Health Care Administration

3.5%

Management

3.3%

Fire Science And Protection

2.7%

Liberal Arts

2.7%

Homeland Security

2.7%

Education

2.3%

Law Enforcement

2.3%

Accounting

2.3%

English

2.1%

Legal Support Services

2.1%

Human Resources Management

2.1%

Law

2.1%

Computer Science

1.9%
Show More
Degrees

Bachelors

33.1%

Other

32.2%

Associate

15.4%

Masters

10.3%

Certificate

6.4%

Diploma

1.3%

Doctorate

1.0%

License

0.4%
Show More

Job type you want
Full Time
Part Time
Internship
Temporary

How Would You Rate The Salary Of a Public Safety Dispatcher?

Have you worked as a Public Safety Dispatcher? Help other job seekers by rating your experience as a Public Safety Dispatcher.

Top Skills for A Public Safety Dispatcher

Show More

  1. Public Safety Agencies
  2. Law Enforcement
  3. Police Department
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Communicated effectively to neighboring local public safety agencies via live broadcast of two-way digital high frequency radio.
  • Entered and monitored warrants and other information pertinent to maintaining law enforcement networks and ensuring compliance with LEDS regulations.
  • Satisfied the immediate informational needs of the police department in both daily operations and emergency situations.
  • Handle incoming emergency and non emergency radio traffic from the officers/deputies.
  • Prioritized incidents based on nature and determined urgency with subsequent reporting/transfer to appropriate emergency response providers including police and fire departments.

How Would You Rate Working As a Public Safety Dispatcher?

Are you working as a Public Safety Dispatcher? Help us rate Public Safety Dispatcher as a Career.

Top Public Safety Dispatcher Employers

Show More

Jobs From Top Public Safety Dispatcher Employers

Public Safety Dispatcher Videos

A look inside the Emirates Airline control room

File for the Public Safety Dispatcher (Spanish Speaking) Exam by 09-11-14.

From Entry Level to $130,000 a Year - Load Dispatcher career

Related to your recently viewed content