Police, Fire, and Ambulance Dispatchers
SOC: 43-5031.00


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.

National Salary Information:

Hourly Statistics:

Annual Statistics:

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics 2015 wage data.

Employment Projections:

Employment (2014):
102,000 employed

Projected (2024):
99,000 employed

Projected growth (2014-2024)

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics 2015 2014-2024 employment projections external site. "Projected growth" represents the estimated change in total employment over the projections period (2014-2024). "Projected job openings" represent openings due to growth and replacement.

Alternate Titles:

  • 911 Dispatcher
  • 911 Emergency Dispatcher
  • 911 Emergency Services Dispatcher
  • 911 Operator (Nine One One Operator)
  • 911 Public Safety Dispatcher
  • 911 Telecommunicator
  • Alarm Operator
  • Call Person
  • Call Taker
  • Communications Officer
  • Communications Operator
  • Communications Specialist
  • Communications Supervisor
  • Dispatch Manager
  • Dispatcher
  • Electronic Telecommunication Dispatcher (ETD)
  • Emergency Communications Dispatcher
  • Emergency Communications Officer (ECO)
  • Emergency Communications Operator (ECO)
  • Emergency Communications Technician
  • Emergency Medical Dispatcher
  • Emergency Operator
  • Emergency Telecommunications Dispatcher (ETD)
  • Emergency Vehicle Dispatcher
  • Fire Dispatcher
  • Fire Fighters Dispatcher
  • Forest Fire Fighters Dispatcher
  • Law Enforcement Technician
  • Medical Dispatcher
  • Patrol Telecommunicator
  • Police Communications Dispatcher
  • Police Communications Operator
  • Police Dispatcher
  • Police Radio Dispatcher
  • Protective Signal Operator
  • Public Safety Dispatcher
  • Public Safety Telecommunicator
  • Radio Dispatcher
  • Telecommunications Specialist
  • Telecommunicator

  • Job Zone Two: Some Preparation Needed


    Some previous work-related skill, knowledge, or experience is usually needed. For example, a teller would benefit from experience working directly with the public.


    These occupations usually require a high school diploma.

    Job Training:

    Employees in these occupations need anywhere from a few months to one year of working with experienced employees. A recognized apprenticeship program may be associated with these occupations.

    Required Skills:

  • Reading Comprehension
  • Active Listening
  • Writing
  • Speaking
  • Mathematics
  • Science
  • Critical Thinking
  • Active Learning
  • Learning Strategies
  • Monitoring
  • Social Perceptiveness
  • Coordination
  • Persuasion
  • Negotiation
  • Instructing
  • Service Orientation
  • Complex Problem Solving
  • Operations Analysis
  • Technology Design
  • Programming
  • Operation Monitoring
  • Operation and Control
  • Troubleshooting
  • Quality Control Analysis
  • Judgment and Decision Making
  • Systems Analysis
  • Systems Evaluation
  • Time Management
  • Management of Financial Resources
  • Management of Material Resources
  • Management of Personnel Resources

  • Knowledge Used:

  • Administration and Management
  • Clerical
  • Customer and Personal Service
  • Personnel and Human Resources
  • Computers and Electronics
  • Mechanical
  • Mathematics
  • Chemistry
  • Psychology
  • Sociology and Anthropology
  • Geography
  • Medicine and Dentistry
  • Therapy and Counseling
  • Education and Training
  • English Language
  • Foreign Language
  • Philosophy and Theology
  • Public Safety and Security
  • Law and Government
  • Telecommunications
  • Communications and Media
  • Transportation

  • Tasks:

  • Determine response requirements and relative priorities of situations, and dispatch units in accordance with established procedures.
  • Record details of calls, dispatches, and messages.
  • Question callers to determine their locations, and the nature of their problems to determine type of response needed.
  • Enter, update, and retrieve information from teletype networks and computerized data systems regarding such things as wanted persons, stolen property, vehicle registration, and stolen vehicles.
  • Scan status charts and computer screens, and contact emergency response field units to determine emergency units available for dispatch.
  • 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.
  • Maintain access to, and security of, highly sensitive materials.
  • Observe alarm registers and scan maps to determine whether a specific emergency is in the dispatch service area.
  • Maintain files of information relating to emergency calls such as personnel rosters, and emergency call-out and pager files.
  • Monitor various radio frequencies such as those used by public works departments, school security, and civil defense to keep apprised of developing situations.
  • Learn material and pass required tests for certification.
  • Read and effectively interpret small-scale maps and information from a computer screen to determine locations and provide directions.
  • Answer routine inquiries, and refer calls not requiring dispatches to appropriate departments and agencies.
  • Provide emergency medical instructions to callers.
  • Monitor alarm systems to detect emergencies such as fires and illegal entry into establishments.
  • Test and adjust communication and alarm systems, and report malfunctions to maintenance units.
  • Operate and maintain mobile dispatch vehicles and equipment.

  • Tools & Technology:

  • Automatic call distributing ACD consoles
  • Base station radios
  • Desktop computers
  • Digital recording equipment
  • Intercom systems
  • Mainframe computers
  • Mainframe terminals
  • Mobile data computers
  • Multi-line telephone systems
  • Personal computers
  • Radio scanners
  • Switchboards
  • Telecommunication devices TDD
  • Teletype terminals
  • Two way radios
  • 911 system information databases
  • Computer aided dispatch software
  • Corel WordPerfect Office Suite
  • Law enforcement information databases
  • Microsoft Excel
  • Microsoft Office software
  • Microsoft PowerPoint
  • Microsoft Word
  • National Crime Information Center NCIC database
  • National Law Enforcement Telecommunications System NLETS
  • Spillman Technologies Spillman Computer-Aided Dispatch
  • Web browser software

  • office and administrative support

    industry stats

    SOC: 43-0000

    Total Employed: 21,846,420

    Average Annual Salary: $36,330