Dispatcher Certification and Certificate Programs
See what classes are often included in dispatcher certificate programs, which offer the training to pursue certification. Learn about the basic program prerequisites, the types of dispatcher occupations, career outlook and continuing education.
Individuals may become a dispatcher for a 9-1-1 system or for aircrafts, among other employers. Certificate programs equip prospective workers with the skills and knowledge to take a certification exam. Program eligibility requirements vary, but may include a background check, a high school diploma, typing test and minimum age. Both emergency and aircraft dispatcher certificate programs highlight core areas, including telecommunications, equipment training and dispatcher procedures. Hands-on learning may occur through simulation exercises.
Emergency Dispatcher Certificate
Emergency dispatcher programs prepare students to work with first responders and other emergency personnel in the event of fires, car accidents and other urgent situations. Students learn 9-1-1 procedures, terminology and requirements. They are taught how to handle high stress situations and to remain calm under pressure. Students learn basic telecommunications procedures and how to operate emergency dispatch equipment. Most programs take less than a year to complete.
Most schools require students to meet minimum words per minute keyboarding rates before entering a dispatcher program. Schools also require students to have a high school diploma or equivalent. A criminal background check may also be required.
These programs combine classroom study with simulation programs to give students an opportunity to practice what they have learned. Topics may include:
- Radio procedures
- Telephone skills and procedures
- Medical dispatching
- Law enforcement communications
- Communication technology
- Emergency services
- Dispatch operations
- Criminal law
- Crisis intervention
Popular Career Options
Emergency dispatcher programs train students to work in 9-1-1 operations centers. Students may also work as a dispatcher for other emergency operations. Possible employers include:
- Police stations
- Fire departments
- Ambulance services
Continuing Education Information
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), states typically have licensing or certification requirements for emergency dispatchers (www.bls.gov). States usually require a specific amount of training and certification or licensing test for emergency dispatchers.
Aircraft Dispatcher Certificate
Aircraft dispatcher certificate programs prepare students to meet Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) requirements as dispatchers for airplanes and other aircraft. These programs teach the technical skills needed to operate air dispatch equipment and to communicate effectively as part of a flight team.
Courses in an aircraft dispatcher certificate program cover the basics of flight patterns, navigation, weather and aircraft operation. Students are taught about the aircraft they are dispatching and the conditions that may occur during a flight that may require dispatch intervention. These programs also contain simulator instruction to provide hands-on experience for students. Course topics may include:
- Aircraft systems
- Aviation law
- Air safety
- Dispatching procedures
- Pilot ground training
- Instrument training
Employment Outlook and Salary Information
According to the BLS, about 26,200 jobs were held by air traffic controllers in May 2008. Most of these jobs were with the FAA. The BLS projected a job growth of 13% from 2008-2018. In May 2010, the BLS reported the mean annual wage for air traffic controllers was $110,280.
Continuing Education Information
To earn the FAA aircraft dispatcher certificate, individuals must complete written and practical tests. The FAA also requires that applicants be at least 23 years old, meet experience requirements and complete an approved training course (www.faa.gov).
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