Individuals looking to work as a dispatcher can get their associate's degree in business administration. These two-year programs help students develop their problem-solving and managerial skills. Prospective dispatchers should be familiar with safety regulations set by Department of Transportation (DOT) and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and have multi-tasking skills. They should be able to identify alternative transportation routes, areas of high-traffic and fare systems in public transportation.
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Associate of Science in Business Administration
A 2-year business administration associate's degree program introduces students to various management and business concepts. Students learn accounting, marketing and decision-making skills through classroom instruction and business internships. This degree allows MTA dispatchers to learn supervisory and project management skills that are essential to transportation dispatching. Some common course topics include:
- Effective speech
- Financial and managerial accounting for decision making
- Rhetoric and composition
- Elementary statistics
- Intro to business information systems
Employment Outlook and Salary Information
As of May 2015, dispatchers make a mean annual wage of $40,210, according to the BLS. It is also reported that from 2014-2024 the job outlook for police, fire and ambulance dispatchers is expected to decrease by 3%.
Typically, MTA dispatchers are not required to obtain licensure or certification. However, some employers may require dispatchers to receive a commercial driver's license or comparable license. For example, dispatchers in California may be required to obtain a General Public Paratransit Vehicle (GPPV) operator certificate.
Dispatch workshops are typically held by MTA employers. These workshops introduce newly hired dispatchers to city-specific OSHA and DOT safety policies, employer procedures and route systems. Continuing education workshops may be held to prepare dispatchers for regulatory changes, while other workshops may be part of longer training or employee orientation programs. MTA dispatchers gain advanced employment opportunities through years of experience. With significant knowledge of public transportation supervision, dispatchers can obtain positions with greater supervisory or management responsibilities. The American Public Transportation Association also provides continuing education and professional development resources for MTA dispatchers, supervisors and vehicle operators.
High school graduates can apply to an associate's degree program in business administration if they are interested in becoming an MTA dispatcher. The program takes roughly two years, and becoming a dispatcher usually only requires an additional workshop, rather than licensure or certification.