MTA Dispatcher: Job Description & Career Information

Apr 17, 2019

Learn what MTA dispatchers do. Find out what you need to do to become one. See what the career and earnings prospects are to decide if this job is right for you.

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Career Definition for MTA Dispatcher

An MTA dispatcher is responsible for overseeing a city's public and private transportation. MTA dispatchers work with police, construction workers, bus drivers, and train conductors to ensure that daily commuting runs smoothly. An MTA dispatcher works for a city's municipal transit authority or metropolitan transit agency and monitors several aspects of the city's transportation. MTA dispatchers oversee both public transportation scheduling and conditions affecting the private commuter. They must be able to understand various communication equipment in order to stay in touch with public city workers, including police, construction workers, and drivers, keep workers organized and keep themselves up-to-date on the city's conditions.

Required Education Training program or certificate
Necessary Skills Organization, communication, technology, ability to read maps, quick thinking
Median Salary (2018)* $39,470
Job Outlook (2016-2026)** -1%-1%

*Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, **O*Net OnLine

Required Education

While much MTA dispatcher training will be on the job or offered directly through the MTA, there are several training programs within business schools that provide adequate training. Business programs offering a certificate in customer service or call center support are the most popular MTA training programs.

Skills Required

MTA dispatchers are required to be well organized, have excellent oral and written communication skills, and basic computer skills. They must also know how to read a map and file reports. Since transportation emergencies can arise, MTA dispatchers must be able to think on their feet.

Career and Economic Outlook

Because most large cities and urban areas have public transportation as well as roads and other infrastructure, MTA dispatching jobs are in high demand all over the country and are mostly unaffected by economic downturns. According to the O*Net OnLine, dispatching jobs (not including those for emergency responders) are expected to experience change at rates from -1%-1% between 2016-2026, and dispatchers enjoyed a median salary of $39,470 in 2018 (www.onetonline.org).

Alternate Career Options

Some skills necessary to become an MTA dispatcher will help prepare you for jobs in other areas.

Production, Planning, and Expediting Clerk

These clerks facilitate the production process, keeping tabs on where materials are, whether or not a project is within budget, and if there's enough staff to complete a job on time. They may handle clerical duties or quality control, scheduling, and purchasing tasks. Production, planning, and expediting clerks are typically high school graduates; on-the-job training is common. This occupation is expected to grow 5% from 2016-2026, per the BLS, and jobs paid a median salary of $47,580 in 2018.

Information Clerk

Information clerks are typically responsible for collecting and disseminating information. For example, those who work in hotels might take reservations, answer guests' questions about area attractions, and communicate issues to housekeeping staff. Court clerks schedule cases and notify lawyers and witnesses. File clerks collect, organize, store, maintain, and retrieve records. Education requirements vary depending on the employer and job responsibilities; they can range from a high school diploma to an associate's degree. On-the-job training is typical. The BLS reports that jobs for information clerks are expected to increase by 3% from 2016-2026. Information clerks earned median pay of 34,520 in 2018.

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