Emergency Dispatcher Video: Training Requirements and Career Options

Emergency Dispatcher Video: Training Requirements and Career Options Transcript

Emergency dispatchers work to coordinate the arrival of first responders, such as police officers or fire fighters. Emergency dispatcher titles include 911dispatcher or police dispatcher. These individuals are typically the first to handle a crisis call and determine the severity of the situation.


Emergency dispatchers receive and monitor calls that come in from individuals needing help, typically from the police or other first responders. Job titles can range from public safety dispatcher and 911 operator to police dispatcher. Emergency dispatchers are many times the first person contacted when assistance for an emergency is needed.

Job Duties and Skills

Emergency dispatchers are in charge of answering and monitoring calls needing emergency assistance. It is the job of these dispatchers to determine the reason for and severity of the call and dispatch the appropriate emergency professional accordingly. If they are properly trained or certified, emergency dispatchers may also be charged with providing medical assistance over the phone until first responders arrive. Emergency dispatchers are also responsible for keeping records and call logs. They compile reports of all calls and typically use a computer dispatch system to do so. It is important that these individuals have good listening skills, can deduce problems by asking the appropriate questions and remain calm under pressure.

Training Required

Emergency dispatchers typically learn through on-the-job training. It is not mandatory to be licensed as an emergency dispatcher. These workers generally start in an entry-level position and work their way up once adequate job training has been supplied. Depending on the state, specific training or certification may be required. On-the-job training can last anywhere from a few days to a few months, depending on the position. Training in stress and crisis management may also be provided for emergency dispatchers.

Career Opportunities

Emergency dispatchers may find themselves working on holidays, weekends, and evenings. Alternating shifts and work schedules are typically provided so that coverage is guaranteed at the call center 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Emergency responders can work at a police or fire station, a hospital, or even a general communications call center.


Though formal training is not typically necessary to become an emergency dispatcher, it is a profession that requires good analytical, listening and coping skills. A sense of how to handle oneself professionally in an emergency and keep others calm is needed. On-the-job training is often provided, and advancement can occur as skills are further developed and more complex calls and situations are handled.


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