To work as a dispatcher, you typically need to:
- have a high school diploma or equivalent; and
- complete moderate-term, on-the-job training.
Education after high school
Emergency vehicle dispatchers may take special courses. You study interpersonal communications, public safety telecommunications, radio broadcasting, and computer operations. You also learn police, fire, and rescue functions.
Some agencies hire paramedics or nurses to work as dispatchers. With this background dispatchers can tell callers how to take care of injured people until help arrives.
Most dispatchers learn their skills through on-the-job training. Training may last from several months to one year, depending on the difficulty of the job. You begin by working with experienced dispatchers. You monitor calls and learn how to operate telephones and data communications terminals. You also learn to use radio transmitters and receivers. Later, as you gain confidence, you begin to handle calls on your own.