what is a dispatcher?

A dispatcher works in an organization's communications department. Your job is to receive and pass information to different people. As a dispatcher, you coordinate operations with customers and drivers to ensure that goods are delivered on time.

Dispatchers carry out many duties. For instance, you respond to non-emergency and emergency calls from your company's drivers and customers. You also track vehicles transporting goods to different places and pass messages to customers. You dispatch and receive orders when working for a company that supplies products.

As a dispatcher, you work in various industries. For instance, you can work for the police force or a transport or utility company. You may also work in emergency services or for a taxi company.

When you work in emergency services, it is crucial to stay calm and collect vital information to determine the severity of a situation. The role requires excellent communication and decision-making skills since you weigh a situation and dispatch the appropriate team to assist the caller. Communication skills help you instruct callers as they wait for police officers or paramedics.

Would working as a dispatcher suit your exceptional communication skills? Then read on to find out what competencies and qualifications you need to thrive in a dispatcher role.

dispatcher jobs

average dispatcher salary

According to Job Bank, dispatchers in Canada earn a median salary of $45,791 per year, which translates to an hourly rate of roughly $25.30. Entry-level positions attract a salary of $37,050 yearly. As you improve your skills and experience, your salary increases to over $60,388 annually. The earnings of dispatchers fluctuate based on the area of specialization. For instance, an emergency dispatcher in Canada earns an average salary of $48,950 per year, while a logistics dispatcher takes home $50,519 annually.

how to increase your salary as a dispatcher

Aside from the area of specialization, your earnings depend on your experience and educational qualifications. You earn a lower salary when you are new in the role since you have minimal expertise. As your years of experience increase, you are likely to earn more due to your additional expertise.

The location also influences your earnings. For instance, in a large city, you are likely to earn a higher salary due to the demand for dispatchers. In a smaller city, you earn less due to the area's low demand and cost of living.

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types of dispatchers

Some of the types of dispatchers include:

  • emergency dispatchers: as an emergency dispatcher, you handle cases associated with public safety. The role usually covers police, firefighters and emergency medical dispatchers. Your job is to obtain information from callers and dispatch the appropriate units to offer assistance. You also talk callers through life-saving medical procedures and safety tips.
  • transportation and service dispatchers: transport companies rely on dispatchers to respond to service calls and organize delivery schedules. You monitor the delivery of materials and coordinate pickups and drops. If you work for a water or gas company, you receive calls for emergency assistance with utilities.
  • flight dispatchers: as a flight dispatcher, you are responsible for monitoring and planning an aircraft's journey. You are in charge of the flight's safety and have the authority to delay, cancel or divert a flight for safety reasons.
man delivering packages
man delivering packages

working as a dispatcher

If you want to work as a dispatcher, check out the role's specific duties, work environments and career opportunities.


dispatcher skills and education

The education requirements for becoming a dispatcher include:

  • educational qualifications: to work as a dispatcher in Canada, employers require a high school diploma. You are also expected to complete on-the-job training, especially if you want to work as a police or emergency dispatcher. Police and emergency dispatchers require provincial radio operator certification.
  • experience: as a dispatcher, you don’t need extensive experience, but previous experience using multiline telephone systems or working with people in distress improves your chances.

competencies and characteristics of dispatchers

Some of the skills you need as a dispatcher include:

  • communication skills: you require good communication skills as a dispatcher. For instance, you should listen keenly and speak clearly. It is also important to use a friendly tone to encourage people to continue talking to you.
  • problem-solving skills: you encounter many issues that require creative solutions, so problem-solving skills are central for dispatchers. With these skills, you analyze problems, determine the sources and find solutions.
  • keyboarding skills: as a dispatcher, you type on your computer throughout the day. You need keyboarding skills to ensure you do not have difficulty doing this. These skills improve your speed and typing accuracy.
  • directional skills: it is crucial to know your area of jurisdiction, including major routes and landmarks. Directional skills help you determine the location of a caller from simple descriptions. They are also essential for directing emergency response teams.
  • compassion: a dispatcher is naturally compassionate and comfortable talking to stressed and panicked callers. When you empathize with the caller, you reassure and help calm them down.

FAQs about dispatcher jobs

Here, you will find the answers to the most frequently asked questions about the profession of a dispatcher.


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