what is a dispatcher?

A dispatcher works in an organisation's communications department. Your job as a dispatcher is to receive and pass information to different people. As a dispatcher, you coordinate operations with customers and drivers to help 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 the vehicles transporting goods to different places and pass messages to customers. When working for a company that supplies products, you dispatch and receive product orders.

As a dispatcher, you work in various organisations. 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 interest in helping people? 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 ONS, the average salary of a dispatcher is £23,656 per year with an hourly rate of £12.13. In entry-level positions, the compensation package is as low as £21,551 per year, while experienced dispatchers take home up to £30,000 annually. The compensation package of dispatchers often differs based on the employer and area of specialisation. For instance, ambulance dispatchers often have a salary range of £20,329 to £24,881 per year. Police dispatchers usually earn a higher compensation package at an average of £31,876 per year. Experienced police dispatchers earn over £38,470 annually.

what factors influence the earnings of a dispatcher?

A dispatcher's salary varies depending on the area of specialism. If you work as a police or flight dispatcher, you will earn more than medical dispatchers. Your qualifications and work experience also influence your compensation package. Your salary scale is different if you have specific qualifications or certifications since you can negotiate higher pay. The additional skills you possess improve your earning potential.

The industry sector and employer also influence your salary. For instance, working in transportation and private security companies has a different salary structure than working for the government.

male busy with parcels in a distribution center/warehouse.
male busy with parcels in a distribution center/warehouse.

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 lifesaving medical procedures and safety tips.
  • transportation and service dispatchers: transport companies rely on dispatchers to respond to service calls and organise transport schedules for various deliveries. 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.

working as a dispatcher

As a dispatcher, you perform various roles in different business sectors. Here are more details on the tasks and work environments of dispatchers:


education and skills

Some of the educational qualifications of a dispatcher include:

  • education: most employers require a minimum of GCSEs or A Levels for dispatchers. However, you undergo on-the-job training for weeks or months to learn the procedures and policies of the role. Some employers in public safety dispatch require a degree in communication or criminal justice since you deal with sensitive issues that lead to investigations. You can also gain qualifications from colleges by completing short courses in firefighting or first-aid and CPR.
  • background checks: most employers require you to pass a background check before employment. The checks usually include credit reports, court records and prior employment information.

dispatcher skills and competencies

Some skills of a dispatcher include:

  • communication skills: it is crucial to communicate with people. That means you require good communication skills. 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. When you have these skills, you analyse problems, determine the sources and find solutions.
  • keyboarding skills: as a dispatcher, you type on your computer keyboard 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 empathise with the caller, you reassure them and help calm them down.
male about to distribute
male about to distribute


FAQs about working as a dispatcher

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