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Summary Report for:
43-5031.00 - Police, Fire, and Ambulance Dispatchers

Operate radio, telephone, or computer equipment at emergency response centers. Receive reports from the public of crimes, disturbances, fires, and medical or police emergencies. Relay information to law enforcement and emergency response personnel. May maintain contact with caller until responders arrive.

Sample of reported job titles: 911 Dispatcher, Communications Officer, Communications Operator, Communications Specialist, Communications Supervisor, Dispatcher, Emergency Communications Dispatcher, Police Dispatcher, Public Safety Dispatcher, Telecommunicator

View report: Summary  Details  Custom

Tasks  |  Tools & Technology  |  Knowledge  |  Skills  |  Abilities  |  Work Activities  |  Detailed Work Activities  |  Work Context  |  Job Zone  |  Education  |  Credentials  |  Interests  |  Work Styles  |  Work Values  |  Related Occupations  |  Wages & Employment  |  Job Openings  |  Additional Information

Tasks

  • Question callers to determine their locations, and the nature of their problems to determine type of response needed. See more occupations related to this task.
  • Receive incoming telephone or alarm system calls regarding emergency and non-emergency police and fire service, emergency ambulance service, information, and after-hours calls for departments within a city. See more occupations related to this task.
  • Determine response requirements and relative priorities of situations, and dispatch units in accordance with established procedures. See more occupations related to this task.
  • Record details of calls, dispatches, and messages. See more occupations related to this task.
  • Enter, update, and retrieve information from teletype networks and computerized data systems regarding such things as wanted persons, stolen property, vehicle registration, and stolen vehicles. See more occupations related to this task.
  • Maintain access to, and security of, highly sensitive materials. See more occupations related to this task.
  • Relay information and messages to and from emergency sites, to law enforcement agencies, and to all other individuals or groups requiring notification. See more occupations related to this task.
  • Scan status charts and computer screens, and contact emergency response field units to determine emergency units available for dispatch. See more occupations related to this task.
  • Observe alarm registers and scan maps to determine whether a specific emergency is in the dispatch service area. See more occupations related to this task.
  • Maintain files of information relating to emergency calls such as personnel rosters, and emergency call-out and pager files. See more occupations related to this task.
  • Monitor various radio frequencies such as those used by public works departments, school security, and civil defense to keep apprised of developing situations. See more occupations related to this task.
  • Learn material and pass required tests for certification. See more occupations related to this task.
  • Read and effectively interpret small-scale maps and information from a computer screen to determine locations and provide directions. See more occupations related to this task.
  • Answer routine inquiries, and refer calls not requiring dispatches to appropriate departments and agencies. See more occupations related to this task.
  • Test and adjust communication and alarm systems, and report malfunctions to maintenance units. See more occupations related to this task.
  • Provide emergency medical instructions to callers. See more occupations related to this task.
  • Monitor alarm systems to detect emergencies such as fires and illegal entry into establishments. See more occupations related to this task.
  • Operate and maintain mobile dispatch vehicles and equipment. See more occupations related to this task.

Find occupations related to multiple tasks

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Tools & Technology

Tools used in this occupation:

  • Automatic call distributor ACD — Automatic call distributing ACD consoles See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Conversation recording units — Digital recording equipment See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Desktop computers See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Intercom systems See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Mainframe computers See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Mainframe console or dumb terminals — Mainframe terminals See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Notebook computers — Mobile data computers See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Personal computers See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Premise branch exchange PBX systems — Switchboards See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Radio frequency scanners — Radio scanners See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Special purpose telephones — Multi-line telephone systems See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Telecommunication devices TDD or teletypewriters TTY for the physically challenged — Telecommunication devices TDD See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Teletype input devices — Teletype terminals See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Two way radios — Base station radios See more occupations related to this tool.

Technology used in this occupation:

  • Data base user interface and query software — 911 system information databases; Law enforcement information databases; National Crime Information Center NCIC database; National Law Enforcement Telecommunications System NLETS See more occupations related to this technology.
  • Helpdesk or call center software — Computer aided dispatch CAD software; Spillman Technologies Spillman Computer-Aided Dispatch CAD See more occupations related to this technology.
  • Internet browser software — Web browser software See more occupations related to this technology.
  • Word processing software — Corel WordPerfect software; Microsoft Word See more occupations related to this technology.

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Knowledge

  • Customer and Personal Service — Knowledge of principles and processes for providing customer and personal services. This includes customer needs assessment, meeting quality standards for services, and evaluation of customer satisfaction. See more occupations related to this knowledge.
  • Telecommunications — Knowledge of transmission, broadcasting, switching, control, and operation of telecommunications systems. See more occupations related to this knowledge.
  • Public Safety and Security — Knowledge of relevant equipment, policies, procedures, and strategies to promote effective local, state, or national security operations for the protection of people, data, property, and institutions. See more occupations related to this knowledge.
  • English Language — Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar. See more occupations related to this knowledge.
  • Clerical — Knowledge of administrative and clerical procedures and systems such as word processing, managing files and records, stenography and transcription, designing forms, and other office procedures and terminology. See more occupations related to this knowledge.
  • Law and Government — Knowledge of laws, legal codes, court procedures, precedents, government regulations, executive orders, agency rules, and the democratic political process. See more occupations related to this knowledge.
  • Computers and Electronics — Knowledge of circuit boards, processors, chips, electronic equipment, and computer hardware and software, including applications and programming. See more occupations related to this knowledge.
  • Communications and Media — Knowledge of media production, communication, and dissemination techniques and methods. This includes alternative ways to inform and entertain via written, oral, and visual media. See more occupations related to this knowledge.
  • Psychology — Knowledge of human behavior and performance; individual differences in ability, personality, and interests; learning and motivation; psychological research methods; and the assessment and treatment of behavioral and affective disorders. See more occupations related to this knowledge.
  • Geography — Knowledge of principles and methods for describing the features of land, sea, and air masses, including their physical characteristics, locations, interrelationships, and distribution of plant, animal, and human life. See more occupations related to this knowledge.

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Skills

  • Active Listening — Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times. See more occupations related to this skill.
  • Speaking — Talking to others to convey information effectively. See more occupations related to this skill.
  • Coordination — Adjusting actions in relation to others' actions. See more occupations related to this skill.
  • Critical Thinking — Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems. See more occupations related to this skill.
  • Service Orientation — Actively looking for ways to help people. See more occupations related to this skill.
  • Social Perceptiveness — Being aware of others' reactions and understanding why they react as they do. See more occupations related to this skill.
  • Monitoring — Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action. See more occupations related to this skill.
  • Reading Comprehension — Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents. See more occupations related to this skill.
  • Active Learning — Understanding the implications of new information for both current and future problem-solving and decision-making. See more occupations related to this skill.
  • Complex Problem Solving — Identifying complex problems and reviewing related information to develop and evaluate options and implement solutions. See more occupations related to this skill.
  • Judgment and Decision Making — Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one. See more occupations related to this skill.
  • Time Management — Managing one's own time and the time of others. See more occupations related to this skill.
  • Writing — Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience. See more occupations related to this skill.
  • Instructing — Teaching others how to do something. See more occupations related to this skill.

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Abilities

  • Speech Recognition — The ability to identify and understand the speech of another person. See more occupations related to this ability.
  • Oral Comprehension — The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences. See more occupations related to this ability.
  • Oral Expression — The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand. See more occupations related to this ability.
  • Speech Clarity — The ability to speak clearly so others can understand you. See more occupations related to this ability.
  • Information Ordering — The ability to arrange things or actions in a certain order or pattern according to a specific rule or set of rules (e.g., patterns of numbers, letters, words, pictures, mathematical operations). See more occupations related to this ability.
  • Selective Attention — The ability to concentrate on a task over a period of time without being distracted. See more occupations related to this ability.
  • Problem Sensitivity — The ability to tell when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong. It does not involve solving the problem, only recognizing there is a problem. See more occupations related to this ability.
  • Deductive Reasoning — The ability to apply general rules to specific problems to produce answers that make sense. See more occupations related to this ability.
  • Inductive Reasoning — The ability to combine pieces of information to form general rules or conclusions (includes finding a relationship among seemingly unrelated events). See more occupations related to this ability.
  • Near Vision — The ability to see details at close range (within a few feet of the observer). See more occupations related to this ability.
  • Written Comprehension — The ability to read and understand information and ideas presented in writing. See more occupations related to this ability.
  • Written Expression — The ability to communicate information and ideas in writing so others will understand. See more occupations related to this ability.
  • Perceptual Speed — The ability to quickly and accurately compare similarities and differences among sets of letters, numbers, objects, pictures, or patterns. The things to be compared may be presented at the same time or one after the other. This ability also includes comparing a presented object with a remembered object. See more occupations related to this ability.
  • Speed of Closure — The ability to quickly make sense of, combine, and organize information into meaningful patterns. See more occupations related to this ability.
  • Category Flexibility — The ability to generate or use different sets of rules for combining or grouping things in different ways. See more occupations related to this ability.
  • Finger Dexterity — The ability to make precisely coordinated movements of the fingers of one or both hands to grasp, manipulate, or assemble very small objects. See more occupations related to this ability.
  • Flexibility of Closure — The ability to identify or detect a known pattern (a figure, object, word, or sound) that is hidden in other distracting material. See more occupations related to this ability.
  • Hearing Sensitivity — The ability to detect or tell the differences between sounds that vary in pitch and loudness. See more occupations related to this ability.
  • Time Sharing — The ability to shift back and forth between two or more activities or sources of information (such as speech, sounds, touch, or other sources). See more occupations related to this ability.
  • Auditory Attention — The ability to focus on a single source of sound in the presence of other distracting sounds. See more occupations related to this ability.

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Work Activities

  • Getting Information — Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Documenting/Recording Information — Entering, transcribing, recording, storing, or maintaining information in written or electronic/magnetic form. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Interacting With Computers — Using computers and computer systems (including hardware and software) to program, write software, set up functions, enter data, or process information. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates — Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Performing for or Working Directly with the Public — Performing for people or dealing directly with the public. This includes serving customers in restaurants and stores, and receiving clients or guests. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Processing Information — Compiling, coding, categorizing, calculating, tabulating, auditing, or verifying information or data. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Communicating with Persons Outside Organization — Communicating with people outside the organization, representing the organization to customers, the public, government, and other external sources. This information can be exchanged in person, in writing, or by telephone or e-mail. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events — Identifying information by categorizing, estimating, recognizing differences or similarities, and detecting changes in circumstances or events. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Making Decisions and Solving Problems — Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships — Developing constructive and cooperative working relationships with others, and maintaining them over time. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge — Keeping up-to-date technically and applying new knowledge to your job. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Organizing, Planning, and Prioritizing Work — Developing specific goals and plans to prioritize, organize, and accomplish your work. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Interpreting the Meaning of Information for Others — Translating or explaining what information means and how it can be used. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Assisting and Caring for Others — Providing personal assistance, medical attention, emotional support, or other personal care to others such as coworkers, customers, or patients. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Monitor Processes, Materials, or Surroundings — Monitoring and reviewing information from materials, events, or the environment, to detect or assess problems. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Evaluating Information to Determine Compliance with Standards — Using relevant information and individual judgment to determine whether events or processes comply with laws, regulations, or standards. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Analyzing Data or Information — Identifying the underlying principles, reasons, or facts of information by breaking down information or data into separate parts. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Resolving Conflicts and Negotiating with Others — Handling complaints, settling disputes, and resolving grievances and conflicts, or otherwise negotiating with others. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Performing Administrative Activities — Performing day-to-day administrative tasks such as maintaining information files and processing paperwork. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Coordinating the Work and Activities of Others — Getting members of a group to work together to accomplish tasks. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Judging the Qualities of Things, Services, or People — Assessing the value, importance, or quality of things or people. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Training and Teaching Others — Identifying the educational needs of others, developing formal educational or training programs or classes, and teaching or instructing others. See more occupations related to this activity.

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Detailed Work Activities

  • Enter information into databases or software programs. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Answer telephones to direct calls or provide information. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Discuss goods or services information with customers or patrons. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Operate communications equipment or systems. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Coordinate operational activities. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Maintain security. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Maintain call records. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Operate vehicles or material-moving equipment. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Monitor equipment operation to ensure proper functioning. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Search files, databases or reference materials to obtain needed information. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Report maintenance or equipment problems to appropriate personnel. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Confer with coworkers to coordinate work activities. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Monitor alarm systems. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Relay information between personnel. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Refer customers to appropriate personnel. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Maintain current knowledge related to work activities. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Adjust office equipment to ensure proper operation. See more occupations related to this activity.

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Work Context

  • Telephone — 100% responded “Every day.” See more occupations related to this work context.
  • Contact With Others — 94% responded “Constant contact with others.” See more occupations related to this work context.
  • Deal With External Customers — 90% responded “Extremely important.” See more occupations related to this work context.
  • Importance of Being Exact or Accurate — 89% responded “Extremely important.” See more occupations related to this work context.
  • Spend Time Sitting — 94% responded “Continually or almost continually.” See more occupations related to this work context.
  • Frequency of Decision Making — 90% responded “Every day.” See more occupations related to this work context.
  • Impact of Decisions on Co-workers or Company Results — 86% responded “Very important results.” See more occupations related to this work context.
  • Work With Work Group or Team — 83% responded “Extremely important.” See more occupations related to this work context.
  • Deal With Unpleasant or Angry People — 78% responded “Every day.” See more occupations related to this work context.
  • Face-to-Face Discussions — 84% responded “Every day.” See more occupations related to this work context.
  • Importance of Repeating Same Tasks — 76% responded “Extremely important.” See more occupations related to this work context.
  • Indoors, Environmentally Controlled — 88% responded “Every day.” See more occupations related to this work context.
  • Spend Time Using Your Hands to Handle, Control, or Feel Objects, Tools, or Controls — 76% responded “Continually or almost continually.” See more occupations related to this work context.
  • Consequence of Error — 85% responded “Extremely serious.” See more occupations related to this work context.
  • Spend Time Making Repetitive Motions — 71% responded “Continually or almost continually.” See more occupations related to this work context.
  • Frequency of Conflict Situations — 65% responded “Every day.” See more occupations related to this work context.
  • Coordinate or Lead Others — 45% responded “Extremely important.” See more occupations related to this work context.
  • Responsible for Others' Health and Safety — 69% responded “Very high responsibility.” See more occupations related to this work context.
  • Freedom to Make Decisions — 48% responded “A lot of freedom.” See more occupations related to this work context.
  • Structured versus Unstructured Work — 44% responded “A lot of freedom.” See more occupations related to this work context.
  • Responsibility for Outcomes and Results — 46% responded “Very high responsibility.” See more occupations related to this work context.
  • Duration of Typical Work Week — 65% responded “40 hours.” See more occupations related to this work context.
  • Time Pressure — 61% responded “Every day.” See more occupations related to this work context.
  • Sounds, Noise Levels Are Distracting or Uncomfortable — 48% responded “Every day.” See more occupations related to this work context.
  • Letters and Memos — 34% responded “Once a week or more but not every day.” See more occupations related to this work context.
  • Physical Proximity — 40% responded “Slightly close (e.g., shared office).” See more occupations related to this work context.
  • Exposed to Contaminants — 44% responded “Every day.” See more occupations related to this work context.
  • Electronic Mail — 47% responded “Every day.” See more occupations related to this work context.
  • Deal With Physically Aggressive People — 30% responded “Every day.” See more occupations related to this work context.

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Job Zone

Title Job Zone Two: Some Preparation Needed
Education These occupations usually require a high school diploma.
Related Experience Some previous work-related skill, knowledge, or experience is usually needed. For example, a teller would benefit from experience working directly with the public.
Job Training Employees in these occupations need anywhere from a few months to one year of working with experienced employees. A recognized apprenticeship program may be associated with these occupations.
Job Zone Examples These occupations often involve using your knowledge and skills to help others. Examples include sheet metal workers, forest fire fighters, customer service representatives, physical therapist aides, salespersons (retail), and tellers.
SVP Range (4.0 to < 6.0)

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Education


Percentage of Respondents
Education Level Required
76   High school diploma or equivalent Help
12   Some college, no degree
7   Post-secondary certificate Help

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Credentials

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Interests

Interest code: CRE

  • Conventional — Conventional occupations frequently involve following set procedures and routines. These occupations can include working with data and details more than with ideas. Usually there is a clear line of authority to follow. See more occupations related to this interest.
  • Realistic — Realistic occupations frequently involve work activities that include practical, hands-on problems and solutions. They often deal with plants, animals, and real-world materials like wood, tools, and machinery. Many of the occupations require working outside, and do not involve a lot of paperwork or working closely with others. See more occupations related to this interest.
  • Enterprising — Enterprising occupations frequently involve starting up and carrying out projects. These occupations can involve leading people and making many decisions. Sometimes they require risk taking and often deal with business. See more occupations related to this interest.

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Work Styles

  • Stress Tolerance — Job requires accepting criticism and dealing calmly and effectively with high stress situations. See more occupations related to this work style.
  • Self Control — Job requires maintaining composure, keeping emotions in check, controlling anger, and avoiding aggressive behavior, even in very difficult situations. See more occupations related to this work style.
  • Dependability — Job requires being reliable, responsible, and dependable, and fulfilling obligations. See more occupations related to this work style.
  • Integrity — Job requires being honest and ethical. See more occupations related to this work style.
  • Attention to Detail — Job requires being careful about detail and thorough in completing work tasks. See more occupations related to this work style.
  • Concern for Others — Job requires being sensitive to others' needs and feelings and being understanding and helpful on the job. See more occupations related to this work style.
  • Cooperation — Job requires being pleasant with others on the job and displaying a good-natured, cooperative attitude. See more occupations related to this work style.
  • Persistence — Job requires persistence in the face of obstacles. See more occupations related to this work style.
  • Adaptability/Flexibility — Job requires being open to change (positive or negative) and to considerable variety in the workplace. See more occupations related to this work style.
  • Social Orientation — Job requires preferring to work with others rather than alone, and being personally connected with others on the job. See more occupations related to this work style.
  • Initiative — Job requires a willingness to take on responsibilities and challenges. See more occupations related to this work style.
  • Leadership — Job requires a willingness to lead, take charge, and offer opinions and direction. See more occupations related to this work style.
  • Achievement/Effort — Job requires establishing and maintaining personally challenging achievement goals and exerting effort toward mastering tasks. See more occupations related to this work style.
  • Independence — Job requires developing one's own ways of doing things, guiding oneself with little or no supervision, and depending on oneself to get things done. See more occupations related to this work style.
  • Analytical Thinking — Job requires analyzing information and using logic to address work-related issues and problems. See more occupations related to this work style.
  • Innovation — Job requires creativity and alternative thinking to develop new ideas for and answers to work-related problems. See more occupations related to this work style.

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Work Values

  • Relationships — Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to provide service to others and work with co-workers in a friendly non-competitive environment. Corresponding needs are Co-workers, Moral Values and Social Service. See more occupations related to this work value.
  • Support — Occupations that satisfy this work value offer supportive management that stands behind employees. Corresponding needs are Company Policies, Supervision: Human Relations and Supervision: Technical. See more occupations related to this work value.
  • Achievement — Occupations that satisfy this work value are results oriented and allow employees to use their strongest abilities, giving them a feeling of accomplishment. Corresponding needs are Ability Utilization and Achievement. See more occupations related to this work value.

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Related Occupations

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Wages & Employment Trends

Median wages (2014) $17.99 hourly, $37,410 annual
State wages Local Salary Info
 
Employment (2012) 99,000 employees
Projected growth (2012-2022) Average (8% to 14%) Average (8% to 14%)
Projected job openings (2012-2022) 36,000
State trends Employment Trends
 
Top industries (2012)

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics 2014 wage data external site and 2012-2022 employment projections external site. "Projected growth" represents the estimated change in total employment over the projections period (2012-2022). "Projected job openings" represent openings due to growth and replacement.

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Job Openings on the Web

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Sources of Additional Information

Disclaimer: Sources are listed to provide additional information on related jobs, specialties, and/or industries. Links to non-DOL Internet sites are provided for your convenience and do not constitute an endorsement.

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