Emergency Services Dispatchers

Emergency Services Dispatcher Responds to a 911 Call

Emergency services dispatchers answer 911 telephone and alarm system calls and, if necessary, coordinate the dispatch of emergency responders. They also provide basic medical instructions to callers until first responders (emergency medical technicians, firefighters, police officers) can arrive. Approximately 96,390 emergency services dispatchers are employed in the United States. They are also known as 911 communications operators, 911 emergency operators, and public safety communicators.

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Quick Facts
Alternate Title(s) 911 Communications Operators, 911 Emergency Operators, Public Safety Communicators
Duties Respond to 911 telephone and alarm system calls; determine a caller's location and need; dispatch appropriate emergency responders; provide basic information and aid to callers
Salary Range Below $25,000 to $75,000
Work Environment Primarily Indoors
Best Geographical Location(s) Opportunities are available throughout the country, but are best in large, metropolitan areas
Minimum Education Level
  • High School Diploma
School Subjects
  • English
  • Foreign Language
  • Speech
Experience At least one year of internship or part-time experience in emergency services recommended
Personality Traits
  • Hands On
  • Helpful
  • Outgoing
  • Information Management
  • Interpersonal
  • Public Speaking
Certification or Licensing Recommended
Special Requirements Vary by employer but may include passing a background check and drug test; U.S. citizenship; a valid driver’s license; and passing hearing and vision tests
Employment Prospects Good
Advancement Prospects Fair
Outlook Decline
Career Ladder
  • Emergency Services Director
  • 911 Center Director
  • Senior Dispatcher
  • Emergency Services Dispatcher