Police, fire, and ambulance dispatchers, also called public safety telecommunicators, answer emergency and nonemergency calls.
Police, fire, and ambulance dispatchers work in emergency communication centers called public safety answering points (PSAPs). Dispatchers must be available around the clock, so they often have to work evenings, weekends, and holidays. Overtime and long shifts—sometimes 12 hours—are common. The pressure to respond quickly and calmly in alarming situations can be stressful.
Most police, fire, and ambulance dispatchers have a high school diploma. Many states require dispatchers to become certified.
The median annual wage for police, fire, and ambulance dispatchers was $38,010 in May 2015.
Employment of police, fire, and ambulance dispatchers is projected to decline 3 percent from 2014 to 2024. Consolidation of emergency communication centers, enabled by advances in technology, is expected to reduce the employment of dispatchers. Still, job prospects should be good because the stressful nature of the job results in many workers leaving this occupation.
Explore resources for employment and wages by state and area for police, fire, and ambulance dispatchers.
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Learn more about police, fire, and ambulance dispatchers by visiting additional resources, including O*NET, a source on key characteristics of workers and occupations.