Emergency Services Dispatchers


Emergency Services Dispatchers


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 98,300 emergency services dispatchers are employed in the United States. They are also known as 911 communications operators, 911 emergency operators, and public safety communicators.

Quick Facts


Median Salary



Employment Prospects



Minimum Education Level

High School Diploma



At least one year of internship or part-time experience in emerge



Information Management


Personality Traits

Hands On


Emergency services dispatchers earned median annual salaries of $40,660 in May 2018, according to the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL). Ten percent of dispatchers earned less than $26,590, and the top 10 percent earned $63,930 or more. The DOL reports that emergency services dispatchers who worked for local government agencies earned mean annual salaries of $43,540, while those who worked for sta...

Work Environment

This career can be stressful and emotionally taxing. Many dispatchers work eight- or 10-hour shifts; others work even longer shifts, and overtime is common. Since emergency services are needed 24/7, dispatchers must occasionally work at night, on weekends, and on holidays. Dispatchers frequently talk with people who are angry, scared, confused, or hard to understand, and the sheer number of the...


Employment for emergency services dispatchers is expected to increase by 6 percent from 2018 through 2028, according to the Occupational Outlook Handbook. It reports that “although state and local government budget constraints may limit the number of dispatchers hired in the coming decade, population growth and the commensurate increase in 911 call volume is expected to increase the em...