A call taker/dispatcher answers emergency calls to 911 and dispatches the appropriate services (police, fire, etc.) to people in need.
Most police, fire, and ambulance dispatchers have a high school diploma. Many states require dispatchers to become certified.
Employment of police, fire, and ambulance dispatchers is projected to grow 6 percent from 2019 to 2029, faster than the average for all occupations. 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 9-1-1 call volume is expected to increase the employment of dispatchers.
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.