Home / Career Guides / Dispatcher

Dispatcher Career Guide

Do you enjoy working a job where no two days are the same? Are you an expert problem solver and like working with people? A position as a dispatcher might be the detail-oriented role that’s right for you.

Dispatchers use their expertise to create delivery routes for professional drivers. Using mapping software, they plan routes and ensure drivers deliver and/or truckers pick up shipments on time. Dispatchers share routes electronically with drivers. Some of these positions work alongside fire, police and ambulance teams as well. 

Dispatchers use GPS to know the location of drivers at all times. They are responsible for updating customers about delivery delays/changes, and advising drivers about upcoming issues. They will also ensure that drivers are aware of any changes in construction, weather, heavy traffic, and more.

Dispatchers need to have an understanding of the area that their customers and drivers operate. They build trust and relationships with their drivers and customers to manage delays and schedule changes easier.

Sample job description

[Your Company Name] is looking for an experienced dispatcher to help us. The ideal candidate will display the analytical and organizational skills necessary to receive, evaluate, and dispatch emergency and non-emergency calls for assistance. The individual also needs to utilize effective communication through excellent verbal and typing skills to maintain efficient operations and respond to potentially high-stress situations. You should exhibit technological competency to utilize complex telecommunications, alarms, and computer systems. As an ideal candidate, you have proven experience in the communications field.

Typical duties and responsibilities

  • Plan routes using mapping software and logistics programs
  • Serve as a liaison between drivers and customers
  • Monitor driver locations through the use of GPS and computer programs
  • Build relationships with both drivers and customers
  • Assess problems, weigh risks, consider options, and recommend solutions
  • Negotiate shipping schedules

Education and experience

  • High school diploma or GED required
  • Three years of related experience in a communications/logistics role

Required skills and qualifications

  • Exceptional written and verbal communication skills
  • Impeccable attention to detail
  • Proficiency using computer mapping and logistics programs
  • Ability to convey instructional information between drivers and customers
  • Excellent teamwork and organization skills

Preferred qualifications

  • 3 years working in the logistics or delivery industry
  • Experience working with mapping and logistics software

Typical work environment

Dispatchers work indoors and work near other people in a call center environment. They often are exposed to noise levels that can be distracting. They need to have a high level of social contact; working closely with customers, coworkers, drivers and coworkers. Many dispatchers are full-time employees in a company and may be required to work evenings, weekends, and holidays. 

Dispatchers usually keep regular hours. They will occasionally be required to work evenings, weekends, and holidays (particularly if working in emergency services dispatching). Dispatchers should expect to sit in front of a telephone for extended periods of time.

Typical hours

The typical work hours for this position vary based on the needs of the industry and company they are working for. There are often regular shifts, from 8AM to 5PM, but there will also be night shifts and odd hours. Being flexible in your work schedule is important if you want to work in this industry.

Available certifications

Dispatchers work in a variety of industries. Some companies offer custom training programs as well. There are a few certifications available depending on the industry you’re working in. EMD certification is an emergency medical dispatcher. EFD certification is an emergency fire dispatcher. EPD certification is an emergency police dispatcher. Some states will require these specific certifications when working in emergency fields. Outside of these, there are not many certifications for other industries.

Career path

The journey to becoming a dispatcher begins with some entry level experience in a related field. 

Students who aspire to become a dispatcher are encouraged to take courses in a relatable field, such as logistics and transportation. 

US, Bureau of Labor Statistics’ job outlook

SOC Code: 27-3042

2020 Employment95,400
Projected Employment in 203097,100
Projected 2020-2030 Percentage Shift 8% increase
Projected 2020-2030 Numeric Shift7,800 increase

There will be an increased need for dispatchers in all fields of work as more delivery drivers and truckers are on the road. Plus, there is always a need for emergency dispatchers due to natural disasters and more people getting sick. Becoming a dispatcher is a great way to serve your community and help other people.