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Police, Fire, & Ambulance Dispatchers

Also called: Communications Officer, Communications Operator, Dispatcher, Public Safety Dispatcher

Where in the Marine Corps? In the Marine Corps: Field Artillery Cannoneer; Field Radio Operator; Fire Protection Craftsman; Fire Protection Journeyman; Firefighter; Tactical Air Control Party (TACP) Craftsman; Tactical Air Control Party (TACP) Helper; Tactical Air Control Party (TACP) Superintendent; Vehicle Operations Craftsman; Vehicle Operations Journeyman

What they do:
Operate radio, telephone, or computer equipment at emergency response centers. Receive reports from the public of crimes, disturbances, fires, and medical or police emergencies. Relay information to law enforcement and emergency response personnel. May maintain contact with caller until responders arrive.
On the job, you would:
  • Question callers to determine their locations, and the nature of their problems to determine type of response needed.
  • Determine response requirements and relative priorities of situations, and dispatch units in accordance with established procedures.
  • Record details of calls, dispatches, and messages.


  • customer service
  • administrative services
Safety and Government
  • public safety and security
  • law and government
  • telecommunications
  • multimedia
Arts and Humanities
  • English language


Basic Skills
  • listening to others, not interrupting, and asking good questions
  • talking to others
  • understanding people's reactions
  • changing what is done based on other people's actions
Problem Solving
  • noticing a problem and figuring out the best way to solve it


  • communicate by speaking
  • listen and understand what people say
  • pay attention to something without being distracted
  • do two or more things at the same time
Ideas and Logic
  • notice when problems happen
  • make general rules or come up with answers from lots of detailed information
Visual Understanding
  • quickly compare groups of letters, numbers, pictures, or other things


People interested in this work like activities that include data, detail, and regular routines.
They do well at jobs that need:
  • Stress Tolerance
  • Dependability
  • Attention to Detail
  • Self Control
  • Integrity
  • Concern for Others


You might use software like this on the job:

Data base user interface and query software
  • 911 system information databases
  • Law enforcement information databases
Helpdesk or call center software
  • Computer aided dispatch software
  • Spillman Technologies Spillman Computer-Aided Dispatch
Office suite software
  • Corel WordPerfect Office Suite
  • Microsoft Office software


Education: (rated 2 of 5)
high school diploma/GED
usually needed

Get started on your career:

Find Certifications Registered Apprenticeship

Job Outlook

Below Average Outlook
New job opportunities are less likely in the future.
per year, on average
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See more details at O*NET OnLine about police, fire, and ambulance dispatchers.