Dispatchers operate radios and other telecommunication equipment to dispatch emergency vehicles and to coordinate the activities of drivers and other personnel. They are employed by police, fire and health departments, other emergency service agencies, taxi, delivery and courier services, trucking and utilities companies, and other commercial and industrial establishments.

This group performs some or all of the following duties:

  • Receive requests for emergency assistance or service and contact ambulances, police and fire departments, tow-trucks, and utility crews

  • Process and transmit information and instructions to coordinate the activities of vehicle operators, crews and equipment using a variety of computer-aided communications and dispatching equipment

  • Dispatch personnel according to written schedules and work orders, or as required by emergency situations

  • Advise vehicle operators of route and traffic problems such as construction, accidents, congestion, weather conditions, weight and size restrictions and other information

  • Operate radio equipment to communicate with ships, aircraft, mining crews, offshore oil rigs, logging camps and other remote operations

  • Monitor personnel workloads and locations

  • Maintain vehicle operator work records using computerized or manual methods and ensure time sheets and payroll summaries are completed accurately

  • Maintain computer and manual records of mileage, fuel use, repairs and other expenses, and generate reports.

Job titles

  • 911 dispatcher
  • airline radio operator
  • alarm system dispatcher
  • alarm system operator
  • ambulance dispatcher
  • boat dispatcher

Employment prospects

Source: BC Labour Market Outlook 2023 edition

Annual salary







Job openings

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British Columbia


expected job openings (5-year forecast)

Education and training

Employment requirements

  • Completion of secondary school is required.
  • Police and emergency dispatchers and other radio operators usually require provincial radio operator's certificates.
  • Police and emergency dispatchers are required to complete formal on-the-job training. Other dispatchers usually undergo some informal on-the-job training.

Additional information

  • No additional information

Certification requirements

  • No certification requirements

Post-secondary programs in B.C.

No post-secondary education required

No post-secondary education required. You can work in this career without post-secondary education. Some on the job training may be provided. With additional training or experience, you may be able to progress into higher level, supervisory or management positions.

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