Transport & Logistics
Radio dispatchers answer calls and coordinate responses in police, ambulance, fire, transport, security, and road service organisations.
Junior secondary school certificate or equivalent
What does a Radio Dispatcher do?
Radio dispatchers answer calls and coordinate the response of operational units in police, ambulance, fire, transport, security, rescue and road service organisations.
As a radio dispatcher, you would:
- receive and relay radio or telecommunications messages from operational units, customers, or the public
- coordinate radio or network communications between operational units
- record critical information from emergency, routine and administrative calls
- relay information to enable appropriate resources and personnel to be deployed
- prepare accurate and detailed reports of communications traffic.
In the emergency services in particular, you would:
- start and maintain communications during emergency situations
- keep the caller calm and guide them until emergency services arrive
- provide first aid advice until emergency services arrive.
Key skills and interests
To become a radio dispatcher, you would need:
- good communication skills
- the ability to think clearly and act quickly
- to be able to stay calm in difficult situations
- multitasking skills
- map reading skills
- good computer and typing skills.
Working hours and conditions
Radio dispatchers are employed on a full-time, part-time or casual basis, and may be required work shifts, including nights and weekends.
In some States and territories, radio dispatchers who work in the emergency services sector (police, fire and ambulance) may be required to be uniformed officers, and therefore must meet the selection criteria for that occupation. You may be required to wear a uniform, which would be provided by your employer.
How to become an Radio Dispatcher?
Entry Level Education
You can work as a radio dispatcher without formal qualifications, but employers usually require junior secondary school certificate or equivalent. You would get some training on the job on how to use computerised command and control systems. In the emergency services, you would also receive training in areas such as first aid, and giving telephone advice.
To work as a radio dispatcher in the emergency services, you will need to have Australian citizenship or permanent residency status, hold a current Provide First Aid certificate and undergo a National Police Check. You may also need to meet typing speed and accuracy benchmarks.
The outlook for radio dispatchers is for slower growth than the average for all occupations and maybe some decline.
Technological advances and ongoing consolidation of emergency communication centres will limit employment growth. The stressful nature of this occupation, especially in emergency services, does lead to regular turnover in staff, which helps to improve job prospects.
As equipment becomes more complex. employees who develop computer and related skills and experience will have a greater opportunity for employment. Qualified and experienced radio dispatchers are usually well sought after.