Dispatcher Certification and Certificate Programs

Research dispatcher certification programs. Get information about the types of dispatcher occupations, courses and certification to make an informed decision about your education.

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Emergency Dispatcher Certificate

Emergency dispatcher programs prepare students to work with first responders and other emergency personnel in the event of fires, car accidents and other urgent situations. Students learn 9-1-1 procedures, terminology and requirements. They are taught how to handle high stress situations and to remain calm under pressure. Students learn basic telecommunications procedures and how to operate emergency dispatch equipment. Most programs take less than a year to complete.

Education Prerequisites

Most schools require students to meet minimum words per minute keyboarding rates before entering a dispatcher program. Schools also require students to have a high school diploma or equivalent. A criminal background check may also be required.

Course Topics

These programs combine classroom study with simulation programs to give students an opportunity to practice what they have learned. Topics may include:

  • Radio procedures
  • Telephone skills and procedures
  • Medical dispatching
  • Law enforcement communications
  • Communication technology
  • Emergency services
  • Dispatch operations
  • Criminal law
  • Crisis intervention

Popular Career Options

Emergency dispatcher programs train students to work in 9-1-1 operations centers. Students may also work as a dispatcher for other emergency operations. Possible employers include:

  • Police stations
  • Fire departments
  • Ambulance services

Continuing Education Information

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), states typically have licensing or certification requirements for emergency dispatchers (www.bls.gov). States usually require a specific amount of training and certification or licensing test for emergency dispatchers.


Aircraft Dispatcher Certificate

Aircraft dispatcher certificate programs prepare students to meet Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) requirements as dispatchers for airplanes and other aircraft. These programs teach the technical skills needed to operate air dispatch equipment and to communicate effectively as part of a flight team.

Course Topics

Courses in an aircraft dispatcher certificate program cover the basics of flight patterns, navigation, weather and aircraft operation. Students are taught about the aircraft they are dispatching and the conditions that may occur during a flight that may require dispatch intervention. These programs also contain simulator instruction to provide hands-on experience for students. Course topics may include:

  • Aircraft systems
  • Aviation law
  • Air safety
  • Dispatching procedures
  • Pilot ground training
  • Instrument training

Employment Outlook and Salary Information

According to the BLS, about 26,200 jobs were held by air traffic controllers in May 2008. Most of these jobs were with the FAA. The BLS projected a job growth of 13% from 2008-2018. In May 2010, the BLS reported the mean annual wage for air traffic controllers was $110,280.

Continuing Education Information

To earn the FAA aircraft dispatcher certificate, individuals must complete written and practical tests. The FAA also requires that applicants be at least 23 years old, meet experience requirements and complete an approved training course (www.faa.gov).

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