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Career profile Operations Dispatcher

Also known as Aircraft Dispatcher, City Dispatcher, Dispatcher (Dispatch), Operations Dispatcher, Rail Operations Controller, School Bus Dispatcher, Train Dispatcher, Truck Dispatcher

Operations Dispatcher

Also known as Aircraft Dispatcher, City Dispatcher, Dispatcher (Dispatch)

Interests Profile
  • Conventional
  • Realistic
  • Enterprising
Pay Range
$26,560 - $67,680 (annual)
Required Skills
  • Active Listening
  • Speaking
  • Monitoring
Knowledge Areas
  • Customer and Personal Service
  • Public Safety and Security
  • Administration and Management
Core tasks
  • Schedule or dispatch workers, work crews, equipment, or service vehicles to appropriate locations, according to customer requests, specifications, or needs, using radios or telephones.
  • Prepare daily work and run schedules.
  • Confer with customers or supervising personnel to address questions, problems, or requests for service or equipment.
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What does an Operations Dispatcher do?

Operations Dispatchers schedule and dispatch workers, work crews, equipment, or service vehicles for conveyance of materials, freight, or passengers, or for normal installation, service, or emergency repairs rendered outside the place of business.

In addition, Operations Dispatchers duties may include using radio, telephone, or computer to transmit assignments and compiling statistics and reports on work progress.

What kind of tasks does an Operations Dispatcher perform regularly?

Operations Dispatchers are often responsible for overseeing or executing some or all of the following tasks:

  • Schedule or dispatch workers, work crews, equipment, or service vehicles to appropriate locations, according to customer requests, specifications, or needs, using radios or telephones.
  • Prepare daily work and run schedules.
  • Confer with customers or supervising personnel to address questions, problems, or requests for service or equipment.
  • Relay work orders, messages, or information to or from work crews, supervisors, or field inspectors, using telephones or two-way radios.
  • Receive or prepare work orders.
  • Arrange for necessary repairs to restore service and schedules.
  • Record and maintain files or records of customer requests, work or services performed, charges, expenses, inventory, or other dispatch information.
  • Monitor personnel or equipment locations and utilization to coordinate service and schedules.
  • Determine types or amounts of equipment, vehicles, materials, or personnel required, according to work orders or specifications.
  • Advise personnel about traffic problems, such as construction areas, accidents, congestion, weather conditions, or other hazards.

The above responsibilities are specific to Operations Dispatchers. More generally, Operations Dispatchers are involved in several broader types of activities:

Getting Information
Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events
Identifying information by categorizing, estimating, recognizing differences or similarities, and detecting changes in circumstances or events.
Working with Computers
Using computers and computer systems (including hardware and software) to program, write software, set up functions, enter data, or process information.
Making Decisions and Solving Problems
Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.
Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates
Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.

What is an Operations Dispatcher salary?

The median salary for an Operations Dispatcher is $40,980, and the average salary is $44,860. Both the median and average roughly describe the middle of the Operations Dispatcher salary range, but the average is more easily affected by extremely high or low salaries.

Many Operations Dispatchers earn significantly more or less than the average, due to several factors. About 10% of Operations Dispatchers earn less than $26,560 per year, 25% earn less than $32,510, 75% earn less than $53,400, and 90% earn less than $67,680.

Between the years of 2020 and 2030, the number of Operations Dispatchers is expected to change by 4.3%, and there should be roughly 18,700 open positions for Operations Dispatchers every year.

Median annual salary
Typical salary range
$26,560 - $67,680
Projected growth (2020 - 2030)

What personality traits are common among Operations Dispatchers?


Career interests describe a person's preferences for different types of working environments and activities. When a person's interest match the demands of an occupation, people are usually more engaged and satisfied in that role.

Compared to most occupations, those who work as an Operations Dispatcher are usually higher in their Conventional, Realistic, and Enterprising interests.

Operations Dispatchers typically have very strong Conventional interests. Conventional occupations frequently involve following set procedures and routines. These occupations can include working with data and details more than with ideas. Usually there is a clear line of authority to follow.

Also, Operations Dispatchers typically have moderate Realistic interests. Realistic occupations frequently involve work activities that include practical, hands-on problems and solutions. They often deal with plants, animals, and real-world materials like wood, tools, and machinery. Many of the occupations require working outside, and do not involve a lot of paperwork or working closely with others.

Lastly, Operations Dispatchers typically have moderate Enterprising interests. Enterprising occupations frequently involve starting up and carrying out projects. These occupations can involve leading people and making many decisions. Sometimes they require risk taking and often deal with business.


People differ in their values, or what is most important to them for building job satisfaction and fulfillment.

Compared to most people, those working as an Operations Dispatcher tend to value Support, Independence, and Working Conditions.

Most importantly, Operations Dispatchers moderately value Support. Occupations that satisfy this work value offer supportive management that stands behind employees.

Second, Operations Dispatchers moderately value Independence. Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to work on their own and make decisions.

Lastly, Operations Dispatchers moderately value Working Conditions. Occupations that satisfy this work value offer job security and good working conditions.

Psychological Demands

Each occupation brings its own set of psychological demands, which describe the characteristics necessary to perform the job well.

In order to perform their job successfully, people who work as Operations Dispatchers must consistently demonstrate qualities such as stress tolerance, attention to detail, and dependability.

Below, you'll find a list of qualities typically required of Operations Dispatchers, ranked by importance:

Stress Tolerance
Job requires accepting criticism and dealing calmly and effectively with high-stress situations.
Attention to Detail
Job requires being careful about detail and thorough in completing work tasks.
Job requires being reliable, responsible, and dependable, and fulfilling obligations.
Job requires a willingness to lead, take charge, and offer opinions and direction.
Job requires being pleasant with others on the job and displaying a good-natured, cooperative attitude.

What education and training do Operations Dispatchers need?

Working as an Operations Dispatcher usually requires a high school diploma.

Operations Dispatchers need anywhere from a few months to one year of working with experienced employees. A recognized apprenticeship program may be associated with this occupation.

Educational degrees among Operations Dispatchers

  • 6.0% did not complete high school or secondary school
  • 34.0% completed high school or secondary school
  • 32.8% completed some college coursework
  • 11.1% earned a Associate's degree
  • 13.9% earned a Bachelor's degree
  • 1.8% earned a Master's degree
  • 0.4% earned a doctorate or professional degree

Knowledge and expertise required by Operations Dispatchers

Operations Dispatchers may benefit from understanding of specialized subject areas, such as customer and personal service, public safety and security, or administration and management knowledge.

The list below shows several areas in which most Operations Dispatchers might want to build proficiency, ranked by importance.

Customer and Personal Service
Knowledge of principles and processes for providing customer and personal services. This includes customer needs assessment, meeting quality standards for services, and evaluation of customer satisfaction.
Public Safety and Security
Knowledge of relevant equipment, policies, procedures, and strategies to promote effective local, state, or national security operations for the protection of people, data, property, and institutions.
Administration and Management
Knowledge of business and management principles involved in strategic planning, resource allocation, human resources modeling, leadership technique, production methods, and coordination of people and resources.
Knowledge of administrative and office procedures and systems such as word processing, managing files and records, stenography and transcription, designing forms, and workplace terminology.
Knowledge of principles and methods for moving people or goods by air, rail, sea, or road, including the relative costs and benefits.

Important Abilities needed by Operations Dispatchers

Operations Dispatchers must develop a particular set of abilities to perform their job well. Abilities are individual capacities that influence a person's information processing, sensory perception, motor coordination, and physical strength or endurance. Individuals may naturally have certain abilities without explicit training, but most abilities can be sharpened somewhat through practice.

For example, Operations Dispatchers need abilities such as oral comprehension, oral expression, and speech recognition in order to perform their job at a high level. The list below shows several important abilities for Operations Dispatchers, ranked by their relative importance.

Oral Comprehension
The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
Oral Expression
The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.
Speech Recognition
The ability to identify and understand the speech of another person.
Speech Clarity
The ability to speak clearly so others can understand you.
Deductive Reasoning
The ability to apply general rules to specific problems to produce answers that make sense.

Critical Skills needed by Operations Dispatchers

Skills are developed capacities that enable people to function effectively in real-world settings. Unlike abilities, skills are typically easier to build through practice and experience. Skills influence effectiveness in areas such as learning, working with others, design, troubleshooting, and more.

Operations Dispatchers frequently use skills like active listening, speaking, and monitoring to perform their job effectively. The list below shows several critical skills for Operations Dispatchers, ranked by their relative importance.

Active Listening
Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
Talking to others to convey information effectively.
Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.
Adjusting actions in relation to others' actions.
Reading Comprehension
Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work-related documents.

What is the source of this information?

The information provided on this page is adapted from data and descriptions published by the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration under the CC BY 4.0 license. TraitLab has modified some information for ease of use and reading, and the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment, and Training Administration has not approved, endorsed, or tested these modifications.

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