How Do I Become an Emergency Medical Dispatcher?

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  • Written By: Dan Cavallari
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 27 November 2019
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In order to become an emergency medical dispatcher, you will first need to complete a high school education or equivalent. While in high school, it is a good idea to pay close attention to subjects that will prepare you to become an emergency medical dispatcher, such as language and communications courses, public speaking, mathematics, and science. After you graduate, you will probably need to enroll in either a post-secondary program that will prepare you for certification as an emergency medical dispatcher, or look for on the job training to also prepare you for your new job duties.

Many colleges and universities offer post-secondary certificate programs that will prepare you to become an emergency medical dispatcher. You will need to complete such training and a certification exam in order to find a job in this field, and you will need to develop your communication skills. As a dispatcher, you will be the first person to interact with a caller in need of help, which means you will need to learn how to speak calmly and clearly, how to glean information from often panicked callers, and how to use computer equipment to record vital information and dispatch the appropriate authorities.


It is very likely that you will also need to become certified in first aid and CPR in order to become an emergency medical dispatcher. You will work in an office or call center setting, and you are unlikely to perform any first aid measures yourself, but you will need to be prepared to describe to callers how to perform basic first aid should this be necessary before emergency personnel show up on the scene. Basic understanding of first aid concepts is usually sufficient, but you will need to be able to keep the caller calm and carefully describe complex processes over the phone.

Once you are properly trained to become an emergency medical dispatcher, you will need to find open positions in your area. Find out if your city or county runs a dispatch center, or if private companies run their own call centers. Find out what the specific job requirements are for each position and be sure to compare those requirements to your own qualifications. If you are missing specific qualifications, keep in mind that this may not necessarily discount you from getting the job, but you should be prepared to fulfill those requirements over time if you are hired.



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