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Career and Education Opportunities for Dispatchers in Seattle, Washington

Many educational and employment opportunities exist for dispatchers in the Seattle, Washington area. There are currently 4,210 working dispatchers in Washington; this should grow 16% to about 4,890 working dispatchers in the state by 2016. This is better than the national trend for dispatchers, which sees this job pool shrinking by about 2.6% over the next eight years. In general, dispatchers schedule and dispatch workers, work crews, or service vehicles for conveyance of materials, freight, or passengers, or for normal installation, service, or emergency repairs rendered outside the place of business.

Income for dispatchers is about $18 hourly or $37,800 per year on average in Washington. Nationally, their income is about $16 hourly or $33,850 yearly. Dispatchers earn more than people working in the category of Dispatching and Logistics generally in Washington and more than people in the Dispatching and Logistics category nationally.

There are sixty-five schools of higher education in the Seattle area, including two within twenty-five miles of Seattle where you can get a degree to start your career as a dispatcher. Given that the most common education level for dispatchers is a high school diploma or GED, you can expect to spend only a short time studying to be a dispatcher if you already have a high school diploma.

CAREER DESCRIPTION: Dispatcher

Dispatcher video from the State of New Jersey Dept. of Labor and Workforce Development

In general, dispatchers schedule and dispatch workers, work crews, or service vehicles for conveyance of materials, freight, or passengers, or for normal installation, service, or emergency repairs rendered outside the place of business. They also duties may include using radio, telephone, or computer to transmit assignments and compiling statistics and reports on work progress.

Dispatchers advise personnel about traffic problems such as construction areas and other hazards. They also talk with customers or supervising personnel to address questions and requests for service or equipment. Equally important, dispatchers have to decide on types or amounts of equipment or personnel required in line with work orders or specifications. They are often called upon to monitor personnel or equipment locations and utilization to direct service and schedules. They are expected to schedule and dispatch staff, work crews or service vehicles to appropriate locations in line with customer requests or needs, using radios or telephones. Finally, dispatchers record and maintain files and archives of customer requests, work or services performed, charges and other dispatch data.

Every day, dispatchers are expected to be able to articulate ideas and problems. They need to listen to and understand others in meetings. It is also important that they understand what others are saying to them even in a noisy environment.

It is important for dispatchers to receive or ready work orders. They are often called upon to manage needed repairs to restore service and schedules. They also oversee all communications within specifically assigned territories. They are sometimes expected to relay work orders and data to or from work crews and field inspectors using telephones or two-way radios. Somewhat less frequently, dispatchers are also expected to order supplies and equipment, and issue them to personnel.

And finally, they sometimes have to record and maintain files and archives of customer requests, work or services performed, charges and other dispatch data.

Like many other jobs, dispatchers must be reliable and be thorough and dependable.

Similar jobs with educational opportunities in Seattle include:

  • Freight Representative. Expedite and route movement of incoming and outgoing cargo and freight shipments in airline, train, and trucking terminals, and shipping docks. Take orders from customers and arrange pickup of freight and cargo for delivery to loading platform. Prepare and examine bills of lading to determine shipping charges and tariffs.
  • Front Desk Manager. Accommodate hotel, motel, and resort patrons by registering and assigning rooms to guests, issuing room keys, transmitting and receiving messages, keeping records of occupied rooms and guests' accounts, making and confirming reservations, and presenting statements to and collecting payments from departing guests.
  • Order Filler. Fill customers' mail and telephone orders from stored merchandise in accordance with specifications on sales slips or order forms. Duties include computing prices of items, completing order receipts, keeping records of out-going orders, and requisitioning additional materials, supplies, and equipment.
  • Procurement Clerk. Compile information and records to draw up purchase orders for procurement of materials and services.
  • Shipping and Receiving Clerk. Verify and keep records on incoming and outgoing shipments. Prepare items for shipment. Duties include assembling, addressing, and shipping merchandise or material; receiving, unpacking, verifying and recording incoming merchandise or material; and arranging for the transportation of products.

EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES: Dispatcher Training

Tacoma Community College - Tacoma, WA

Tacoma Community College, 6501 S 19th St, Tacoma, WA 98466-6100. Tacoma Community College is a medium sized college located in Tacoma, Washington. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 5,942 students. Tacoma Community College has a less than one year program in Logistics and Materials Management which graduated eleven students in 2008.

Shoreline Community College - Shoreline, WA

Shoreline Community College, 16101 Greenwood Ave N, Shoreline, WA 98133-5696. Shoreline Community College is a medium sized college located in Shoreline, Washington. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 5,823 students. Shoreline Community College has a less than one year and a one to two year program in Logistics and Materials Management which graduated two and four students respectively in 2008.

CERTIFICATIONS

Emergency Number Professional: Certification is a tool of a professional association to establish the benchmarks of performance that will signify a broad-based competence in the professional field.

For more information, see the National Emergency Number Association website.

LOCATION INFORMATION: Seattle, Washington

Seattle, Washington
Seattle, Washington photo by Dschwen

Seattle is located in King County, Washington. It has a population of over 598,541, which has grown by 6.2% in the past ten years. The cost of living index in Seattle, 126, is far greater than the national average. New single-family homes in Seattle are valued at $206,700 on average, which is well below the state average. In 2008, five hundred ninety-five new homes were built in Seattle, down from seven hundred seventy-five the previous year.

The three big industries for women in Seattle are health care, professional, scientific, and technical services, and educational services. For men, it is professional, scientific, and technical services, construction, and educational services. The average commute to work is about 25 minutes. More than 47.2% of Seattle residents have a bachelor's degree, which is higher than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 17.3%, is higher than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Seattle is 7.8%, which is less than Washington's average of 8.7%.

The percentage of Seattle residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 37.3%, is less than the national average but more than the state average. The largest religious groups are the Catholic Church, the LDS (Mormon) Church and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.

Seattle is home to the Berth 5 and the Akli Point Lighthouse as well as Lincoln Park and Myrtle Edwards Park. Shopping centers in the area include Lake City Shopping Center, Westwood Village Shopping Center and Oak Tree Village Shopping Center. Visitors to Seattle can choose from A-1 Motel, Arlington Suites and Marriott Sea-Tac Airport for temporary stays in the area.