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Emergency medical dispatcher

Emergency medical dispatchers handle calls from the public and GPs requesting an ambulance.

Annual Salary

£23,000 to £28,000

Average UK salary in 2022 was £33,200
(source Office for National Statistics)

Working hours

40 to 42 a week

You could work: evenings / weekends / bank holidays; on shifts

Future employment

There will be 4% more Emergency medical dispatcher jobs in 2027.

Day to day tasks

In this role you could:

  • keep the caller calm to find out the location, details of what happened and condition of the patient
  • give first aid advice to people facing life-threating situations
  • decide which crew and vehicles to dispatch based on the situation and who is nearest
  • contact the crew and pass on essential information
  • create a record of calls

Working environment

You could work in a control room.

Your working environment may be emotionally demanding.

You can get into this job through:

  • a college course
  • an apprenticeship
  • applying directly

You could do a college course to get some of the computer and typing skills you'll need in this job.

You could do a level 2 award in touch typing or a level 2 ICDL award in IT user skills.

For more information

You can get into this role through an emergency service contact handling advanced apprenticeship.

You'll usually need to be over 18 years old and might need a GCSE grade 9 to 4 (A* to C) in English or equivalent.

For more information
Volunteering and work experience

You'll find it helpful to have some healthcare experience before applying for a job.

You could:

Direct application

You can apply directly to your local ambulance service.

Each service sets their own entry requirements, but it could help your application if you have:

  • GCSEs grade 9 to 4 (A* to C) in English, maths and science
  • experience in customer service, like a call centre operator
  • map reading skills and knowledge of local geography
  • an understanding of medical terminology
  • a recognised and current first aid qualification

Requirements and restrictions

You'll need to:

More information

Career tips

You'll be expected to understand how the NHS values apply in your work when applying for a job.

Further information

You can find out more about how to become an emergency medical dispatcher from Health Careers.

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With experience, you could become a team leader or control room superintendent.

You could also do additional training to become an emergency care assistant or paramedic.

Skills required and how your skills match up

What skills are required?

You'll need:

  • customer service skills
  • the ability to accept criticism and work well under pressure
  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail
  • patience and the ability to remain calm in stressful situations
  • sensitivity and understanding
  • the ability to think clearly using logic and reasoning
  • knowledge of public safety and security
  • administration skills
  • the ability to work well with others
  • to be able to carry out basic tasks on a computer or hand-held device
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