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Emergency medical dispatcher

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

Annual Salary

£20,329 to £24,881

Average UK salary in 2019 was £30,378
(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 6% more Emergency medical dispatcher jobs in 2026.
In your local area

Day to day tasks

in your day-to-day duties you may:

  • keep the caller calm to get essential information
  • find out the location and details of what happened
  • give basic first aid advice to people facing life-threatening situations
  • help people cope until an ambulance arrives
  • decide whether the caller needs an ambulance, car, motorbike or helicopter
  • work out which vehicle is nearest
  • contact the crew and pass on vital information
  • create electronic records of calls and events

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

Good computer skills and a typing qualification could be useful to get into this job, for example:

  • Level 2 Award in Touch Typing
  • Level 2 ECDL Award in IT User Skills

For more information

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

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

For more information
Volunteering and work experience

Paid or unpaid experience of working in healthcare would be useful. You could contact the voluntary services co-ordinator or manager at your local NHS trust for advice about opportunities.

You can also find volunteering opportunities through The National Council for Voluntary Organisations and Do IT.

Direct application

You can apply directly to your local ambulance service.

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

  • GCSEs grade 9 to 4 (A* to C) in English, maths and science
  • experience in customer care, like a call centre operator
  • map reading skills and knowledge of local geography
  • an understanding of medical terminology
  • the ability to speak a community language
  • a recognised and up-to-date first aid qualification

Requirements and restrictions

You'll need to:

More information

Career tips

When applying for jobs and apprenticeships, you'll be expected to have an understanding of how NHS values apply in your work.

Further information

You can find out more about becoming 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 take additional training to become an emergency care assistant or a 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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