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Emergency medical dispatcher

Alternative titles for this job include Emergency call handler, ambulance dispatcher

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

Average salary (a year)

£20,329 Starter


£24,881 Experienced

Typical hours (a week)

40 to 42 a week

You could work

evenings / weekends / bank holidays on shifts

How to become

Explore the different ways to get into this role.

How to become an emergency medical dispatcher

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

Entry requirements

There are no set entry requirements for this route.

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.

Entry requirements

Employers will set their own entry requirements.

More Information


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

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.

What it takes

Find out what skills you’ll use in this role.

What it takes

Skills and knowledge

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
  • to be able to carry out basic tasks on a computer or hand-held device

Restrictions and Requirements

You'll need to:

What you’ll do

Discover the day to day tasks you’ll do in this role.

What you'll do

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.

Career path and progression

Look at progression in this role and similar opportunities.

Career path and progression

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.

Current opportunities

Find apprenticeships, courses and jobs available near you.

Current opportunities

Apprenticeships In England

Police Controller - Apprenticeship

  • Wage: £31,494.02 Annually
  • Location: Not known

Police Controller - Apprenticeship

  • Wage: £31,494.02 Annually
  • Location: Not known

Courses In England


  • Start date: 11 September 2023
  • Location: Leeds

BTEC Certificate in Principles of Customer Service

  • Start date: 22 March 2023
  • Location: Bracknell

Jobs In the United Kingdom

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