Dispatch Clerk Job Description
Dispatch clerks coordinate the movement of shipments, services, and maintenance workers for freight transport, logistical industries, government agencies, and more. They act as a calm liaison between professional drivers, customers, and their company dispatch department. Dispatch clerks are frontline facilitators who divvy out work assignments, monitor job progress, and enter critical data. Effective dispatch clerks are heavy-duty communicators who handle stressful situations with confidence. They usually work on a full-time basis, although some part-time shift work is available. Employers look for candidates who are organized, sharp, and great under pressure. This fast-paced position is ideal for people with an eye for detail who can multitask quickly.
Dispatch Clerk Duties and Responsibilities
While a dispatch clerk’s day-to-day duties and responsibilities differ according to where they work, there are many core tasks associated with the role. Based on our analysis of job listings, these include:
Dispatch Drivers to Local Areas
Coordinating drivers is a key part of a dispatch clerk’s job. They often communicate between sales, operations, and company drivers via phone, email, text, and online software. Dispatch clerks develop transport routes and maintain communication with drivers throughout their workday.
Answer Incoming Calls
Dispatch clerks manage a high volume of incoming phone calls. When customers contact a company to set appointments or make requests, they expect professional service. Dispatch clerks answer this need by providing timely customer support. When changes are required, dispatch clerks cancel and shift reservations as needed.
Facilitate Work Assignments
Dispatch clerks receive and set up work orders. They appoint work crews, send out transport vehicles, and delegate the daily workload. Monitoring jobs in progress and briefing the right personnel about any logistical issues is also their responsibility.
Dispatch clerks accurately record driver and task status updates. It is their job to complete a significant amount of data entry, such as updating spreadsheets and typing relevant information into customer- or company-specific software.
Perform Clerical Tasks
Many dispatch clerks operate as office administrators and handle clerical projects, invoicing, and basic administrative tasks. They are critical to keeping the work environment efficient and productive. Filing needed paperwork in physical and digital forms is also a major responsibility for dispatch clerks.
Dispatch Clerk Skills and Qualifications
People who thrive as dispatch clerks are fast-paced, detail-oriented multitaskers with strong communication and computer skills. Employers prefer a high school degree or GED equivalent and at least one year of dispatching experience. The following skills are essential to getting the job done:
- Data entry – since they manage driver operations, dispatch clerks enter and maintain up-to-date data related to daily workload, such as mechanical failures, transport delivery service confirmations, customer requests, and invoiced expenses
- Communication skills – strong written and oral communication is vital for dispatch clerks because they must build strong relationships with drivers and customers to decrease the stress of last-minute schedule changes that are part of the job
- Troubleshooting – successful dispatch clerks are team players who regularly troubleshoot to solve a wide variety of problems, such as fixing invoicing issues, answering questions, and quickly responding to customer and personnel complaints
- Customer service – dispatch clerks interact daily with drivers, service professionals, and customers while handling requests, complaints, and frustrations from each with excellence and professionalism
- Time management – the duties dispatch clerks perform are often managed simultaneously throughout a shift, which means they must prioritize tasks effectively and swiftly plan for changing workload needs
Tools of the Trade
Dispatch clerks use these tools regularly and should have working knowledge of them:
- Microsoft Office (Excel spreadsheets and word processing)
- Communication tools (headset mics and technology)
- Transport logistics, warehouse,and customer service software
Dispatch Clerk Education and Training
Dispatch clerks can obtain employment with a high school diploma or GED equivalent. For some specific fields such as truck transport or aviation, specialized education such as DOT compliance or FAA dispatch licensing is required. However, many employers offer certification opportunities and on-the-job training in logistics, transportation, and warehouse management. Some employers also provide written manuals and more formal training on customer support software.
Dispatch Clerk Salary and Outlook
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) lists the median annual salary for dispatch clerks as $38,790, with a median hourly wage of $18.65. Dispatch clerks in the 10th percentile earn close to $24,000 a year, while the highest paid make $64,000 a year. Full-time dispatch clerks typically receive a benefits package that includes health coverage and a 401(k) plan.
Industry employment for dispatch clerks is expected to grow 2.7 percent through 2028. The rail transportation, truck transport, electric power distribution, and natural gas distribution sectors will have the highest demand and wages for dispatch clerks.
We searched the web for the best industry resources to help you continue exploring a career as a dispatch clerk. Here are more ways to learn whether becoming one is right for you:
Dispatcher Career: The Insider’s Guide to Finding a Job at an Amazing Firm, Acing the Interview & Getting Promoted – this book covers what job-seekers need to know to land their first dispatching job at a great company
“Become a Freight Dispatcher: Step-by-Step Career Guide” – this article is a step-by-step guide to becoming a freight dispatcher with tips on what training and experience is required to break into the logistics field
Truck Dispatch Manual 2018 – this simple guide teaches anyone newly interested in dispatch operations how to find more efficient loads and become more effective in the modern trucking workplace environment
Intermodal Association of North America – IANA is made up of industry professionals and provides education resources, networking opportunities, and other tools to dispatch clerks and other workers in the freight transport industry
Airline Dispatchers Federation – this association offers scholarships, educational training, dispatcher videos, and events including the NBAA Schedulers and Dispatchers Conference
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