Truck and Bus Dispatcher
Truck and Bus Dispatcher
Education and Training High school and on-the job training
Salary Median—$30,920 per year
Employment Outlook Good
Definition and Nature of the Work
Truck and bus dispatchers coordinate the movements of trucks and buses entering and leaving terminals. Truck dispatchers assign drivers to trucks and make sure they have the correct freight-charge bills for their loads. Bus dispatchers assign drivers to buses and ensure that the buses move out of the terminals on schedule.
Both truck and bus dispatchers stay in touch with drivers on the road, communicating by phone, computer, or two-way radio. Dispatchers answer drivers' questions and solve problems. For example, they may tell drivers which routes to take to avoid traffic jams. Progress of drivers along their routes is charted on large control boards in company offices. Dispatchers are required to keep the boards up to date.
When trucks and buses return to terminals, dispatchers check them in and handle their trip records. Dispatchers may also handle customers' requests and complaints.
Education and Training Requirements
Truck and bus dispatchers usually have high school diplomas or the equivalent. Initially, most truck and bus dispatchers are hired for driving jobs. As drivers, they become familiar with federal and state driving regulations, terminal procedures, and company operations. Once they have shown proficiency, they may be promoted to dispatcher positions and trained on the job.
Getting the Job
Drivers who show the necessary abilities may advance to dispatcher positions. A small number of truck dispatchers begin their careers as dockworkers or clerical workers and get promoted.
Job seekers can apply directly to truck or bus companies. Newspaper classified ads and Internet job sites may provide employment leads.
Advancement Possibilities and Employment Outlook
Advancement possibilities are good for dispatchers who remain with their companies for several years and demonstrate ability to handle assignments competently. Some dispatchers advance to truck terminal managers.
Employment of truck and bus dispatchers is expected to grow as fast as the average for all occupations through 2014. Economic conditions in some geographical areas may affect the number of job openings, especially new positions. Openings regularly occur when experienced dispatchers retire or leave the field.
Dispatchers must work well under pressure and be able to respond to emergencies quickly and efficiently. Forty-hour weeks are typical. However, in emergencies or when the workload is particularly heavy, dispatchers may be expected to put in extra hours.
Earnings and Benefits
In 2004 the median salary of truck and bus dispatchers was $30,920 per year. The most experienced workers earned more than $52,440 per year.
Where to Go for More Information
American Society of Transportation and Logistics
1700 N. Moore St., Ste. 1900
Arlington, VA 22209
Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals
2805 Butterfield Rd., Ste. 200
Oak Brook, IL 60523
Benefits often include paid vacations and holidays, life and health insurance, and retirement plans.