How Can I Become a Freight Dispatcher?
Do you have a talent for multitasking? Are you savvy with software? Can you imagine yourself on a two-way radio making fast-paced, critical decisions? If so, read on to learn more about training and job requirements for freight dispatchers. Schools offering Global Operations & Supply Chain Management degrees can also be found in these popular choices.
To Become a Freight Dispatcher, What Education Do I Need?
A freight dispatcher needs to have a high school diploma or its equivalent. Other preparation typically comes in the form of on-the-job training. Though a few positions mandate little to no preliminary training, most employers give you anywhere from a few days to a few months to learn to operate new technologies and manipulate data at sufficient speeds and accuracies.
For example, Michigan offers a public safety and protective services vocational program that provides the general skills and background knowledge for prospective dispatcher employees. That's followed by about two months of classroom education. In this case, your training culminates in advanced courses or honing job expertise in an entry-level role.
What Skills Should I Develop?
An understanding of basic mathematics, communication, computer software and electronics can help you prepare to become a freight dispatcher. You can start studying these subject areas as early as high school. These fundamentals, combined with a strong ability to manage data sets, can help you cope with pressure and solve problems as they're quickly thrown at you on the job. When applying for a specific position, it may help to know the street layout and traffic patterns of the areas covered by your prospective dispatch.
What Are My Daily Duties?
Technology and computer programs you may work with include the Rail Traffic Track Warrant Control System, the just-in-time system, radio-frequency identification or software that implements auto-routing. You maintain constant contact with supervisors while overseeing freights en route and monitoring subordinates, schedules and freight orders.
Generally, you make these decisions in an office; this may entail spending long hours in front of computer monitors. As a freight dispatcher, you may work weekends, holidays, overtime and occasionally during extreme weather conditions. Some dispatchers belong to local or national unions.
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