How To Become A 911 Dispatch Operator

Police rely on dispatch operators to relay important information quickly. The 911 dispatch operator is the first means of communication for police and other emergency service personnel. These operators answer emergency phone calls and send the appropriate emergency personnel or vehicles to an accident or crime scene. In some states, those interested in this position can be hired and learn on the job. Other states require applicants to undergo dispatcher courses before applying for a emergency dispatcher position.

Application Requirements For Emergency Dispatchers

Before applying for dispatcher courses, applicants must obtain a high school diploma or a GED. Applicants must be legal United States citizens, with no prior criminal record. Working in any field that allows the applicant to obtain experience in law enforcement, medical services or safety training is helpful, as well. Before applying to study 911 dispatch training, applicants should have excellent typing skills as information must be entered into a computer system quickly to dispatch emergency personnel in a timely manner.

Training Courses For Dispatch Operators

Many states require applicants to enter and complete a training program in 911 dispatch training. These programs typically take nine months to one year to complete. Applicants may also wish to complete a training course in public safety services and graduate with an associate’s degree. During dispatcher courses, students will learn important communication skills that will allow them to interact well with victims and their families. Students must also learn how to walk someone through CPR verbally and develop skills in customer service. Other courses will teach students how to deal with potential suicide victims and stress management skills. Courses in domestic violence will also help future 911 dispatchers learn how to diffuse stressful situations inside the home.

Emergency Dispatcher Certification Programs

Some states require students to obtain a certification after training is complete from a recognized organization such as the National Academies of Emergency Dispatch before securing employment. These programs typically require students to pass an exam after all training courses are complete. Emergency applicants must also pass a background screening, a drug test, a physical exam and a polygraph test prior to employment.

Working as a 911 dispatch operator is both exciting and fulfilling. This type of work allows operators to make a significance in victims lives when helping them in a time of need. However, it is important to note that working as a 911 dispatch operator can be stressful. Those working in this capacity may be required by their employer to under psychological counseling several times a year as a preventative measure.