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How To Become A 911 Operator

by Antra Kamble
How To Become A 911 Operator

Most of the students don’t know how to become a 911 Operator who wishes to pursue this occupation. 911 Operators work just like other public safety professionals. Various universities and colleges offer degree programs for 911 Operators. You can surely join the best association for specialized training opportunities. There are some basic qualifications and training guidelines that you must know as a new 911 Operator. In my article, I help you to learn how to become a 911 Operator in your state.

How To Become A 911 Operator?

Below steps for how to become a 911 operator or dispatcher will help you to build a carrier in this field.

  1. Complete A Bachelor’s Degree
  2. Take Classroom Training Courses.
  3. Pass And Apply For Civil Service Exam.
  4. Undergo Special Training Program.
  5. Obtain Certifications
  6. Finding The Right Employer

911 Operators are on the front lines of helping their community and public safety officials. This career path can be incredibly rewarding if you know how to become a 911 operator.

Let us now move forward with this article.

Step By Step Guide To Become A 911 Operator

Before you apply to be a 911 operator, I recommend you to fully understand the procedure of this position. Continue to read to know how to become a 911 operator in detail.

  1. Complete A Bachelor’s Degree

Candidates who are interested in pursuing a career in this field must complete a bachelor’s degree program. You can choose any field which is closely related to this field. It provides you better career advancement and opportunities. Many agencies do accept a formal academic program as a substitute for experience. These are the most relevant study areas for the occupation of 911 operator or dispatcher.

This will surely help you to accelerate into a management-related position in a faster way.

  1. Take Classroom Training Courses.

After a bachelor’s degree, individuals can take certain training courses for further preparations. These are the typical courses you may find in the 911 dispatcher or operator training programs.

  • Basic Telecommunications.
  • Advanced CPR/AED/ First Aid training.
  • Critical Incident Stress training.
  • Terrorism.
  • Suicide Intervention.
  • Emergency Medical Dispatch.
  • Domestic Violence.
  • TTY Training
  • Hazardous Materials
  • Prepare For Employment

These classroom courses can cost you anywhere from $50 to $100 dollars each.

  1. Pass And Apply For Civil Service Examination

Some agencies select 911 operators on the results based on a civil service examination. The civil service commission of each state is responsible for the administration of this examination. Candidates must apply and pass this examination. You need to submit your proof of citizenship, a criminal background check, and a high school diploma degree.

  1. Undergo Special Training Program

Most of the 911 operators undergo rigorous training before joining the actual work. Normally this training program is administered by a country’s emergency management bureau. It consists of classroom instructions and practical hands-on training. These are the subjects you generally focus on in this training program.

  • Communications
  • Emergency
  • Medical Dispatch

This training program lasts anywhere from 400 to 520 hours. Here, you also get an hourly salary ranging from $10,75 to $26.00 depending upon the area.

  1. Obtain Certifications

These professionals must often need to undergo extensive training. Here, their skills are tested with the complete medical and psychological evaluation. Most states require 40 hours of initial training with the completion of ongoing education. Some states customize their state training programs through the below professional associations.

  • Association of Public-Safety Communications Officials (APCO)
  • The National Emergency Number Association (NENA)
  • The National Academies of Emergency Dispatch (NAED)
  1. Finding The Right Employer

This is the most crucial step in this field. One of the great routes to identify 911 operator job opportunities is to look for the state’s PSAPs. Here, PSAP stands for Public Safety Answering Points. These are the best contact points for people who call 911 very often. You can also search for professional opportunities through the state’s secondary PSAPs. The calls from primary PSAPs are transferred to these centers. Generally, PSAP’s can be located at the following places.

  • Police Departments
  • Fire Stations
  • Call Centers
  • Public Safety Departments

Degree Programs To Become A 911 Operator

There are several study areas ideal for a 911 Operator career. Individuals are free to choose any one of these degree programs to build their career in this field. After knowing how to become a 911 operator lets see the degrees

  1. Programs For Public Safety Degree

This program is perfect for people who are seeking emergency dispatching, management, fire protection, environmental health, and safety occupations. These programs provide you an applied and theoretical approach to the study of emergency management and public safety.

  1. Programs For Emergency Management Degree

This emergency management degree program prepares students for the emergency process. Following are the topics included in this degree program.

  • Contemporary Issues in Public Safety Management
  • Principles of Security Management
  • Risk Management and Threat Assessment
  • Ethics and Leadership in Safety
  • Emergency Management Theories and Practices
  • Security Operations Theories and Practices
  • Security and Emergency Management Agencies

An emergency management degree can be effective to prepare emergency dispatch personnel in terms of crisis prevention.

  1. Program For Communication Degree

Communication degrees are a great choice for many candidates who enter the field of emergency communications. These programs can provide you an overview of areas like public media, organizational communication, and interpersonal communication. Following are the courses included in a communications degree program.

  • Written and oral communications
  • Interpersonal communications
  • Communication theory
  • Public Speaking
  • Narrative concept and development
  • Critical thinking and analysis
  • Research and academic writing
  • Foundations of communication

Courses In 911 Operator Training Programs.

Agencies usually want an individual to complete a 911 operator training program. This includes ongoing classes as well as on-the-job training. Most of the agencies set their own training standards. Following are the important courses that you will cover in the training program of 911 dispatcher or operator.

  • Professional ethics
  • Domestic Violence
  • Radio Technology
  • Telephone Technology
  • Hands-on training with team leads
  • Memorizing radio codes
  • Learning the phonetic alphabet

Areas Of Specialization To Become A 911 Operator

Emergency operators are mostly seen in police, fire, and emergency medical services. You can choose any of these areas to become a 911 Operator.

  1. 911 Police Operators

911 Police Operator answers call and collect all the information regarding the emergency issue. For less serious situations, operators Nearly all police dispatcher positions require candidates to have at least one or two years of customer service experience. Those who wish to pursue police dispatcher jobs should have the above-mentioned qualifications with average typing speeds with maximum accuracy.

  1. 911 Fire Operators

911 fire operators are expected to be in training for up to 18 months. Here they get to learn how to use their agency’s emergency communications systems to respond to the call quickly and effectively. Sometimes they can also answer non-emergency services such as animal control and city utilities.

  1. 911 Operators For EMS

911 Operators work for emergency medical services (EMS). Operators in this department will go through company-paid training. EMS Operators are generally employed in cities or municipalities. A primary 911 call take determines if the emergency is for medical services. They are responsible for keeping track of the dispatched units and transmitting information to the responding cells.

Eligibility Criteria To Become A 911 Operator

A desiring student always wants to know the necessary eligibility criteria required to become a 911 Operator. I have mentioned down some essential points you need to keep in mind before stepping into this field.

  • Must be a high school graduate or equivalent.
  • Hold a bachelor’s degree in any field.
  • The desiring candidate must be at least 18 years of age.
  • Must pass a hearing test.
  • You must have knowledge of laws, legal codes, government regulations, and agency rules.
  • Good knowledge of computer applications, programs, hardware, and software.
  • Candidates need to have great jurisdictional geographical area knowledge.

Required Skills To Become A 911 Operator

Until now you have learned how to become a 911 Operator along with the various training programs. A candidate must have the following skills to be a 911 operator.

  • Good communication skills.
  • Must have at least typing speed of 35 words per minute
  • Candidates must be able to speak and write in the English language.
  • Excellent problem-solving skills.
  • Must have knowledge of administrative as well as clerical procedures.
  • Ability to work in complex situations.
  • Apply logic and reasoning when needed.

Certifications For A 911 Operator

911 operators are often recommended to look out for certifications in order to enhance their knowledge. All these below certification helps you to properly position yourselves to utilize the opportunities for professional development. Continue to read to know what are the different certifications you require to become a successful 911 Operator.

  • Emergency Medical Dispatcher (EMD) Certification

In the EMD Certification, 911 Operators are able to learn how to work with the patient until the arrival of medical help. They are also taught how to implement the proper emergency resources. Following are the subjects covered in the EMD certification program.

  1. Obtaining Information from callers.
  2. Roles and responsibilities of EMD.
  3. Stress Management.
  4. Quality Assurance
  5. Re-certification
  6. Allocation of resources
  7. Anatomy
  8. Physiology
  9. EMD National and State Standards
  10. EMD Legal and Liability Issues

Desired students should be capable of basic telecommunicator training in order to attain the EMD certification. Candidates must also maintain the current CPR certification from an organization.

  • Emergency Fire Dispatcher (EFD) Certification

The Emergency Fire Dispatcher (EFD) certification is created for the fire-rescue dispatchers. It is an intensive 3-day certification course. This course involves actual and simulated calls, participation in class, along an immersive teaching approach. You need to pass in a written examination by scoring a minimum of eighty percent.

  • Emergency Number Professionals (ENP) Certification

The Emergency Number Professionals (ENP) Certification was created to raise the performance bar of emergency operators. Interested candidates can take the exams for ENP 4 times a year. Following are the required eligibility criteria for the ENP certification.

  1. 3-years of emergency communication experience
  2. 3-years of the commercial provider of services and products for emergency communication experience.

This ENP certification remains valid for up to four years.

  • Emergency Police Dispatch (EPD) Certification

The Emergency Police Dispatch (EPD) certification is created for law enforcement dispatchers. Candidates should be involved in this 3-day certification course. You have to attend and pass a written test with a score of a minimum of 80 percent for certification.

  • Registered Public-Safety Leader (RPL) Certification

RPL certified 911 Operators can work up to the level of the APCO Institute Registry of Public-Safety Leaders. Following are the important areas that are covered in this RPL program.

  1. Enhancement of team performance.
  2. Leadership with integrity and confidence.
  3. Management of high-performance teams
  4. Communication with authority
  5. Reduction of barriers
  6. Application of skill sets to improve APCO

For this RPL certification, the eligible candidate should be an international member of APCO.

  • Emergency Telecommunicator Certification (ETC)

The Emergency Telecommunication Certification (ETC) is designed for new 911 operators. These are the important subjects in the coursework in this ETC program.

  1. Medical Call Classification
  2. Classification For Police Call
  3. Essentials For Telecommunication
  4. Quality Improvement
  5. Manmade and Natural Catastrophic Events
  6. Emergency Telecommunication Technologies
  7. Caller Management
  8. Classification for Fire Call
  9. Public Safety Communication
  10. Management of Stress
  11. The Roles and Responsibilities of the Emergency Telecommunicator

Responsibilities Of A 911 Operator

These are the typical responsibilities of a 911 operator or dispatcher.911 operators are the ones who answer the incoming emergency calls and are specially trained operators that can make a difference in each life-or-death situation!

  • Taking incoming calls from police, fire, and other emergency medical services.
  • Questioning the callers to know their locations.
  • Determining the nature of the emergency.
  • Figuring out the best solution according to the situation.
  • Calling the emergency response units to determine their availability.
  • Capturing and inputting the data from automated data systems.
  • Recording all the details of calls, dispatches, and messages.

Benefits Of Becoming A 911 Operator

Being a 911 operator is a very important job that has Employees working as a 911 operator receives various benefits from this profile.

  1. Retirement Contributions
  2. Health Insurance
  3. Life Insurance
  4. Generous Paid Time Off.
  5. Competitive salary with opportunity for increment.
  6. Recognition events throughout the year.
  7. Generous Vacation Plan
  8. Excellent dental benefits

Best Institutes To Become A 911 Operator

Individuals who want to become 911 operators usually seek for the best college to complete a degree program. Following are the best schools available for how to become a 911 operator.

  1. Purdue University Global
  2. Southern New Hampshire University
  3. Columbia Southern University
  4. Oakland Community College
  5. Arapahoe Community College
  6. Salt Lake Community College
  7. Portland Community College
  8. Mesa Community College
  9. Eastern Florida State College
  10. South Texas College
  11. Central Piedmont Community College
  12. Glendale Community College

Job Opportunities For A 911 Operator

After knowing how to become a 911 operator, you must be thinking about possible job opportunities. Following are the possible job titles you apply for in this field.

  • 911 Call Taker
  • 911 Communication Specialist
  • 911 Dispatcher
  • 911 Operator
  • 911 Telecommunicator
  • Emergency Dispatcher
  • Police Dispatcher
  • Fire Dispatcher

Time To Become A 911 Operator

It takes roughly four to five years to become a 911 Operator. 911 Operator training can take from 3 to 6 months to complete. Depending upon the area of specialization, you may be required to complete entire job training programs.

Salary Of A 911 Operator

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average salary of a 911 Operator is $38,010 per annum. Depending upon the state, $59,770 is the highest amount of salary earned by a 911 Operator. Earning potential for emergency dispatchers varies widely according to the type of department.

Dispatchers working in state government earned the highest annual average salary of $45,710.

While the dispatchers working in ambulance services earned the lowest annual income of $36, 170. 911 Operators working in police, fire, and ambulance earn an average annual salary of $39,640.

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FAQ

How Long Does It Take To Become A 911 Operator?

It takes roughly four to five years to become a 911 Operator. 911 Operator training can take from 3 to 6 months to complete. Depending upon the area of specialization, you may be required to complete entire job training programs.

How Much Money Do You Make Being A 911 Operator?

A 911 Operator earns a minimum of $38,010 and a maximum of $59,770 salary depending upon the area of specialization. Earning potential for emergency dispatchers varies widely according to the type of department. Dispatchers working in state government earned the highest annual average salary of $45,710.

What Education Do I Need To Be A 911 Operator?

To be a 911 Operator you need the following educational qualifications for how to become a 911 operator

  • Must be a high school graduate or equivalent.
  • Hold a bachelor’s degree in any field.
  • The desiring candidate must be at least 18 years of age
  • Must pass a hearing test.
  • You must have knowledge of laws, legal codes, government regulations, and agency rules.
  • Good knowledge of computer applications, programs, hardware, and software.
  • Candidates need to have great jurisdictional geographical area knowledge.

What Requirements Do You Need To Be A 911 Dispatcher?

You need the following qualities for how to become a 911 Dispatcher.

  • Must be a high school graduate or equivalent.
  • Hold a bachelor’s degree in any field.
  • The desiring candidate must be at least 18 years of age.
  • Must pass a hearing test.
  • You must have knowledge of laws, legal codes, government regulations, and agency rules.
  • Good knowledge of computer applications, programs, hardware, and software.
  • Candidates need to have great jurisdictional geographical area knowledge.

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Conclusion

Thus, my above article has provided you with a step-by-step guide for how to become a 911 Operator. You should take education, certification, and various degree programs into consideration to become a dispatcher. Here, I have mentioned different areas for specialization where you can definitely master your skills. The time taken to become a 911 Operator can vary depending on the specialty. My above guide about how to become a 911 Operator will be surely helpful for those who want to become a 911 Operator.

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