Citizens that experience an emergency such as an accident, burglary or fire will use the number 911 in order to make contact with a dispatcher. The dispatcher will then immediately determine the location and the situation which they then communicate onto paramedics, police officers or fire fighters. A 911 dispatcher performs the role of trying to save lives in the work that they conduct.
Dispatchers that work for ambulances, fire and police mainly work full-time and a typical day will consist of an 8 to 12 hour shift. Certain dispatching agencies can even operate on a 24 hour shift. Overtime and on-call hours are usual and many of the shifts will involve evening and weekend hours. According to the U.S Bureau Of Labor Statistics the “median annual salary” for ambulance, fire and police dispatchers was around $38,000 in the month of May 2015.
In order to work as a dispatcher it is not a necessity to obtain a degree, however, a bachelor’s or associate’s degree is preferable by a number of employers. One can obtain a degree in computer science, communications or criminal justice and certification may be a prerequisite dependent on the state. In addition, the individual has to have a criminal background that is clean and pass a drug and lie detector test have good vision and hearing and be a U.S citizen. The career of a dispatcher involves that the person should have strong empathy and listening skills along with the abilities related to multi-tasking, problem-solving skills, leadership skills. Other important skills include good typing skills and expertise in dispatch computer-aided software.
Steps On Becoming A 911 Dispatcher
Step 1 Earn The Right Education
In the majority of cases, just a high-school diploma is sufficient for the entry-level positions as a dispatcher. However, in other situations, some types of emergency-response agencies will favor the applicants that have college degrees.
Step 2 Complete The Application Process
To successfully become a 911 dispatcher there is a long application process which needs to be completed. The first part is a standard application that needs to be completed and sent to the emergency-responses offices attached with the applicants resume. This is followed by a self-assessment questionnaire. In some cases a typing examination will also need to be completed or an official document that certifies the applicants typing skills.
Step 3 Complete The Dispatcher Training Program
Once accepted as a potential dispatcher, there will be training program that will need to be completed. These programs will typically consist of 40 hours in a classroom environment as well as at the place of work. These training programs consist of various topics that include telephone technology, radio technology, domestic violence and professional ethics.
Step 4 Think About Certification
Certification in this field is mandatory in some of the states and voluntary in others. This certification is either available through the training programs or directly through the employment agency.
Step 5 Continue With Education
Continuing education in this career is necessary to stay active in this particular vocation. 911 dispatchers will be required to participate on a regular basis in training programs that are on offer by the employer.