How To Become a 911 Dispatcher

Operator accepting calls

Everyone knows the numbers to dial in case of emergencies: 9-1-1. What we don’t often think of is the person who answers the call. 911 dispatchers are a very important job. They are the ones responsible for making sure that everyone gets the needed help on time. Being a 911 dispatcher can be a very rewarding job. While you can get regular pay and training during the job, there is no greater reward than being able to help other people.

Here are a few tips on how to become a 911 dispatcher:

  1. Earn all of your requirements. All those who want to become a 911 dispatcher must have a high school diploma. Also, like any other job, you cannot work unless you are over eighteen years of age. Only citizens of the United States of America are allowed to work as a 911 dispatcher. Some departments might require a written examination for you to be able to apply.
  2. Prepare yourself mentally. Remember that as a 911 dispatcher you will have to stay calm and keep your cool during emergency situations. These emergencies can greatly vary from something as small as an animal emergency to something as big as a bank robbery. Lives can sometimes be at stake, and you will have to be ready to take the stress. You won’t be able to work well if you start to panic, so you have to be able to take the strain of the job. This is why a psychological test is conducted for those who want to be a 911 dispatcher.
  3. Learn how to type without looking at the keyboard. This is a sure way to improve your typing skills. As a 911 dispatcher, you will have to record all the reports made. All the information is also very important in times of emergencies. You might not have the luxury of having the reporter repeat various information, so you have to be able to record them as quickly and as accurately as possible. Try practicing at home with your computer so you can improve the speed and accuracy of our typing.
  4. Develop your communication skills. You must learn how to communicate well even to those who are panicking and in distress. They are not always easy to talk to, but you will still have to try your best to communicate and get the information you need. You will also need to learn how to talk and instruct little children, as sometimes they are the ones who make the call when adults are unable to do so. Getting information from those who have reported an incident is vital. You will not be able to help them and send for help if you do not get the data you need.

Always remember that aside from your individual preparation, you will be required by your localities to take several exams and tests to ensure that you are fit for the job. They will do a background check on you as well. Being a 911 dispatcher takes a lot. You will need a lot of hard work and a passion for helping others.


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