How to Become a 911 Dispatcher in California

Prior to becoming a 911 Dispatcher in California, you must meet the state requirements and also possess the proper education and training that is requested.

Throughout the state of California, over 6,000 professional 911 dispatchers work tirelessly to effectively remedy emergency situations in the communities. In some of the bigger cities in the California, emergency services will be broken up between law enforcement and fire/EMT services. Once outside some of the larger cities, the emergency services are unified in a public communication facility.

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The concentration of 911 operator jobs can vary depending on the size of the city. A few cities with the greatest  concentrations of dispatchers include:

  • San Francisco: more than 1,000 operators
  • Los Angeles: more than 1,000 operators
  • Sacramento: just under 500 operators
  • San Bernardino-Riverside: over 750 operators
  • San Diego : over 575 operators

California 911 Dispatcher Training and Education

Though applicant requirements will  vary from department to department and each department has their own certifications, it is important to keep in mind that prospective California 911 operators will hold another at least one of the following certificates:

  • Emergency Medical Dispatch Certificate
  • Association of Public-Safety Communications Officials (APCO) Certificate
  • Fire Dispatch Training Certificate
  • Radio Training Program Certificate
  • COBOL Computer-Aided Dispatch Certificate
  • Public Safety Dispatchers’ Basic Course
  • California Fire Chiefs Association Communications Section Certificate
  • Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies (CALDEA) Certificate

how to become a 911 dispatcher in california
In preparation for high risk emergency situations, law enforcement agencies have been putting a larger emphasis on response training and tactical capabilities. The emphasis coming for the increased awareness of the role public safety operators play when it comes to assist emergency situation commands in dangerous incidents. These operators are part of the Public Safety Tactical Dispatcher Teams and receive their extensive training from the CATT. Training includes:

  • Advanced Tactical Operator Course
  • SWAT Tactical Operator Course

Academic Majors for 911 Operators in California

Besides the standard certifications for 911 operators, prospective dispatchers will need additional education in order to stand out from other applicants, for this reason, it is a great idea to obtain a college education in a major related to the profession. In some cases, work experience in a related field will also suffice.

Having previous work experience or education in any of the following subjects would be beneficial to prospective 911 operators:

  • Communications
  • Psychology
  • Emergency Management
  • Fire Science
  • Law Enforcement
  • Homeland Security
  • Nursing
  • Public Safety
  • Criminal Justice


Those who work as 911 operators in the state of California earn an excellent living serving those in their communities. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average California 911 dispatcher earns $57,140 per year.

Schooling Information for 911 Dispatchers in California

  • Homeland Security, AA
  • Criminal Justice, AA
  • Homeland Security, BA
Keiser University eCampus
  • DEM - Emergency Management
Capella University
  • BS - Criminal Justice
Capella University
  • MS - Cybersecurity
Capella University
  • Master of Science in Criminal Justice – Public Administration
  • JM: American Legal Studies
  • JM: General
  • JM: Health Law
  • JM: International Legal Studies
  • JM: Special Student (Non-Degree Seeking) - Legal Studies
  • LLM: International Legal Studies
  • MPA: Law & Public Policy
  • MS: Criminal Justice
  • MS: Criminal Justice: Forensic Psychology
  • MS: Criminal Justice: Homeland Security
Liberty University - Online
  • General-Advanced
  • Online Teaching in Higher Education
  • Doctor of Business Administration (DBA) - Homeland Security
  • PhD in Criminal Justice - Emergency Management
  • PhD in Criminal Justice - Global Leadership
  • PhD in Criminal Justice - Homeland Security Policy and Coordination
  • PhD in Criminal Justice - Law and Public Policy
  • PhD in Criminal Justice - Public Management and Leadership
Walden University
  • DBA - Criminal Justice
  • DBA - Homeland Security: Leadership & Policy
  • Doctor of Criminal Justice
Northcentral University
  • MS in Criminal Justice
  • MS in Criminal Justice: Advanced Counterterrorism & Homeland Security concentration
  • MS in Criminal Justice: Public Safety Administration concentration
Southern New Hampshire University - Online
  • Associate in Science Criminal Justice
  • Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice
  • Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice with concentration in Criminology
  • Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice with concentration in Homeland Secu
  • Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice with concentration in Legal Studies
  • Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice with concentration in Police Admini
  • BS Criminal Justice w/conc Human Services
  • BS Criminal Justice w/conc in Corrections
Southern New Hampshire University - Online
  • Master of Science in Criminal Justice
  • MS in Computer Science - Cyber Security
Lewis University - Online
  • BS in Cybersecurity - Information Assurance
  • BS in Cybersecurity - Cybercrime and Fraud Investigation
  • BS in Cybersecurity - Network Forensics and Intrusion Investigation
  • BS in Cybersecurity - Cyber Operations
  • Masters in Financial Crime and Compliance Management
  • MBA Economic Crime and Fraud Management
  • MS Cybersecurity - Intelligence
  • MS Cybersecurity - Computer Forensics
  • MS Cybersecurity - Cyber Operations
  • Bachelor of Science in Cybersecurity
  • Bachelor of Science in Fraud and Financial Crime Investigation
  • BS in Criminal Justice - Cyber Criminology and Policy
  • Computer Forensics Certificate
  • Cyber Crime and Fraud Investigation Certificate
  • Cyber Network Defense Certificate
  • Cyber Operations Certificate
  • Cyber Policy Certificate
  • Cybersecurity Technologies Certificate
  • Financial Crime and Compliance Operations Certificate
  • Financial Crime Investigation Certificate
  • Master of Professional Studies in Cyber Policy and Risk Analysis
  • MBA - Cyber Policy
  • MBA - Cybersecurity
  • Monitoring, Surveillance, and Intelligence Operations Certificate
  • MS in Cybersecurity - Electronic Crime
  • MS in Cybersecurity - Malware Analysis
  • MS in Data Science: Cybersecurity
  • MS in Data Science: Financial Crime
  • Online Bachelor of Science in Fraud and Financial Crime Investigation - Financial Investigation
  • Online Bachelor of Science in Fraud and Financial Crime Investigation - Fraud Prevention and Detection
  • Online Master of Science in Cybersecurity
  • BS in Criminal Justice - General
  • BS in Criminal Justice - Homeland Security
  • BS in Criminal Justice - Legal Issues in Criminal Justice
  • BS in Criminal Justice - Public Policy and Leadership
  • BS in Criminal Justice - White Collar Crime
  • BS in Criminal Intelligence Analysis
Utica College - Online
  • BS - Criminal Justice and Law Enforcement Administration
  • Master - Criminal Justice and Law Enforcement Administration
  • CTU - Criminal Forensics
Colorado State University - Global