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

Salary

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.