911 Dispatcher Careers

911 Dispatcher Jobs

If you are interested in looking into 911 dispatcher jobs, otherwise known as 911 operator jobs, you have come to the right place.

Where does a 911 dispatcher work?

The FCC has collected data to build a registry of public safety answering points (PSAPs). A primary PSAP is defined by the FCC as a PSAP to which 9-1-1 calls are routed directly from the 9-1-1 Control Office, such as in cases of a selective router or 9-1-1 tandem. A secondary PSAP is defined by the FCC as a PSAP to which 9-1-1 calls are transferred from a primary PSAP.

Within the US, there are presently over 6,100 PSAPs. These PSAPs are staffed with highly qualified professionals (911 dispatchers and 911 operators) who are well-trained and confident in expert emergency communications.

Dispatchers provide the backbone of the country’s 911 emergency dispatch system and are consistently relied on to be sure that the american public receives the best communications as well as dispatch services possible. 911 dispatchers save lives every day.

Types of Places for 911 Dispatcher Employment 

  • Centralized dispatch centers is where every emergency call is fielded and then routed through a single 911 enhanced  system.
  • Jobs are also found in individual police, fire and EMS dispatch centers in jurisdictions without these centralized systems.

Jurisdictions that do not have a central emergency communications system in place as the setting, jobs as a dispatcher are usually designated as the following:

  • 911 call takers: handle inbound 911 calls and then routing them appropriately to the dispatching service.
  • Fire and EMS dispatchers: handle organizing and dispatching fire, ambulance, or medivac units while communicating with emergency personnel directly.
  • Police dispatchers: handle organizing all dispatching services for the appropriate police department.

911 Operator/Dispatcher Job Function

Being a 911 operator/dispatcher will include the ability to answer inquiries, determine the response requirements and prioritizing situations, refer calls to the proper law enforcement agencies or emergency medical services companies, and dispatch units according to standards.

911 dispatcher jobs are accomplished by those with advanced communication skills and the proven capacity for working within stressful and challenging circumstances. 911 operators take down important information from the caller, especially details of the emergency and the address of where it is taking place. 911 operators then quickly implement the appropriate team or conduct a transfer of the call to the appropriate agency and department.

It benefits 911 dispatchers greatly to have excellent computer skills and medical knowledge.

The Benefits and Challenges to 911 Dispatching

Being a 911 dispatcher or 911 operator is a very important job that has its benefits and its challenges. Be prepared going into the role so that you can do the best job possible without allowing it to adversely affect you:

  • Emergency dispatching can be very demanding, and is handled best by one who can remain calm and collected during a crisis. Imagine someone calling when their life is in danger. A 911 dispatcher must be able to remain professional and keep their own emotions in check.
  • Multi-tasking is a much-needed talent, for there will be times when a 911 dispatcher may simultaneously be handling several important tasks.
  • 911 dispatchers must have resilience and be able to emotionally snap back from challenging emergencies.
  • Teamwork is critical to the success of a 911 dispatcher. Emergency communications professionals must be able to have the utmost confidence in one another.
  • The rewards of a 911 operator job can be truly powerful. Most people will never experience the absolute joy of contributing to saving a human life. What an immense sense of fulfillment when conducting a 911 call that leads to the perfect resolution.

The National 911 Office

The National 911 Program’s goal is to provide Federal leadership and coordination in supporting and promoting optimal 911 services. This Federal “home” for 911 plays a critical role by coordinating Federal efforts that support 911 services across the nation.

The 911 system was created to offer a user-friendly and universal number for individuals to contact fire or emergency medical personnel and police from any location and with any phone, without the hassle of looking up phone numbers. People presently communicate in ways that surely the original designers of the 911 system did not fully fathom: social media, Internet Protocol (IP)-enabled devices, wireless phones, text and video messages, and much more. The National 911 Program collaborates effectively with providers of technology, public safety officials, 911 professionals, and States to facilitate the smoothest transition to the updated 911 system that capitalizes on the newest communications technologies.

In 2004, Congress created the 911 Implementation and Coordination Office (ICO); this evolved into the present National 911 Program that resides at the U.S. Department of Transportation within the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

The National 911 Program creates and shares a variety of resources and tools to help 911 systems.

Salary Expectations for 911 Dispatchers

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median salary range for 911 dispatchers is $38,010 per year, or $18.27 per hour.