Having the proper 911 operator education and training are key components to all 911 dispatcher or operator jobs, so choose wisely. These are front line communications professionals who must have the ability to competently gather information, outline the details of every emergency situation, and be able to effectively dispatch emergency fire, medical and law enforcement when needed. Additionally, 911 operators, or 911 dispatchers, often need extensive medical knowledge in order to properly navigate the caller, by phone, through preliminary information that could prove life-saving.
Make sure that you prepare yourself adequately for your career as a 911 operator.
What is an Appropriate Academic Major to Become a 911 Operator?
Individuals seeking to become emergency dispatchers, or operators, usually seek a college degree to expand their knowledge of diverse topics pertaining to emergency communications and life-saving techniques.
There are several study areas that can prove to be ideal for a 911 operator career (here are just a few):
- Homeland Security
- Emergency Management
- Criminal Justice
- Public Safety
Program for Communications Degree
Communications degrees are a logical choice for many who enter the field of emergency communications. These programs can provide a worthwhile overview of such important areas as public media, organizational communication, and interpersonal communication.
Expected courses within a communications degree program can include:
- Written and oral communications
- Interpersonal communications
- Communication theory
- Public speaking
- Narrative concept and development
- Critical thinking and analysis
- Research and academic writing
- Foundations of communication
Programs for Emergency Management Degree
An emergency management degree can effectively prepare emergency dispatch personnel, in terms of learning effective management techniques for emergency response situations, as well as crisis prevention.
Emergency management degree programs prepare students for the emergency process, which is invaluable for 911 calls.
Emergency management degrees will include topics such as:
- Contemporary Issues in Public Safety Management
- Principles of Security Management
- Risk Management and Threat Assessment
- Ethics and Leadership in Safety
- Emergency Management Theories and Practices
- Security Operations Theories and Practices
- Security and Emergency Management Agencies
Programs for Public Safety Degree
Most public safety degrees are perfect for people seeking emergency dispatching, emergency management, fire protection, emergency medical response, and environmental health and safety occupations. The majority of these programs provide an applied and theoretical approach to the study of emergency management and public safety.
- New Hampshire
- New Jersey
- New Mexico
- New York
- North Dakota
- Rhode Island
- South Carolina
- South Dakota
- West Virginia
Coursework in public safety programs can include such important topics as the following:
- Public Safety Planning
- Technology in Contemporary Society
- Public Safety Leadership
- Public Safety Legal Issues and Political Policy
- Media and Society
- Contemporary Public Safety Practices
Programs for Homeland Security Degree
Coursework in homeland security degrees can involve the following worthwhile topics:
- Legal issues in homeland security
- Global comparative justice
- Weapons of mass destruction
- Emergency planning
- Multi-cultural communications for law enforcement
A homeland security degree will prepare students with coursework to include the following:
- Policies and procedures of the Department of Homeland Security
- Knowledge of legal issues pertaining to homeland security
- The principles of surveillance and security
Programs for Criminal Justice Degree
A Criminal Justice degree will provide a great foundation within the emergency communications field.
This degree plan can cover legal concepts which include the areas of criminal liability, use of force and due process.
Criminal justice programs often include some of the following coursework:
- Correctional Systems
- Substantive Criminal Law
- Introduction to Law and the Legal System
- Law Enforcement Systems
- Research Methods in Criminal Justice
- Introduction to Criminal Justice
- Criminal Investigation
- Police Organizations and Administration
Basic 911 Dispatcher Training Program
Training begins with an offer letter of employment by the PSAP. All new 911 dispatchers must complete the in-house training that is usually provided by the state through agencies such as the following:
- State Board of Education (SBOE)
- State Law Enforcement Academy
- Department of Public Safety (DPS)
- Standards and Training (some local training can go through various PSAPs)
Basic operator training programs often include the following topics:
- Critical Incidents
- FEMA/Weapons of Mass Destruction
- Workplace communications
- Domestic violence awareness
- Ethics and professionalism
- Fire and EMS Services
- Civil liability
- Criminal law
- Law enforcement overview
- Stress Management
Additional CPR certification from the any of the following include:
- National Safety Council
- American Red Cross
- American Heart Association
Most training programs consist of 40 hours of initial training and between 6-18 months of on-the-job training.
We want to see you achieve your goal of becoming a 911 dispatcher, or 911 operator. Let us know how we can help.