Emergency Dispatch Schools

Get info on finding a school that offers emergency dispatch training, and find out what you'd learn as a student. Check the requirements for employment as an emergency dispatcher, and review the typical job duties for this position. Read about the career outlook and salary potential for emergency dispatchers. Schools offering Fire & Emergency Services degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Schools Have Emergency Dispatch Programs?

For the most part, certification, degrees or training in emergency dispatch is offered by community colleges or through adult continuing education programs. This is because a degree or certification is not necessary to work as an emergency dispatcher. Generally, employers provide training after hiring you and only require that you have a high school diploma.

Emergency dispatch programs range from a 1-semester certification program to 2-year associate's degrees. Regardless of the exact nature of the program, most contain coursework in telephone and radio communications, police and fire procedures, computer systems, emergency first aid and a variety of incident-response protocols.

What are the Hiring Procedures?

To work as an emergency dispatcher, sometimes called a telecommunicator or 911 operator you will likely need to pass a test, be observed at work for a period time, be interviewed and pass a background check. Once hired, you will be extensively trained to learn the systems and protocols of your employer. Training can last as long as 8-9 months.

What Tasks Will I Perform?

Emergency dispatchers are the first line of communication between the public and emergency response teams. Usually, you would be responsible for identifying what a caller needs, assessing and prioritizing the importance of those needs and then dispatching the appropriate type and numbers of responders to the scene. Many dispatchers work long hours. Some dispatchers work in a team.

What are my Job Prospects?

The demand for emergency dispatchers is expected to grow 18% between 2008 and 2018, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). This rate of growth is faster than average because of the high rate of turnover in the field. Also according to the BLS, in May 2011 emergency dispatchers earned a median income of $35,370 (www.bls.gov).

Although many employers provide on-the-job training, some may require certification. The National Academies of Emergency Dispatch offers certification as an Emergency Medical, Fire or Police Dispatcher (www.naemd.org).

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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