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How to become a 911 Operator?

Lend your expertise: what does it take to become a 911 Operator?

Note: We've seen a lot of interest in this career, so we're looking for guidance from our community of professionals.

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Kim’s Answer

A 9-1-1- operator must:

1. be attentive to detail, even with distracting background noises and people who are very stressed out talking fast and sometimes not making sense.
2. be able to calm the caller, ask the right questions to get the information needed, and give emergency instructions to the caller until first responders get there
3. be willing to work shiftwork, nights, weekends, overtime, holidays, etc.
4. be able to type ___ words per minute, as established by the job announcement
5. Possibly be required to pass a listening test.

Google "dispatcher 911 listening test."
Do on-line practice typing tests.

Individuals come from diverse backgrounds. Customer service is good. Sales. Experience interacting with others where you must give and receive information. Lifeguard. I don't know how they manage to stay so focused when it's easy to want to "people watch" or daydream!

It will be up to you to explain in an application, resume, or interview, "what makes you think you have what it takes to be a successful dispatcher?" If you say, "well, I was a lifeguard" that's not likely to work. You will have to explain how the monotony of the job made it challenging, but peoples' lives were depending on you to not be distracted, etc. This is a concept called "transferrable job skills."- things from one job that relate to another, which are not always apparent to the casual observer.

Dispatchers are the lifeline between police and the community - thank you for your interest!
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