How to Become Qualified for Emergency Dispatcher Jobs

In towns and cities around the world, emergency dispatcher jobs are staffed by caring professionals who are passionate about getting help to those in need. Emergency dispatchers man the phones twenty-four hours a day seven days a week to be the point of contact when someone has an emergency. If you have a sincere interest in connecting people in trouble with the services that can provide relief and if you work well under pressure, can keep your cool and don’t mind working odd hours, read on to learn how to become qualified for emergency dispatcher jobs.

Decide Why You Want to Become an Emergency Dispatcher

It takes a very special kind of person to become an emergency dispatcher. Not everyone has the patience, sharp ear, levelheadedness and quick thinking to handle this type of work. Working as an emergency dispatcher can be stressful due to the nature of the calls coming in, so you must have a balanced personality and a thick skin to handle difficult situations. Before deciding if emergency dispatch work is for you, think back to past job situations and how you handled them to see if you have what it takes.

Skills Needed to Do Emergency Dispatcher Work

Most emergency dispatchers would say that the skills needed to be successful at their jobs are a keen sense of hearing, excellent typing and telephone skills, and some “street wisdom” to pick up the subtle undertones of callers. Having a background in the military, law enforcement, customer service, medical service, other types of dispatching and even secretarial work can help to prepare you for the demands of emergency dispatcher work. Emergency dispatcher work also requires the physical ability to sit for long periods of time in addition to having strong eye and hand dexterity.

Identify the Requirements to Become an Emergency Dispatcher

The general requirements to become an emergency dispatcher include having a career background in handling numerous telephone calls and people in addition to working well under pressure. Dispatchers can apply for work with local law enforcement offices, at 9-11 departments and for ambulance and emergency departments. To be eligible, you must generally pass a criminal background check, a pre-employment personality test and a drug test. You may also be asked to submit to a voice stress test, a polygraph test and a physical examination depending on the job itself.

Get Trained to Become an Emergency Dispatcher

Once you have met all the requirements to become an emergency dispatcher, you will most likely undergo a vigorous on-the-job training program with a more experienced team of dispatchers. You will learn the procedures for taking various police, fire, ambulance and other department calls you may be handling later on. You will also be required to become certified in CPR and other life-saving techniques so that you can best help callers. This entire training process can take up to six months to complete, and your actions and performance will be measured periodically to make sure you can handle the stressful but rewarding duties of emergency dispatching.