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Code: F_CER_EMRF

Campus: Westminster Campus

Public Safety Dispatch

Becoming a 911 operator involves preparing for employment by meeting minimum requirements, which usually involves being at least 18 years old and possessing a high school diploma or GED. Some agencies require candidates to also possess a valid driver’s license.

Many individuals who are interested in pursuing a career in emergency dispatch choose to complete a college program in a closely related field. Completing the Public Safety Dispatch (PSD) certificate can provide considerable knowledge of the criminal justice system, communications, emergency management, and public safety protocols – all of which are highly relevant to working as a 911 dispatcher.
As a dispatcher, strong listening skills, empathy, the ability to multi-task, leadership skills, problem-solving skills, typing skills, and proficiency in computer-aided dispatch software. The Public Safety Dispatch (PSD) certificate provides students hands-on training through internships in communication centers and through an Emergency Dispatch course (CRJ 201) where students will use the most recent and industry relevant curriculum developed and taught by industry experts.

In most cases, a high school diploma or the equivalent is enough for entry-level dispatcher positions, but some employers may not even require this level of education. In other cases, certain emergency response agencies may favor applicants who possess a college degree.

911 dispatchers need to possess a wide range of job-specific skills, so taking relevant electives outside of the major area of study can gain you experience. For example, a criminal justice major could benefit from computer courses, or a computer science major could benefit from liberal arts or communications courses. These various areas of study are represented in the Fundamentals of Emergency Dispatch.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that candidates with a two-or four-year degree in criminal justice, communications or computer science may have an advantage when applying for jobs. An associate's degree can help students gain valuable skills to help them excel after graduation.

For individuals with aspirations of advancing in the field of emergency communications, a college degree may better facilitate career advancement. In addition, many agencies accept a formal educational program as a substitution for experience, on a year-by-year basis, thereby allowing many individuals to advance at a faster pace into supervisory positions, or even qualify for entry-level jobs that stipulate experience requirements.

It is not always necessary to have a degree to work as a dispatcher, but an associate's or bachelor's degree may be preferred by employers. A degree in criminal justice, communications or computer science are some of the preferred degrees in this field. Certification may be required depending on the state.

Many individuals who are interested in pursuing a career in emergency dispatch choose to complete a college program in a closely related field. A degree program can provide considerable knowledge of the criminal justice system, communications, emergency management, and public safety protocols – all of which are highly relevant to working as a 911 dispatcher.

Requirements

Prerequisite: Students must have successfully completed the Fundamentals of Public Safety Dispatch (PSD) certificate prior to admission into this program and have passed a background check.

Required Courses

Course NumberTitleCredits
CRJ 110Intro to Criminal Justice

3

CRJ 125Policing Systems

3

EMS 115Emergency Medical Responder

3

PSY 101General Psychology I

3

PSY 116Stress Management

3

CRJ 280Internship

1

CRJ 201Emergency Dispatching

5

Total Credit Hours:21

Elective Course

Select one course (3 credits) from below:

Course NumberTitleCredits
PSY 249Abnormal Psychology

3

CRJ 257Victimology

3

COM 220Intercultural Communication

3

Total Credit Hours:3

Psychology/Sociology Elective

Select one course (3 credits) from below:

Course NumberTitleCredits
SOC 231Sociology of Deviant Behavior

3

PSY 226Social Psychology

3

Total Credit Hours:3

Total Credit Hours: 27

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