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How to Become a 911 Dispatcher in Colorado

Whether responding to calls about torrential rain and mudslides, wildfires, or crimes in progress, Colorado 911 dispatchers are responsible for allocating emergency resources when needed. Deemed essential services, emergency operators must report for duty as assigned no matter the outside environmental conditions. The 911 dispatcher job description specifies that candidates must be able to work under pressure, in stressful situations, and as needed.

Although choosing a career in this field can seem demanding – and it is – a dispatcher’s satisfaction from being directly responsible for saving lives makes it all worth it.

Some of the largest supporters of 911 dispatcher jobs in Colorado include:

  • Denver 911 Emergency Communications Center
  • Colorado Springs Public Safety Communications Center
  • Aurora Emergency Communications
  • Boulder County Sheriff’s Office Communications Center, handling 361 calls for service each day
  • Lakewood Police Communications Center, answering 250,000 calls for service each year
  • Poudre Emergency Communications Center serving Fort Collins and receiving 156,400 calls for service each year

911 Operator Training and Education Programs in Colorado

There are dozens of campus locations across Colorado where candidates interested in becoming a 911 operator can find relevant degree programs for study. A two or four-year degree in one of the following fields is a good step for prospective dispatchers with long-term career goals aiming towards advancement up the emergency communications ladder:

  • Criminal Justice
  • Communications
  • Emergency Management
  • Homeland Security
  • Psychology
  • Law Enforcement
  • Public Safety

As candidates research how to become a 911 dispatcher in Colorado they will come across a variety of training and education programs. Different agencies have different requirements, but certain basic dispatching skills are sought throughout the state. Required 911 dispatcher training includes the following sample of instruction and certification programs taken from the leading emergency communications agencies:

  • Emergency Medical Dispatch (EMD) including CPR and childbirth
  • Fire and Police Dispatching
  • CritiCall Telecommunicator Testing System
  • Critical Incident Management
  • Stress Management and Critical Incident Stress Management
  • Association of Public-Safety Communications Officials (APCO) Certification
  • Crisis Intervention Team
  • Homeland Security
  • Computer Aided Dispatching (CAD) Technology

    • Motorola CAD
    • Tri-Tech CAD
    • Intergraph Public Safety CAD
  • Databases including

    • National Crime Information System (NCIS)
    • Colorado Crime Information System (CCIS)
    • County and City of Denver Court Files

Colorado’s Emergency Dispatch Personnel

Dispatchers provide service to all locations in the state, from the smallest county crossroads to the top of the Republic Plaza skyscraper in Denver. Last year there were 1,880 professionals working in 911 dispatcher jobs in Colorado, who earned an average salary of $44,730.

Recently emergency dispatchers have dealt with several severe natural disasters at locations across the state, including widespread wildfires followed a few weeks later by severe flash flooding that saw entire communities isolated. The state has also unfortunately seen several notable mass-shooting events in recent history, and 911 operators must be up to the task of working in all of these stressful emergency environments. However at the end of each shift dispatchers can go home knowing they have provided an essential service for their local communities.

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