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How to Become a 911 Dispatcher in Minnesota

In Minnesota, the rate of murders, robberies, and burglaries are all significantly lower than the national average. The authorities in Minnesota know that having a strong police presence, as well as strong response to emergencies, is essential in maintaining a tranquil environment for its citizens. For this reason authorities in Minnesota are often on the lookout for qualified 9-1-1 operators.


Educational Options

Minnesota residents with a college degree will be considered the best prepared applicants, as earning a college degree helps to prepare applicants with vital technological skills, communication skills, critical thinking skills, and even some of the stresses of the job. There are a number of Minnesota-based colleges and universities that offer degree programs well suited for anyone looking to go into the field of 9-1-1 dispatch:

  • Communications – This area of study will prepare applicants to use the various communications systems they will encounter in this line of work, and train applicants to communicate clearly and effectively.
  • Criminal Justice – A significant part of the job of a 9-1-1 operator is to carefully guide the caller through difficult situations. A degree in criminal justice will help applicants by providing a basic understanding of criminology and the criminal justice system.
  • Psychology – People who call 9-1-1 are often confused and afraid. An applicant with a background in psychology may be able to better serve these callers.

Applicants interested in becoming 9-1-1 dispatchers in Minnesota should be well prepared when seeking employment. Requirements for employment often incoude:

  • Applicant must be able to type 45 words per minute
  • Applicant must pass thorough background check including FBI fingerprint
  • Applicant must pass psychological test
  • Applicant must pass physical exam
  • Applicant must pass drug test (at their own expense)
  • Applicant must pass Emergency Medical Dispatch (EMD) certification within probation
  • Applicant must pass Criminal Justice Information System (CJIS)certification within probation

Major Employers

In Minnesota the local governments usually handle the hiring for 9-1-1 dispatch operators. Some of the major cities in the state which may be hiring include:

  • Minneapolis –  This is the largest city in Minnesota by population at 393,000 residents.
  • St. Paul –  This is the second largest city in Minnesota by population at 291,000 residents.
  • Rochester –  This city has 109,000 residents and is the third largest city in Minnesota.
  • Duluth –  This is the fourth largest city in Minnesota and has 86,000 residents.

Industry Organizations for Emergency Dispatch Personnel in Minnesota

It is a good idea for those looking to enter the field of emergency dispatch in Minnesota to become familiarized with the various emergency communications organizations that generally work to facilitate and standardize the acceptance of life saving local and national emergency numbers. Here is a good list to get started:

  • The Minnesota APCO.  This is the Minnesota branch of the APCO which has been in operation since 1935. The APCO works for the betterment of emergency communications, including emergency dial numbers such as 9-1-1.
  • The National Emergency Number Association. The NENA works to promote the standardization, expansion, and adoption of emergency numbers on a national level.
  • The International Academies of Emergency Dispatch. The IAED works in much the same way as the NENA, but focuses on international cooperation.

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