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How to Become a 911 Dispatcher in South Carolina

As of May 2012, 3.1 percent of South Carolina’s workforce, or 1460 residents, were employed as police, fire or ambulance dispatchers, otherwise known as 911 dispatchers. They earned an average yearly salary of $31,170. Those working in certain areas of South Carolina earned higher-than average salaries:

  • 911 dispatchers based in Charlotte-Gastonia-Rock Hill NC/SC metropolitan area earned an average of $34,890 per year.
  • 911 dispatchers in the Charleston-North Charleston-Summerville area averaged $32,010 per year.
  • 911 dispatchers working in Columbia, South Carolina earned an average annual salary of $31,380.
  • Those working in the Greenville-Mauldin-Easley metropolitan area averaged $31,320 per year.


Education and Certification for 911 Dispatchers in South Carolina

Most 911 dispatcher employers in South Carolina mandate that employees hold a high school diploma. However, for management or supervisory jobs, a bachelor’s degree is often specified as the preferred requirement. Examples of bachelor’s degrees requested by 911 dispatcher employers in South Carolina include:

  • Business Administration
  • Public Administration
  • Criminal Justice
  • Emergency Management

Furthermore, 911 dispatchers in South Carolina usually must become certified in Emergency Medical Dispatch (EMD), at the minimum. Another certification that is often mandated by South Carolina employers of 911 dispatchers is NENA (National Emergency Number Association) Emergency Number Professional (ENP) certification. Both certifications are described below.

  • EMD Certification – This certification is given by the International Academies of Emergency Dispatch (IAED). It entails completion of a three-day course and passing a 50-question certification examination with a score of at least 80 percent. Candidates must complete 24 continuing education hours every two years to maintain certification. Exams are given at Priority Dispatch centers in Greenville and Hilton Head Island, South Carolina.

  • NENA ENP Certification – This certification requires at least three years of experience in Emergency Communications. Additionally, candidates must have an associate, bachelor or graduate degree (points are awarded by NENA for each and count towards certification eligibility).  Professional development and service also counts towards points for certification. Certification exams are offered four times annually at PSI Test Centers in Beaufort, Columbia, Charleston, Greenville, Conway, Mount Pleasant, Winnsboro and Myrtle Beach.

Leading Employers of 911 Dispatchers in South Carolina

Some of South Carolina’s leading employers of 911 dispatchers are:

  • Abbeville County Emergency Management-Abbeville
  • Beaufort County 911 Dispatch- Beaufort
  • Greenville Health System – Greenville
  • Dorchester County Emergency Medical Services – Summerville
  • South Carolina State Emergency Operations Center – West Columbia
  • South Carolina Department of Public Safety  – Blythewood
  • Charleston County Consolidated 911 Center – Charleston

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