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How to Become a 911 Dispatcher in Texas

Not only do 911 operators in Texas dispatch police, fire fighters, and medical personnel during regional emergencies, they also serve as coordinators in Emergency Operations Centers between federal, state, and local forces. 911 dispatch jobs in Texas are held by qualified staff who have undergone an extensive education process on their way to becoming competent professionals.

While researching what it takes to become a 911 operator in Texas, candidates will come across some of the largest employers in this field:

  • Houston Emergency Center handling around 9,000 emergency calls each day
  • Dallas Public Safety Communicator – 911 Operator
  • City of Austin Emergency Services
  • San Antonio 911 Communications Center, receiving over 1 million calls for service each year
  • Fort Worth Police Communications, taking over 1 million calls from citizens each year
  • El Paso County Public Safety Answering Point (PSAP), handling an average of 1,600 calls each day
  • Arlington Dispatch Services, handling 432,920 calls for service in a recent year

Education and Certification for 911 Dispatcher Jobs in Texas

The 911 dispatcher job description in Texas specifies that candidates must be able to remain calm in stressful situations and provide appropriate assistance as needed. Doing this requires a certain degree of expertise that is attained when new-hires complete their required dispatcher training, education, and certification courses. These vary from agency to agency, and include the following sampling from requirements across Texas:

  • Passing a clerical skills test and typing test
  • CritiCall certification
  • Emergency Telecommunicator course
  • Emergency Medical Dispatching
  • Hazardous Materials Awareness
  • TLETS Terminal Operator Certification
  • Extensive on-the-job training
  • Continuing education on technological changes and policy adaptations

911 dispatcher jobs in Texas are in high demand, and there is often stiff competition in this career field. That is why serious candidates should consider pursuing a degree program in a relevant field of study. Not only will this add to the prospective dispatcher’s credentials, it can also increase entry-level pay and assist career mobility. Having an advanced education demonstrates a certain level of commitment to a field of expertise.

Some degree programs offered locally across the state include:

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

Certifying Agencies for Emergency Communications Personnel

Candidates learning about how to become a 911 dispatcher in Texas will find that the level of responsibility held by these professionals is demonstrated in the fact that there are so many agencies offering courses for 911 operator training in Texas; often times dispatchers make the difference between life and death:

  • Texas branch of the National Emergency Number Association (NENA)
  • Texas branch of the International Association of Public Safety Communication Officers (APCO)
  • Texas Commission on Law Enforcement Officer Standards and Education
  • Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)
  • Texas Commission on State Emergency Communications
  • Department of Homeland Security
  • NG9-1-1 Institute
  • National Academies of Emergency Dispatch (NAED)

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