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How to Become a 911 Dispatcher in West Virginia

The requirements for 911 dispatcher jobs in West Virginia vary from agency to agency, although all dispatchers are highly trained. Last year there were 990 professional 911 call receivers working across the state, with concentrations in large dispatch centers such as:

  • Metro 911 of Kanawha County, serving Charleston
  • Cabell County 911 Center, providing service to Huntington and responding to to 310,000 calls each year
  • Central Telecommunications Center of Wood County serving Parkersburg
  • Monongalia Emergency Centralized Communications Agency (MECCA) 911, serving Morgantown
  • Wheeling-Ohio County 911 Communications Center

911 Operator Training in West Virginia

911 operator training in West Virginia is provided both by in-state experts, national agencies, and even international organizations. Emergency services departments take 911 dispatcher training very seriously because in many circumstances seconds count, both for the lives of those in need of help and those working as emergency responders.

Training programs for 911 dispatchers include the following sampling from the major employers in the state:

  • Technical, Community, State, and Online Colleges
  • Domestic violence recognition
  • Communicator Training Academy
  • Emergency Telecommunicator Course
  • Emergency Medical Dispatching
  • Fire Dispatching
  • Law Enforcement Dispatching
  • Metro Emergency Operations Center Telecommunicator Communications Course
  • Association of Public-Safety Communications Officials (APCO) Telecommunicators Course
  • Advanced Computer-Aided Dispatch (A-CAD)
  • Technology and databases:

    • Integrated Flood Observing and Warning System (IFLOWS)
    • National Crime Information Center (NCIC)
    • National Law Enforcement Telecommunications Systems (NLETS)
    • National Auto Theft Bureau (NATB)
    • West Virginia Automated Police Network (WEAPON)
    • National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB)
    • Kanawha/Putnam Emergency Planning Committee Chemical Plant Emergency Radio System

Candidates who are interested in being promoted up the chain of 911 dispatcher jobs in West Virginia can consider going into their new career with a degree in a related field of study. This can help during the initial application process and can also facilitate a smoother transition up the career ladder. Relevant programs include:

  • Psychology
  • Nursing and other health care
  • Communications
  • Emergency Management
  • Law Enforcement
  • Public Safety
  • Criminal Justice

Working as a 911 Dispatcher in West Virginia

As part of the 911 dispatcher job description, candidates must be well-versed in technology and able to adapt to new programs. As advances in wireless communications and networking continue, the nature of dispatching will become both more complex and in many ways more simplified. One such example of this is occurring at the Cabell County 911 Center with a new Power Phone software program. In contrast to the days when dispatchers would spend most of their time writing an address down with pen and paper, with this advancement they will now be able to give emergency medical advice over the phone before paramedics arrive, thanks to informative pop-up windows within the computer program; the pen-and-paper method was also phased out a while back.

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