9-1-1 dispatchers are called emergency dispatchers in Birmingham, Alabama. Emergency dispatchers are the first line of response for a variety of emergencies and dispatch the city’s fire, police, and EMS personnel. The need for good emergency dispatchers in Birmingham is due in part to the following:
- Birmingham has a high rate of murder. The murder rate in the city is 5 times the national average.
- Rates of rape, robbery, and assault are all higher in Birmingham than the national average.
- Your chances of becoming a victim of crime in Birmingham are 1 in 12, more than 2 times higher than the average for Alabama as a whole.
- Birmingham has one of the top 5 rates of DUI arrest in the state of Alabama.
The median salary for an emergency dispatcher in Birmingham is $32,275.
The steps for becoming a 911 dispatcher in Birmingham are as follows:
|Explore Education Options|
|Apply For The Position|
|On-the-Job Training and Additional Certification|
Step 1. Explore Education Options
The best way to prepare for a career as an emergency dispatcher is to seek higher education. There are a number of colleges and universities in the Birmingham area that offer majors related to the emergency dispatch career. These majors include:
- Strayer University - Bachelors of Science Degree in Criminal Justice
- Michigan State University - Master of Science in Criminal Justice
- Rasmussen College - Justice Studies Programs offering a wide range of industry-relevant programs
- Utica College - Online Bachelor's of Science in Criminal Justice
Criminal Justice – A degree in criminal justice will prepare you with knowledge and skills in social control. This may come into play when dealing with callers who are under threat from criminals.
Communication Studies – From working with different communications platforms, to having to work with callers and co-workers, communications will come into play in every aspect of your job.
Public Health – A degree in public health can have many different points of focus, including community health and mental health. This degree will prepare you to deal with different aspects of the call, including dealing with the pubic and handling medical emergencies.
Step 2. Apply For The Position
Some of the qualifications you will need to meet in order to become an emergency dispatcher in Birmingham include:
- Ability to work under stress
- Knowledge of Birmingham’s streets and landmarks
- Ability to type proficiently with minimal errors
- Ability to work shifts 24 hours per day 7 days per week, including nights, weekends, and holidays.
You must apply for the position as an emergency dispatcher with the city of Birmingham. First go to the city’s Job Quest site. Make a profile and search for the emergency dispatcher position. From there follow the steps. If you are selected for an interview you will be contacted.
Step 3. On-the-Job Training and Additional Certification
In order to satisfactorily perform your job functions you will need to develop additional skills on the job such as:
- Learning to distinguish between emergency and non-emergency calls
- Learning to prioritize calls and dispatch accordingly
- Learning to use the relevant technology including radio and computer systems
- Learning transmission and receiving codes
- Learning to properly update databases
- Learning to use criminal justice databases
There are a number of additional training certifications that you can earn in order to advance in your career. These certifications can show your employers that you are serious about your career. Among the best certifications to consider are:
- Red Cross Professional Rescuer CPR Certification
- Emergency Medical Dispatch (EMD) Certification
- Emergency Telecommunicator (ETC) Certification