How to Become a 911 Dispatcher in Fairbanks, Alaska

9-1-1 emergency dispatchers in Fairbanks are hired directly by the city of Fairbanks police department and work in the Fairbanks Emergency Communications Center. They dispatch police, fire, and EMS units. There is considerable need for emergency dispatchers in Fairbanks due in part to the following:

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  • Compared to the average U.S. city Fairbanks has a high crime rate.
  • There are 148 registered sex offenders living in Fairbanks as of November 2013.
  • Fairbanks has a ratio of 1 registered sex offender for every 238 residents, well above the national average.
  • Snow and other weather related factors can cause unsafe travel conditions and a heightened likelihood of accidents in Fairbanks.
  • In Alaska’s interior the roads can be dangerous. There is an average of 2.7 DUI arrests per day in the area.

To become an emergency dispatcher in Fairbanks you must follow these steps:

Meet Education And Job Skill Requirements
Apply For The Job and Schedule the Typing Test
Complete On-the-Job Training And Skills Mastery
Advance In Your Career
Join Alaska NENA And Continue Skill Development



Step 1. Meet Education And Job Skill Requirements

Fairbanks set the minimum education requirement to become an emergency dispatcher as a high school diploma or equivalent. The best way to prepare for a job as a 9-1-1 emergency dispatcher in Fairbanks is to attend any of the colleges and universities in the Fairbanks area and peruse an associate’s degree or 4-year degree. There are many degree courses which are relevant to becoming an emergency dispatcher.

Some of the relevant degree programs include:

  • Bachelors of communications. This course of study will help prepare you for using many of the communications systems and protocols that you will find on the job.
  • Associates of Community Health.  An associate’s degree or certificate in community health is designed to teach you how to provide healthcare to those in need. This training could prove invaluable on the job.
  • Paramedic Academy Certificate.  This training program will instruct you in the important aspects of being a paramedic. The skills you learn in this program may come in handy in helping to save lives.
  • Minor in Alaskan Native Languages.  There is always a need for people who can speak the languages of the natives. This minor program will help you form a base in native languages.

Emergency dispatchers in Fairbanks have to meet certain requirements in order to qualify for the job. These requirements include:

  • 6 month’s experience as a clerk or typist
  • Typing a minimum of 50 words per minute with 4 words maximum error margin
  • Pass a typing test
  • Availability to work all shifts – 24/7 including all weekends and holidays


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Step 2. Apply For The Job And Schedule the Typing Test

To get started with your career you should fill out the Fairbanks emergency dispatcher job application which can be accessed here. This application should be returned to:

Human Resources Department
800 Cushman Street, Fairbanks, Alaska 99701-4637


Fax 459-6731

The information needed for you to take the typing test will be sent back to you after the receipt of your application.



Step 3. Complete On-the-Job Training And Skills Mastery

The city of Fairbanks looks for certain personality traits and qualities which they have determined makes for the best emergency dispatch candidate. Some of these qualities include:

  • Ability to pay close attention to detail
  • Ability to organize information quickly and in a logical fashion
  • Familiarity with Fairbanks’ streets and landmarks
  • Ability to think calmly and clearly, especially in high stress situations
  • Basic computer knowledge

As you are trained for your job position, you will develop many skills. These skills include:

  • How to use a radio
  • How to operate a public safety PBX switchboard
  • How to record criminal complaints
  • How to screen calls and determine the appropriate response
  • How to operate the agency’s Computer Aided Dispatch (CAD) system



Step 4. Advance In Your Career

Upon satisfactorily learning and performing the functions of your job, you may apply for a promotion to the rank of Shift Supervisor. In addition to having the responsibilities of all emergency dispatchers, shift supervisors also:

  • Reviews work of emergency dispatchers
  • Provides feedback
  • Handles personnel and scheduling duties
  • Serves as a team lead for training and answering questions



Step 5. Join Alaska NENA And Continue Skill Development

The Alaska APCO is an organization which works to ensure that 9-1-1 emergency service in the state is operational and standardized. It is a good idea for you to join with this organization so that you can help further their important work. This work includes bringing emergency dial services to all of Alaska, including on VoIP phones and cell phones.

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In order to continue with the development of your skills you should consider obtaining some or all of the following certifications.

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