How to Become a 911 Dispatcher in Phoenix, Arizona

Phoenix 9-1-1 Emergency Dispatchers are selected and hired by the city of Phoenix. Emergency dispatch agents have a challenging job, and are needed in part because of the following facts:

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  • Phoenix is considered a violent city and is more dangerous that 90 percent of American cities.
  • Phoenix has a history of drug and cartel violence.
  • Phoenix is known as the “kidnapping capital” of the U.S., logging over 668 instances in 2008 alone.
  • In 2012 there were over 1,600 wildfires in Arizona. Phoenix firemen may be called upon to help in other areas of the state.
  • As of June, 2013 there were over 1,800 people serving time in Arizona for DUI related offenses. Many of these offenses were committed in Phoenix.

There are various steps to becoming an Emergency Dispatch agent in Phoenix. These steps include:

Meet Education and Job Skills Requirements
Apply for Open Positions 
On-the-Job Training and Skill Development
Advance in Your Career in Phoenix
Join NENA and Continue Skill Development



Step 1. Meet Education and Job Skills Requirements

The city of Phoenix has set a high school diploma or GED as the minimum required education for an Emergency Dispatcher. There are compelling reasons for getting an associate’s degree or 4-year college degree in the pursuit of your career. This kind of additional education will not only help you prepare for some of the rigors of the job, but it will also help show potential employers that you are serious about your career. The Phoenix area has many universities and colleges which have degree programs in majors relevant to working as an Emergency Dispatcher.

Some of the relevant degree programs include:

  • Psychology
  • Law Enforcement
  • Fire Science
  • Sports Medicine

Emergency Dispatchers in Phoenix are paid a salary ranging from $38,771 to $56,909. Some of the requirements to become an Emergency Dispatcher with the city include:

  • Successful completion of Phoenix Fire Department Emergency Medical Dispatch within 6 months of hire
  • Possession of CPR certification at time of hire
  • Successful completion of Fire Communication Operator courses
  • Ability to communicate orally in the English language
  • Ability to exercise good judgment and determine priorities
  • Availability to work weekends, evenings, and holidays
  • Ability to learn directions street locations, and landmarks

Note: In order to comply with the CPR requirement you can choose to take the Red Cross CPR certification course.


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Step 2. Apply for Open Positions

The city of Phoenix has established an online portal for you to apply for the Emergency Dispatcher position. Go to this website and follow the steps in order to apply.



Step 3. On-the-Job Training and Skill Development

When you are hired as a 9-1-1 Emergency Dispatch agent in Phoenix you will be required to bring certain skills to the job starting from the first day. Upon hire you should:

  • Have knowledge of Emergency Medical Procedures
  • Ability to work well with others including your team, other city employees, and the public
  • Ability to perceive the full color range
  • Basic computer knowledge

You will also be trained in many areas of the job. You will develop skills such as:

  • How to operate a Computer-Aided Dispatching console
  • How to dispatch EMS units
  • How to help citizens provide emergency care over the phone
  • How to contact outside agencies to work in coordination during an emergency
  • How to evaluate incoming calls to determine their nature and priority



Step 4. Advance in Your Career in Phoenix

The city of Phoenix has at least four designations for Emergency Dispatch agents. This variety of positions will allow you to grow in your career, and potentially work in other areas of the field.

The additional designations are as follows:

  • Emergency Dispatcher Lead. This position serves as the supervisor and training arm for Emergency Dispatchers. They assign and check work, assign and monitor breaks, and handle other administrative functions. Additionally, they do the work of an Emergency Dispatcher. Salary range: $42,682 to $62,712
  • Fire Emergency Dispatcher. This job designation is similar to that of Emergency Dispatcher, but is primarily focused on fire response. Salary range: $38,771 to $56,909
  • Fire Emergency Dispatcher Lead. This job designation is similar to that of Emergency Dispatch Lead, but works with the Fire Emergency Dispatcher unit. Salary range: $42,682 to $62,712



Step 5. Join NENA and Continue Skill Development

The National Emergency Number Association is a good organization for you to join in order to keep up-to-date with news about the field. This NENA is responsible for ongoing efforts to standardize and expand 9-1-1 emergency service in the country.

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There are also additional certifications that you can seek in order to continue to develop your occupational skills including:

  • If you are interested in getting more in-depth training about emergency dispatch systems and procedures you should take time to earn the Emergency Medical Dispatch Certification
  • On the job you will have to act as a contact for various law enforcement agencies. The Criminal Justice Information Services certification will help you learn how to access and work with law enforcement criminal databases by training you on the FBI database.

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