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How to Become a 911 Dispatcher in Long Beach, California

Long Beach 911 operators work for either the police or the fire department. The Long Beach Police Department (LBPD) Communications Center is the answering point for all 9-1-1 calls. LBPD operators answer approximately 600,000 calls a year.

Fire or medical related calls are immediately transferred to the Long Beach Fire Department (LBFD) communications center staffed by supervisor Elizabeth Battle and 20 civilian dispatchers who are responsible for handling all fire and medical calls as well as dispatching and coordinating all fire units and outside resources.

You need to take the following steps to become a 9-1-1 dispatcher in Long Beach, California:

Get a Good Education
Meet Requirements for Public Safety Dispatcher Jobs in Long Beach
Complete the Hiring Process in Long Beach
Begin Work as a Long Beach Public Safety Dispatcher
Participate in Continuing Education

 


 

Step 1. Get a Good Education

Long Beach residents are fortunate that their city has at least a dozen institutions of higher education, including the second largest campus in California’s state university system, a multi-site community college, and a wide variety of private colleges. There also is a selection of excellent online schools to choose from. Although an associate’s or bachelor’s degree is not required for the job as 9-1-1 dispatcher, it will give you a definite advantage.

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In addition, several colleges in Long Beach offer National Academies of Emergency Dispatch certificates, such as Emergency Medical Dispatcher (EMD), Emergency Police Dispatcher (EPD) or Emergency Fire Dispatcher (EFD).

 


 

Step 2. Meet Requirements for the Job of Public Safety Dispatcher in Long Beach

Public safety dispatchers receive emergency calls and enter all data into a computer terminal while simultaneously questioning the caller to determine the nature, validity and severity of the problem before dispatching the necessary field units. Dispatchers must know how to use a computer-aided dispatch (CAD) system and radio transmitter.

You must meet the following requirements in order to qualify for the job:

  • Accurately type at least 30 words per minute
  • Willing to work shifts for either the LBPD or the LBFD
  • Willing to work mandatory shifts, holidays and weekends. (LAPD and LAFD dispatchers work 10-hour and 12-hour shifts respectively)
  • Capable of handling high-volume calls with tact, good judgment, speed
  • Must speak English clearly and understandably
  • Good oral and written communication skills
  • Able to speak, listen and type at the same time
  • Able to comprehend, memorize and apply codes, regulations, charts, maps

Desirable (but not mandatory) requirements include:

  • Bilingual in either English/Spanish or English/Southeast Asian language
  • Experience as an emergency communications operator or dispatcher in a public-service job requiring knowledge of medical or public safety operations.
  • Training courses offered by P.O.S.T. (Peace Officers Standards and Training) or the National Academies of Emergency Dispatch

 


 

Step 3. Apply for the Job/Complete Hiring Process in Long Beach

Public safety dispatcher is a civil service position in Long Beach.  Applications are only accepted for available jobs which are listed on the City of Long Beach Civil Service website which also provides online applications and detailed instructions. You can also inquire by telephone at 562-570-6202.

If your application is accepted you will be notified of the date and site to begin taking a battery of tests which include:

  • Keyboard Test
  • Audio-based Written Performance Test
  • Job Simulation Test (computer/audio)
  • Background Investigation
  • Polygraph Exam

The keyboard test will be waived if you present a certificate of keyboard performance and proof of completion of a P.O.S.T course will exempt you from the written test.

 


 

Step 4. Begin Work as a Long Beach Public Safety Dispatcher

All dispatchers complete both extensive on-the-job training and a probationary period. Those working for the LBFD will have to earn an EMD certificate if it was not accomplished prior to hiring.

The average annual salary for public safety dispatchers in Long Beach is $41,000 which is two percent higher than the average wage nationally.

 


 

Step 5. Participate in Continuing Education

Public safety dispatchers are expected to continually improve their knowledge by taking appropriate classes and keeping up with current regulations and procedures. All dispatchers should strive to earn the P.O.S.T Public Emergency Dispatcher certificate which requires you to have successfully completed the 120-hour course and to be currently employed full-time as a public safety dispatcher in a police or fire department where you have completed the probationary period. The Long Beach Police Department Communications and Training Division offers P.O.S.T. classes to all persons currently working or looking for employment with a public service agency.

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