Learning how to become a 911 dispatcher in Connecticut will soon require more technology-based job training, as the Connecticut Division of Statewide Emergency Telecommunications (DSET) recently awarded Southern New England Telephone a contract for a Next Generation 911 System (NG9-1-1). The implementation of this system, which will be completed by 2015, will replace Connecticut’s current E-9-1-1 system with an Internet Protocol that will allow such innovations as the ability to text for emergency services and make Internet calls directly to 9-1-1.
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Educational Options for 911 Dispatchers in Connecticut
Even though the stated educational requirement for 911 dispatchers in Connecticut is a high school diploma or equivalent, holding additional education beyond the secondary school level can greatly benefit those who wish to work in this exciting field. Some employers prefer that prospective dispatchers hold an associate or bachelor degree in a related field. Relevant degrees available in Connecticut include:
- Associate of Science in Public Safety Telecommunications
- Associate of Science in Criminal Justice
- Bachelor of Science in Emergency Telecommunications
- Bachelor of Science in Emergency Management with minor in Public Safety Telecommunications
- Bachelor of Science in Public Safety Administration
Training Required for 911 Dispatchers in Connecticut
Within the first year of employment, state and local law enforcement agencies that employ 911 dispatchers in Connecticut require new dispatchers to become certified as State of Connecticut Certified Telecommunicators. This involves:
- Passing two online courses sponsored by the Federal Emergency Management Association (FEMA):
- Passing a Connecticut-approved telecommunicator training program sponsored by the Office of Statewide Emergency Telecommunications.
- Three days long from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m
- Seven classes
- Held at the Connecticut Police Academy in Meriden
- Passing a state certification examination of 100 multiple-choice questions (at least 70 must be answered correctly to pass)
- Test is administered at the conclusion of the state training program, in Meriden
Additionally, those hired as 911 dispatchers by a Connecticut public safety agency must complete an Emergency Medical Dispatch (EMD) training program approved by the Division of Statewide Emergency Telecommunications. This training is usually arranged for and provided by 911 dispatcher employers. Once this training is passed, a 911 dispatcher will be certified as an EMD.
Finally, the last phase of training for 911 dispatchers in Connecticut involves 911 Equipment Training. This is a hands-on class provided in house by one’s employer.
Connecticut’s Top Employers of Emergency Dispatch Personnel
Some of Connecticut’s largest employers of 911 dispatchers are:
- Bridgeport Public Safety Communications 911 Center
- Public Safety Answering Point (PSAP) for the Town of East Hartford at the East Hartford Police Department
- Stamford Government Center at the Stamford Police Department
- City of New Haven Office of Emergency Management
- Milford Professional Telecommunicators of the City of Milford Fire Department and 911 PSAP