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How to Become a 911 Dispatcher in Jacksonville, Florida

Last year in Jacksonville, 380 specially trained professionals handled 911 dispatches throughout the area. As an emergency operator working for one of Jacksonville’s first-responder departments, you will be responsible for dispatching emergency services to incidents in a busy and sometimes stressful environment, as demonstrated by last year’s statistics:

  • 18,259 fire department-related calls
  • 95,282 calls for emergency medical assistance
  • 1,465,115 calls received by the Police Communications Center

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If you are interested in learning how to become a 911 dispatcher in Jacksonville, you can begin by following these four steps:

Learn About your Training Requirements
Consider Obtaining Additional Qualifications
Apply with the City of Jacksonville
Maintain your Training

These Jacksonville agencies handle 911 emergency calls and dispatching services for the entire Jacksonville-Duval County combined area:

  • City of Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office Police Communications Center
  • City of Jacksonville Fire Operations Division, also providing emergency medical assistance

These three agencies provide dispatch services to their own city enclaves associated with the territory:

 


 

Step 1. Learn about Training Requirements in Jacksonville

Although there is no required 911 dispatcher training before hire, you should be aware of what you are undertaking before you apply. After you are hired as either a police or fire dispatcher you will receive the following training:

  • Fire Dispatcher

  • Police Dispatcher

Both police and fire dispatchers should have years of education and/or experience in a similar field such as customer service, which involved multitasking and answering phones. The city gives preference to related work associated with first-response, and you are required to be able to type at least 35 words per minute.

 


 

Step 2. Consider Additional Jacksonville Qualifications

In addition to distinguishing yourself through experience, you may also consider obtaining a relevant college degree. With a number of online opportunities and at least eight campus locations in Jacksonville, there is no shortage of available schools where you can find degree programs such as:

  • Communications, where you will have the opportunity to learn about effective listening and conflict management
  • Psychology, with instruction on social cognition, emotion, and stress
  • Law Enforcement, that can include instruction on patrol and criminal procedures as well as tactical communications
  • Homeland Security, with courses in critical incident stress management and emergency services organization

Having advanced education can increase your immediate qualifications as well as your long-term opportunities. For example, there are four levels in the Police Emergency Communications Officer (ECO) series, with each successive level offering greater responsibility and pay as your education and experience grow. As a Police ECO IV you have the potential to make over 150 percent of the entry-level salary of a Police ECO I.

 


 

Step 3. Apply with the City of Jacksonville

Whether you are applying for police or fire 911 dispatch jobs, in either case you will make your application with the City of Jacksonville. Check the city’s online job postings for current listings. If none are available you can fill out a job interest card to be alerted by phone and email when vacancies for 911 dispatcher jobs in Jacksonville open up.

The official job titles you will want to look for are:

You can begin the online job application process by creating an account with the human resources department.

 


 

Step 4. Maintain Your Training

As either a police or fire 911 dispatcher, you are required to maintain all of your certifications. To stay up with your Public Safety Telecommunicator Certification you will need to complete 20 hours of approved continuing education.

Aside from maintaining your required certifications, you can also continue to distinguish yourself by attending classes, conferences, and seminars held in areas that are relevant to your field. This will make you a better dispatcher and can influence your qualifications for future promotions.

Some local Florida agencies offering these types of services include:

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