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How to Become a 911 Dispatcher in Orlando, Florida

Emergency dispatchers in Orlando are classed as either police or fire/medical services emergency operators. With a starting salary of around $27,500 per year, these positions have a tendency to be highly competitive, and you should prepare to make a strong bid for employment. As you learn how to become a 911 dispatcher in Orlando, you will observe the overall certification process is the same for both these positions, with a few minor additions that will be detailed in this guide.

If you are prepared to join the 44-person team of emergency dispatchers that serve the Orlando area, you will find the following guide to becoming a 911 dispatcher useful:

Increase your Competitive Edge
Apply with the City of Orlando
Certification and Training Requirements in Orlando
Maintain and Expand Upon Your Required Certifications

 


 

Step 1. Increasing Your Competitive Edge

A good way to boost your competitive edge is to have a college degree in a dispatching-related field. To be eligible for 911 dispatcher jobs in Orlando you must have at least six months to a year of related job experience or education. A college degree will fulfill this requirement as well as prepare you for advancement through your career. Depending on your degree you may also be eligible to enter the field at a higher pay level.

With over half-a-dozen college campuses located within Orlando and more online you will find plenty of opportunities to study for degrees in areas such as:

  • Homeland Security:
    • Terrorism threats and strategies
    • Police and fire organization and management
    • Disaster planning and management
    • Critical incident stress management

  • Criminal Justice
    • Conflict resolution
    • Police systems and practices

  • Law Enforcement
    • Spanish for law enforcement
    • Tactical communications
    • Criminal investigations

  • Psychology
    • Abnormal psychology
    • Thinking and decision making
    • Memory and stress
    • Drugs and behavior

 


 

Step 2. Apply with the City of Orlando

Once you are satisfied with your qualifications you will be ready to apply with the City of Orlando for either police or fire/emergency dispatch positions. You can do this online after you create a job-seeker account with the Orlando Human Resources Department. Browse the city’s current job postings for any vacancies and if there are none you should check back soon. Look for the official job titles:

Both these positions are entry-level, and within this class it is possible for you to reach a level III tier. Promotions are based on performance evaluations and experience or an equivalent combination of education and experience.

 


 

Step 3. Certification and Training Requirements

Most of the 911 operator training you will be required to obtain is the same, whether you want to become a fire/medical or police dispatcher. This starts by graduating from a Florida-approved Public Safety Telecommunicator (PST) Certification Course. This must be at least 232 hours and will include instruction on:

  • CPR
  • Operational skills
  • Emergency fire services
  • Emergency medical services
  • Emergency management practices
  • Emergency law enforcement services
  • The role of the telecommunicator and professional ethics

After completing this course you can begin preparing for the PST Certification Exam with the state-provided study guide. Once you are ready you can fill out an application and register for your exam. Successful completion of this will earn the main credential you need to become a 911 dispatcher in Orlando: PST Certification.

Working as a fire/medical dispatcher in Orlando also means you will need to obtain Emergency Medical Dispatching Certification. And although not required to become a police dispatcher, it is preferred if you have experience with:

 


 

Step 4. Maintain and Expand Upon Your Required Certifications

Maintaining certain certifications is required, and continuing to obtain relevant education in your field is recommended. As for your mandatory obligations, these include:

  • Maintaining your EMD Certification if working as a fire dispatcher
  • Maintaining your PST Certification, which is accomplished by:

    • Completing 20 hours of approved PST training every two years
    • Paying a $50 renewal fee and
    • Submitting a renewal form to the state’s Department of Health

You may consider branching out to opportunities provided by local organizations to improve your dispatching skills and performance evaluations. Check with the following agencies for more information about upcoming education and training related to your field:

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