How to Become a 911 Dispatcher in Hawaii County, Hawaii

As a 911 dispatcher in Hawaii County you will carry the responsibility of getting the right first responder units to those in need. Residents and visitors of the Big Island will depend on your expertise, either as a police dispatcher handling 911 calls for law enforcement, or as a fire dispatcher putting callers in touch with the appropriate fire or medical assistance units.

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As you research how to become a 911 operator in Hawaii County you will find these positions to be highly competitive, and the following steps will help you prepare for a successful bid:

Study for Competitive Credentials
Apply with the County of Hawaii
Dispatcher Training
Develop Your Career



Step 1. Study for Competitive Credentials

Since having a combination of related education and experience is a stated prerequisite for moving up the career ladder to Dispatcher II and Dispatcher III positions, having a college degree can help you become promoted more rapidly, and strengthen your initial application.

There are three college campuses located on the Island of Hawaii and more online where you can earn a two or four-year degree in subjects including:

    • Emergency Management
      • Disaster operations and recovery
      • Integrated emergency management


    • Communications
      • Effective listening
      • Conflict management
      • Intercultural communication


    • Psychology
      • Thinking and decision making
      • Memory and stress
      • Psychology of disaster preparedness


  • Law Enforcement
    • Police communications
    • Patrol procedures


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Step 2. Apply with the County of Hawaii

Once you are prepared to apply for 911 dispatcher jobs in Hawaii County, you can start by registering for a new job seeker account. Because both police and fire/medical dispatchers are employed through the county, the initial application process is the same.

You will complete your application online, but to do this you must wait until there are vacancies, which will be posted on the county’s job opportunities webpage. If by chance there are no current openings you can always fill out a job notification card to be alerted when 911 telecommunication positions become available.

When you are searching for job openings you will want to check for the official job titles, and once you see these posted you can apply through the announcement:



Step 3. Dispatcher Training

The starting point to becoming an emergency dispatcher in Hawaii County is comprehensive on-the-job training as either a police or fire/medical emergency operator, which will include:

  • Police Dispatcher:
    • Selected courses from the police academy
    • Crime coding and classification
    • Hawaii State and County laws
    • Familiarity with local geography


  • Fire/Medical Dispatcher:

For both these positions, prior to hire you must have at least two years of related education and/or experience such as prior dispatching, clerical duties, or interaction with the public.


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Step 4. Develop Your Career

Once you have successfully navigated the hiring process you can focus on improving your expertise on Hawaii Island as an emergency dispatcher. There are several local organizations where you can attend additional training workshops to make sure you are constantly ready for the next promotional opportunity that arises. These include:

Additional national and international organizations that offer 911 dispatcher continuing education and trainings include:

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