How to Become a 911 Dispatcher in Sedgwick County, Kansas

Throughout Sedgwick County, the primary answering point for 911 calls is the Sedgwick County Emergency Communications center.  Its 911 dispatchers process approximately 525,000 calls a year, providing service to callers from:

  • Sedgwick County
  • Wichita
  • 21 suburban agencies
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Sedgwick County 911 operators have a lot of medical training—the agency is accredited through the National Academy of Emergency Dispatch.  911 dispatchers in the county help deliver about ten babies a year over the phone and talk people through providing CPR.

This is a step-by-step guide showing how you can join elite dispatchers in providing service to the residents of Sedgwick County:

Obtain the Necessary Education and Training
Complete the Application Proces
Undergo On-the-Job Training and Obtain Certification



Step 1.  Obtain the Necessary Education and Training

The job description for dispatchers in Sedgwick County specifies that you must be able to type 35 words a minute.  Although having a formal college education is not a requirement, having an associate’s or bachelor’s degree would provide training to help you to stand out from the competition.

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Common degrees for prospective 911 dispatchers include:

  • Emergency medical
  • Criminal justice
  • Law enforcement
  • Communications
  • Fire science

You can obtain these types of degrees from schools in Kansas or from online colleges.



Step 2.  Complete the Application Process

These are the steps that you need to go through to get hired as a 911 dispatcher in Sedgwick County:

  • Submit your application
  • Be tested for your ability to type 35 words per minute on a keyboard
  • Take the Wonderlic test and score at least a 24
    • This is an intelligence test that gauges your ability to learn and solve problems
    • Attend an informational meeting
    • Observe dispatchers at work for four hours
    • Pass a criminal background check
    • Be interviewed by a panel
    • Pass a psychological screening test
    • Pass a drug screen and a physical exam



Step 3.  Undergo on the Job Training and Obtain Certification

Once you have been hired, you will go through a rigorous formal training process.  This varies depending on the position you have applied for:

Academic Training Period
Dispatch/call taker
nine weeks
Call taker
five weeks

You will have to achieve a score of at least 80% on the following tests to pass them:

  • Written examination
  • Practical examination

The following types of certifications are required:

  • CPR
  • Emergency medical dispatch
  • National Crime Information Center (NCIC)

Like many localities, Sedgwick County has had a serious issue with people calling 911 for non-emergency reasons.  On July 4, 2011, a motorcyclist who had been an accident later died after witnesses to the crash couldn’t get through to 911 immediately.  A large number of calls about fireworks had flooded the system.

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Severe weather also generates a number of non-emergency calls.  The earthquake of 2011 generated 300 calls in half an hour, although none of them were emergencies.

This has been such a problem on New Year’s Eve and the Fourth of July that Sedgwick County created separate lines for people to call about non-emergency issues on these days.  This effort appears to be working, since 960 calls were made to this special number during the 2013 Fourth of July period.

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