How to Become a 911 Dispatcher in Prince George’s County, Maryland

Nearly 200 people work for Prince George’s County Triple Accredited 9-1-1 Center.  This entity is one of two agencies within the county’s Office of Homeland Security.  911 personnel have specialized functions in this call center. The three roles include:

  • 9-1-1 call takers
  • Fire/EMS dispatchers
  • Law enforcement dispatchers
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Here is a step-by-step guide on how to join the elite professionals of Prince George’s County 911 Center so as to become a 911 dispatcher:

Obtain the Necessary Education
Complete the Application Process in Prince George’s County
Undergo Academic and On-the-Job Training to be a 911 Call Taker
Undergo 911 Dispatcher Training



Step 1.  Obtain the Necessary Education

The entry-level 911 operator position in Prince George’s County goes by the title “emergency dispatch aide.”  The job description specifies the need for a high school education with coursework in business, office practices, or some other type of clerical work.  Applicants who are proficient with Windows computer programs are strongly preferred.

Although a college degree is not required to apply for this position, gaining an education in a field such as communications, emergency management or criminal justice will help you stand out when you apply, and also give you an academic grounding in the procedures you will be using.  You can obtain these types of degree from colleges within Maryland or from online educational institutions.



Step 2.  Complete the Application Process in Prince George’s County

You will have to apply online when you fill out an application to become a 911 dispatcher.  The system in Prince George’s County allows you to periodically save your application as you create it, unlike some other HR systems.  You are encouraged to do this, since the system will log you out if you have been on it for more than an hour without saving your information.

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When you qualifications have been reviewed, and you have been chosen as a potential candidate, you will go through a rigorous selection process.  It involves the following steps:

  • Pre-employment exam by computer
  • Preliminary screening
  • Interview
  • Background check
  • Medical exam and drug screen

You should be aware that this process can take a substantial amount of time.  The background check alone can take about 4-6 months.



Step 3.  Undergo Academic and On-the-Job Training to be a 911 Call Taker

All employees who will be answering or dispatching calls undergo the same initial training.  This process starts with 6-8 weeks of academic training.  All trainees will receive the following certifications during this process:

    • NAED (National Academy of Emergency Dispatch)
      • Emergency Telecommunication
      • Emergency Medical Dispatch (EMD)
      • Emergency Police Dispatch (EPD)
      • Emergency Fire Dispatch (EFD)


  • National Crime Information Center (NCIC)
  • Criminal Justice Information System
  • American Hear CPR and AED
  • National Incident Management ICS 100-700

After you have completed this process, your next step will be four months of practical instruction at taking 911 calls.  Once this is finished, you will work on your own answering emergency calls.


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Step 4.  Undergo 911 Dispatcher Training

Once you have mastered the ability to answer 911 calls, the next step in becoming a 911 dispatcher is to receive additional classroom and practical training.  You will be assigned to either the law enforcement or the fire/EMS section.  Then, you will receive the following amounts of additional training from a certified Communications Training Officer:

Dispatcher Job
Law Enforcement Dispatchers
24 hours
Fire/EMS Dispatchers
at least 32 hours

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