How to Become a 911 Dispatcher in Columbia, Missouri

In the city of Columbia Missouri, 911 dispatch operator positions are commonly referred to as Emergency Telecommunicators. As an emergency dispatch operator, you work directly for the city of Columbia to aid their emergency services departments. These departments include police, fire and all emergency medical assistance programs such as EMTs.

Sponsored Content

There are certain requirements that must be met in order to get hired on as a 911 Emergency dispatch operator in the city of Columbia. Some of these steps include:

Meet Education and Job Qualifications
Apply for a Position in Columbia
On-the-Job Training and Skills Development
Seek Additional Certification

The city of Columbia, Missouri looks for hard working individuals to become members of their emergency dispatch team. The city of Columbia is considered to be the #11 safest city in the United States on a list of of 100 cities. This is because of hard working individuals in the emergency services department, including 911 dispatch operators. While the city is considered safe, there are still issues that arise that require the city to frequently hire new 911 dispatch operators. These issues include:

  • Property crimes: Columbia has a higher average of property crime reports than the state of Missouri itself.
  • Violent Crime: Violent crimes in Columbia are comparable in regards to the states average.
  • Crime by Square mile: Overall the crime by square mile rate is 2 x higher than the states average.



Step 1. Meet Education and Job Qualifications

In order to become a part of Columbia, Missouri’s fast paced emergency dispatch team, applicants must meet certain requirements. These requirements include:

  • High school diploma, or GED Equivalent
  • The knowledge of maps, and ability to read them with success
  • Knowledge about Columbia, and Boone County geography.
  • Public safety knowledge including police, emergency medical services and fire
  • Basic computer skill knowledge including keyboard usage, mouse and arrow keys
  • The ability to use different computer systems and a strong typing skill
  • The ability to speak with a clear voice, providing concise, and accurate information over the radio and telephone.
  • The ability to accurately distinguish all colors properly.
  • Read and accurately understand all data displayed from a computer screen and page of print
  • The ability to be able to deal tactfully and courteously with the public
  • Flexibility to work varying shift hours and any unscheduled overtime that may come up.


Sponsored Content

Step 2. Apply for a Position in Columbia

If you would like to apply for the position as a 911 emergency dispatch operator you can review the requirements laid out for the position on their employment site. After you have reviewed and understand all requirements on the website, take a look through their current available job listings to ensure the position is available. You may also contact the Columbia, Missouri Human Resources department at (573) 874-7325. Their office is located at the Howard Municipal Building at 600 East Broadway. For office hours please contact the department to inquire.



Step 3. On-the-Job Training and Skills Development

After passing all the initial phases during the application process, and accepting the position as an emergency dispatch operator, you will go through a mandatory training period. The city of Columbia, MIssouri requires successful completion of all classroom and on-the-job training. During your on -the-job training period you will be required to become familiar with different necessary job skills that will help you to successfully complete your new job as a 911 emergency dispatcher. These components include:

  • Following and learning all protocols that deal with receiving calls, and dispatching emergency services.
  • Knowledge on how to operate an enhanced 911 telephone equipment system.
  • Learning how to work with the CAD or Computer Aided Dispatch equipment to receive, dispatch and process agencies to the appropriate locations.
  • Knowledge on how to obtain and relay pertinent information received from callers to the appropriate emergency services, and update all public safety statuses.
  • Operation of the MULES or Missouri Uniform Law Enforcement System to send out and receive messages, prepare inquiries, enter in information about wanted or stolen individuals, vehicles or property.
  • Learn and stay up to date on all working knowledge of procedures and policies that pertain to PSJC and their user agencies.
  • Keep an updated list of all inoperative fire hydrants, any current street closings, or other important information that could be valuable to emergency services. Monitor the weather alert equipment and learn to activate any outdoor warning sirens, or any other equipment that is designed to help alert the public in the case of emergency.



Step 4: Seek Additional Certification

Those who work in the field of 911 emergency dispatch operation are allowed to seek additional certification that may help to provide them with addition skills and knowledge in their career field. In addition some advanced courses may allow them to advance in their career.

Sponsored Content

The Association of Public Safety Officials International or APCO provides an Emergency Medical Dispatch program that allows for a systematic program of learning to handle medical calls that require assistance. Courses such as the following are allow for advancement of skills in the Emergency operator field:

  • EMD Concepts: This course was created to help familiarize it’s students with the philosophy that is used throughout the emergency medical dispatching community. It helps to provide students with national standards, and various guidelines of their field as well as provide basic knowledge and history of the components of the EMD field in general.
  • EMD Manager: This course was created to help assist students in developing the skills necessary to be placed in a management role. The program provides them with personnel communication support and guidelines that are required as an EMD manager.
  • EMD Instructor: This course helps to provide students with all the necessary skills and additional certification to help you advance to the position as an Emergency Medical Dispatch Instructor. Any candidates that complete this course must have certification as an Advanced EMT as it is set by the Department of Transportation.

Advancing your career as a 911 emergency dispatch operator is always an option with proper certification and training.

Back to Top