How to Become a 911 Dispatcher in Billings, Montana

The city of Billings has a policy of continuous open-applications in case there is ever a vacancy that needs to be filled. Some reasons Billings maintains open-applications for 911 dispatchers includes:

  • Billings has a relatively high rate of violent crime in certain categories such as rape and theft. Both of these categories have a higher rate in Billings than the national average.
  • Your chances of being a victim of violent crime in Billings are 1 in 337, which is higher than the average for Montana as a whole.
  • Billings has a very harsh winter climate, with snow and sub-zero temperatures being common. This increases the likelihood of auto accidents and other weather related emergencies.

The steps to becoming a 911 dispatcher in Billings, Montana include:

Meet Education and Job Qualifications in Billings
Apply for a Position in Billings and Take Test
On-the-Job Training And Skills Development
Seek Additional Certifications



Step 1. Meet Education and Job Qualifications in Billings

You must have a high school diploma or GED in order to qualify to become a 911 dispatcher in the city of Billings. However, it is advised that you seek higher education in the form of a university degree or associates degree. This will not only help you as it relates to competing for jobs, but studying relevant coursework will help prepare you to perform the functions of the job. There are many colleges and learning institutions in Billings that offer courses which can help you to prepare for your career as a 911 dispatcher.

Areas of study that will help you prepare include:

  • Communications.  Being a 911 dispatcher means having to operate numerous communications systems simultaneously. Also, effective communications with other departments and the callers is essential. A degree in communications will help you prepare for this critical aspect of the position.
  • Criminal Justice.  Many aspects of the job as a 911 dispatcher involves dealing with criminals, whether the criminal be the caller or threatening the caller. A degree in criminal justice will help you to be better prepared to handle the legal and criminal aspect of the job.
  • Pre-Medicine.  Callers to 911 are often in life of death situations. Sometimes the caller, or someone, else has already been seriously injured. A degree in pre-medicine studies will help you to better assist the caller as it relates to treating injuries and preventing further injury.



Step 2. Apply for a Position in Billings and Take Test

In order to apply for 911 dispatcher jobs in Billings, you should make sure you meet certain requirements including:

  • Be 18 years of age
  • Availability to type 40 words per minute
  • Ability to accurately type 97 words per minute (alpha numeric)
  • Ability to pass pre-employment drug screen
  • Ability to pass pre-employment background screen

In order to apply for the job position you must apply here or contact:

City of Billings, Human Resources
210 N. 27th Street
Billings, MT 59101

Also, you should call 652-3080 to arrange to take your tests. Results are valid for 6 months.



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

911 dispatchers in Billings begin in the training program and then are graduated to a permanent position. The pay for the training program is $11.74 per hour plus benefits, and lasts for 16 weeks.

In training you will learn:

  • How to take and process emergency calls
  • How to prioritize emergency calls
  • How to work with the Criminal Justice Information Network
  • How to work with the National Crime Information Center
  • Proper radio procedures
  • How to prepare reports in the Computer Aided Dispatch (CAD) system

If you are selected to be promoted to the 911 dispatcher position you will be given a pay increase to $13.87. The position has a top pay of $22.03.

On the job you will need to have additional skills and requirements such as:

  • Ability to work any shift, including nights, overnights, weekends, and holidays
  • Have a clear speaking voice
  • Ability to think clearly in emergency and pressure situations
  • Must have a home phone
  • Must be able to sit for long periods of time



Step 4.  Seek Additional Certifications

There are a number of ways to continue to develop your skills as a 911 dispatcher and improve your job performance. One of the best ways to do this is to continue to seek additional training and certifications. Some of the best certifications for a 911 dispatcher to hold are:

  • The Emergency Telecomunicator Certification (ETC) program is a 40 hour course which will help you to become proficient in the factors of being an emergency operator. Factors such as job stress, interpersonal skills, and legal issues are covered.
  • The Criminal Justice Information Services (CJIS) certification will ensure you are proficient in using the FBI’s criminal justice database, where records of criminals are held. This training could be very valuable on the job as most 911 departments use a form of this system.

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