How to Become a 911 Dispatcher in Reno, Nevada

In the city of Reno 911 emergency dispatchers are called public safety dispatchers and work in the Emergency Communications Center. They are hired and managed directly by the city of Reno and dispatch EMS, fire, and police emergency services.  The city of Reno continually has a need for qualified and professional public safety dispatchers, in part due to the following:

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  • Reno has an overall higher rate of crime than the national average, and is only safer than 20% of cities in the United States.
  • Reno’s rate of violent crime is higher than the national average including rates of murder, assault and theft.
  • Reno has a thriving casino sector, which can present problems for public order stemming from drinking, gambling, and drug use.

Reno has published a series of steps which are required to become a public safety dispatcher. These steps include:

Meet Education and Job Requirements
Apply For a Position in Reno
Complete The Public Safety Dispatch Trainee Program



Step 1. Meet Education and Job Requirements

You must have at least a high school diploma or equivalent in order to qualify to become a public safety dispatcher in Reno. You are advised to seek higher education in order to both increase your competitive advantage when applying for the position, and in order to prepare yourself for the rigors of the job itself. Reno area colleges and universities offer a wide variety of courses which can help you prepare for your career as an emergency dispatcher.

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Majors and courses of study which are relevant to your career as an emergency dispatcher in Reno include:

  • Bachelor of Arts in Criminal Justice. A degree in criminal justice will familiarize you with the criminal justice system. This will assist you in your job functions as you will be able to better navigate the criminal justice element of the job, which includes working with law enforcement to identify and apprehend potential criminals.
  • Bachelors of Arts in Spanish. There is a large Spanish speaking population in the Reno area. For those who are not already fluent in Spanish, a degree in the language could provide you with a base of fluency which will allow you to communicate with a large part of the community.
  • Bachelor of Arts in Psychology.  A degree psychology will help you better identify with and relate to callers. Considering some people will call in states of confusion, fear, and other difficult emotions, a degree in psychology may help you to better handle these people.

Public safety dispatchers in Reno are paid a salary of $45,450.86 – $67,168.56 per year. There are minimum qualifications for the position which include:

  • 18 years of age
  • Working knowledge of the streets, areas, and landmarks of Reno
  • One year experience in a customer service role, or other public contact position
  • Physical ability to navigate an office environment



Step 2. Apply For a Position in Reno

In order to apply for the position you will need to go to this website. Search for the public safety dispatcher position and select it. At the top of the job description page you will see a link which says “Apply.” Click this link. You will need to register for the jobs engine if you have not already done so. Fill out the application and submit.

You will be contacted by human resources if you have been selected to interview.



Step 3. Complete The Public Safety Dispatch Trainee Program

The city of Reno has created a trainee program to prepare you for your job position as a public safety dispatcher.  Being hired to this position is an introduction to the field. You must successfully complete this program in order to be promoted to the full public safety dispatcher position. You will be assigned certain basic tasks which are relevant to the job position. The specific tasks will be revealed once you have been accepted into the program. Your promotion to a full public safety dispatcher is at the discretion of the management staff.

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In order to successfully complete the trainee program you may be required to:

  • Demonstrate your ability to prioritize emergency situations
  • Demonstrate your ability to effectively manage irate callers
  • Demonstrate your ability to maintain calm in high pressure situations
  • Demonstrate your ability to work under pressure
  • Demonstrate your ability to type at a speed sufficient for job performance
  • Demonstrate your ability to operate office equipment including computer systems
  • Demonstrate your ability to interpret laws on local, state, and federal levels
  • Demonstrate your ability to operate radio and computer dispatch systems.

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