How to Become a 911 Dispatcher in Sparks, Nevada

In Sparks, Nevada, the Sparks Police Department Communications Center is one of the main answering points for all public safety calls.  This center is responsible for taking care of all 911 calls – whether for police, fire or emergency medical services.  The 911 operators, also called Emergency Communications Dispatchers in Nevada, are in charge of dispatching calls for the Sparks Police Department, Sparks Fire Department, Sparks Public Works and Sparks Court Marshalls.

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In order to become a 911 dispatcher in Sparks, you will need to complete the following steps:

Consider Higher Education and Meet Job Qualifications in Sparks
Meet Job Qualifications in Sparks and Apply
On-The-Job Training and Skills Development
Seek Additional Certifications

At the present time, the Sparks Police Department Communications Center has 12 Emergency Communications Dispatchers in addition to 3 Emergency Communications Supervisors on staff.

These professionals work to provide a response to crimes committed in the city:

  • In 2006, the city had 3 murders, 8 cases of arson and 40 rapes cases.  Five years later in 2011, those numbers increased to 7 murders, 22 cases of arson and 46 rape cases.
  • The property crime rate in Sparks is slightly higher than the United States average.
  • Murder, rape and burglary in Sparks are all above the United States average.



Step 1.  Consider Higher Education

The minimum educational requirement to become a 911 dispatcher in the city of Sparks is a high school diploma or its equivalent.  However, most employers are looking for those with a higher level of education to work in this field.  There are several colleges and universities around the Sparks area that offer degrees relevant to the 911 dispatcher occupation.

The City of Sparks highly recommends the following degrees to help you prepare for a career as a 911 dispatcher:

  • Business Administration – Having a degree in business administration can be helpful for those wanting a job as a 911 operator.  You will learn important aspects to use on the job including taking calculated risks, adapting to a business environment and surviving in the current economy.
  • Criminology – A degree in criminology can help you understand the various aspects of criminal law including forensics, political science, law and psychology.
  • Emergency Management – Provides students with exposure to the area of emergency management including emergency disaster plans, maintaining an emergency response center and the political and socio-economic aspects of disasters.


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Step 2. Meet Qualifications in Sparks and Apply

The starting salary for 911 dispatchers in Sparks is $14 per hour or $30,030 yearly.  There are several job requirements that must be met in order to successfully obtain a job as a 911 operator in Sparks. Some of these job requirements include:

  • Must be at least 18 years old
  • Must be able to pass a background check
  • Must pass a drug screening
  • Must be able to type at least 40 words per minutes

To apply for a job as a 911 dispatcher in Sparks, you can visit the website for the City of Sparks.  You can also call the city’s job line at 775-353-2444 or you can visit the human resources department for the city at 431 Prater Way.



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

Prior to starting your job as a 911 dispatcher, there are some skills you will need to learn while on the job.  These skills include:

  • Work in stressful situations
  • Work in high call volume environment
  • Work various shift
  • Follow instruction accurately

In addition, you will need to develop skills once you are employed as a dispatcher so that you can successfully perform your job.  These necessary skills include:

  • Knowledge of equipment related to the job
  • Knowledge of how to provide customer service
  • Knowledge of laws, court procedures and legal codes
  • Knowledge of terms related to fire, police and EMS.


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Step 4.  Earn Additional Certification

The job description of a 911 operator is frequently updated to reflect new technology and protocols.  In order to stay current, you must obtain and maintain certifications related to the field.  Some of these certifications include:

  • Priority Dispatch provides certification training in many different venues such as emergency certification, emergency quality assurance certification, and more. All of which have been developed to help you gain more advanced training in the field.


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