Bernalillo County’s emergency communications operators are responsible for receiving 911 emergency calls, dispatching law enforcement, fire, rescue, support services units, and providing emergency medical and fire instructions before the arrival of emergency personnel.
If you want to become a 911 operator (emergency communications operator) in Bernalillo County, you can expect to complete a number of steps:
|Meet Minimum Requirements for Employment|
|Complete a Recognized College Program|
|Pass the Written Assessment and Apply for Employment as a 911 Dispatcher|
|Complete Pre-Employment Assessments and Testing|
|Complete Training and Certification Programs|
Step 1. Meet Minimum Requirements for Employment
Minimum requirements must be met before you can apply to become a 911 dispatcher in Bernalillo County. Specifically, you must possess a high school diploma, have no felony convictions, have no DWI convictions in the last 3 years, and possess one the following experience requirements:
- At least one year of related experience in computer applications, telephone communications, and/or data entry; OR
- At least six months of experience in emergency communications/radio dispatching
All candidates also must be able to type at least 40 wpm, perform under stress, communicate both orally and in writing, and interact effectively with the public and with co-workers and supervisors.
Step 2. Complete a Recognized College Program
Although not required for employment as a 911 operator, Bernalillo County has set a clear ladder of upward mobility, which includes working as an emergency operator trainee, an emergency communications trainer, a shift supervisor, an operations coordinator, a CAD manager, and then as a quality assurance specialist and director.
Therefore, individuals who want to facilitate advancement often choose to pursue an associate’s or bachelor’s college program. Although a degree in 911 dispatching does not exist, many 911 dispatchers complete college programs in one of the following areas:
- Public safety
- Emergency management
- Homeland security
- Computer science
- Criminal Justice
Because a career as a 911 dispatcher involves communicating directly with the public, who many times are despondent and distressed, degrees in communications and psychology are often quite useful. For example, a degree in psychology often includes study in the following topics:
- Quantitative Thought
- Principles of Psychology
- Principles of Sociology
- Psychology of Personal Adjustment
- Science and Technology
Step 3. Pass the Written Assessment and Apply for Employment as a 911 Dispatcher
The first step to employment as a 911 dispatcher in Bernalillo County involves completing the New Mexico Work Key profiler, which is administered by the New Mexico Workforce Connection. This includes completing the following:
- Registering with the New Mexico Workforce Connection, which involves the submission of a resume and background information
- Scheduling a time and date to take the written assessments (that measure workplace-related skills) by contacting the Bernalillo County Office at 505-843-1967
Once you pass the written assessment, you will be permitted to apply online through the County of Bernalillo’s website.
Step 4. Complete Pre-Employment Assessments and Testing
Once you have been chosen as a candidate for a 911 operator job, you must complete a number of pre-employment tests/assessments, which include:
- Bernalillo County’s authorized typing test (must achieve 40 wpm)
- Background investigation
- Psychological evaluation
Step 5. Complete Training and Certification Programs
As a new 911 dispatcher, you must be able to successfully complete the FEMA IS-100, IS-200, and IS-700 courses within 6 months from the date of your hire.
Further, you must be able to successfully achieve:
- The New Mexico State Public Safety Telecommunicator Certification within one year from the date of your hire.
- The New Mexico State Emergency Medical Dispatch (EMD) Certification within one year from the date of your hire.
- The New Mexico State Certification (NCIC) as the Full Access Terminal Operator Level within one year from the date of your hire.
- The National Emergency Fire Dispatch (EFD) Certification within one year of your hire.
- The American Heart Association (AHA) CPR certification.