How to Become a 911 Dispatcher in New York City, New York

911 calls throughout the five boroughs of New York City—Brooklyn, Queens, Manhattan, Staten Island, and the Bronx—are handled by emergency communications call centers under the New York Police Department’s (NYPD) Office of Citywide Emergency Communications and the Department of Information, Technology, and Telecommunications. NYPDS and FDNY call takers and emergency medical dispatch personnel are called upon to provide interagency communications and emergency response services.

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If you want to become a 911 dispatcher in New York City, you must first complete a number of steps:

Prepare for Employment in New York City
Apply for Employment and Pass the Civil Service Test
Complete the Pre-Employment Process and Undergo Training

911 dispatchers in New York City work through a state-of-the-art emergency communications system that is capable of handling more than 50,000 calls per hour, which is more than 40 times the average daily volume.

The City’s emergency communications structure ensures that emergency services are dispatched in response to the more than 11 million 911 calls received every year. The City’s Public Safety Answering Center, housed in the MetroTech Center in Downtown Brooklyn, currently employs more than 1,500 911 operators, all of whom use the same integrated technology.



Step 1. Prepare for Employment in New York City

Learning how to become a 911 operator first involves meeting the Department’s minimum requirements for employment, which includes having one year of full-time experience performing clerical duties or working with the public in role that involved obtaining information.

However, you may substitute experience requirements for education if you possess at least 30 college credits or at least 2 years of active military duty with an honorable discharge.

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It is quite common for candidates pursuing 911 dispatcher jobs in New York City to complete a course of formal study resulting in an associate or bachelor’s degree in one of the following areas:

  • Public Safety
  • Criminal Justice
  • Communications
  • Emergency Management
  • Homeland Security

Attaining higher-level 911 operator jobs in New York City is dependent upon your prior training, education and experience, making a college degree very useful for future career advancement in this profession.



Step 2. Apply for Employment and Pass the Civil Service Test

Before applying to take the civil service test for a 911 dispatcher job, it is important to check the NYC Department of Citywide Administration Services website for upcoming civil service testing dates through the monthly exam schedule. You can also learn more about the Civil Service System here.

Regardless of whether there are upcoming civil service testing dates for 911 operators, you may still apply for employment by completing the application form (click on the police communications technician hyperlink) and forwarding to the NYPD’s Employment Department at [email protected].



Step 3. Complete the Pre-Employment Process and Undergo Training

If you are chosen as a candidate for a New York City 911 operator job, you will need to complete a number steps during the pre-employment process, which include:

  • Undergoing a background investigation (You must pay a $75 fingerprint screening processing fee.)
  • Undergoing medical and psychological testing
  • Passing a drug screen
  • Ensuring that you will maintain residency within 90 days of appointment
  • Ensuring that you understand English
  • Provide proof of your right to work in the United States
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Upon being hired as a 911 dispatcher, you will need to complete training through the New York State Public Service Commission, which includes at least 200 hours of training, 40 hours of which are in the classroom. Training must be completed within 12 months of your hire.

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