How to Become a 911 Dispatcher in Bismarck, North Dakota

911 emergency services in Bismarck, North Dakota, are provided by the Bismarck/Burleigh Combined Communications Center, a joint powers agreement between the City of Bismarck and Burleigh County.

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If you want to become a 911 operator in Bismarck, you must complete a number of steps:

Meet Minimum Requirements for Employment in Bismarck
Submit an Application for Employment and Complete Pre-Employment Training
Complete 911 Dispatcher Training

The 911 dispatchers of the Bismarck/Burleigh County Combined Communications Center, who are trained to handle both emergency and non-emergency calls, dispatch police, fire, and emergency calls for the following agencies:

  • Airport Security
  • Bismarck Fire Department
  • Metro Area Ambulance
  • Rural Metro Aircraft Rescue Firefighting
  • Steele Ambulance
  • Sterling Fire Department
  • Wing Fire Department
  • Bismarck Police Department
  • Braddock Fire Department
  • Burleigh County Sheriff’s Department
  • Lincoln Police Department
  • McLean Sheriff’s Department
  • Wilton Ambulance
  • Bismarck Rural Fire Department
  • Wilton Fire Department
  • Wing Ambulance



Step 1. Meet Minimum Requirements for Employment in Bismarck

Before you can apply for a job with the Bismarck/Burleigh Combined Communications Center, you must ensure you meet the minimum requirements for employment. Candidates for 911 dispatcher jobs in Bismarck must be at least 18 years old and must possess a high school diploma or GED.

You may also choose to complete a formal college degree program in a related field before pursuing a 911 dispatcher job. Although a college degree is not a requirement for employment, for many 911 dispatchers, it is a logical step on the road to a career in emergency communications, as it may fulfill some or all experience requirements for specific positions and may help them advance to supervisory positions.

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College programs in emergency dispatching or emergency communications do not exist; however, there are a number of programs in which 911 dispatchers earn degrees because they are closely related to this field, such as:

  • Public safety
  • Communications
  • Emergency management
  • Criminal justice
  • Homeland security

For example, an associate or bachelor’s degree program in emergency management offers students a course of study that is often directly related to emergency communications. Course topics may include:

  • Risk and Hazard Impact Studies
  • Sociology
  • Disaster Management and Preparedness
  • Principles of Management
  • Professional Ethics
  • Legal issues in Emergency and Disaster
  • Leadership and Change
  • Simulated Disaster Training
  • Incident Command: System Coordination and Assessment
  • Leadership and Change



Step 2. Submit an Application for Employment and Complete Pre-Employment Training

To become a 911 dispatcher through the Bismarck/Burleigh Combined Communications Center, you must submit an employment application through the City of Bismarck’s jobs website. You can search open jobs and apply through this system, which requires you to set up an account.  You may only apply for a 911 operator job through the City of Bismarck when a job listing appears.

Once you have been chosen as a candidate for a 911 operator position, you will be expected to complete a number of pre-employment tests, including a background investigation and a complete medical exam.


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Step 3. Complete 911 Dispatcher Training

New hires at the Bismarck/Burleigh Combined Communications Center must complete a specific course of training by achieving and maintaining:

Further, all 911 dispatchers must complete at least 24 hours of continuing dispatch education every 2 years as to maintain their EMD certification.

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