How to Become a 911 Dispatcher in Cuyahoga County, Ohio

911 emergency communications services in Cuyahoga County, Ohio, are provided by the Cuyahoga Emergency Communications System (CECOMS), within the Department of Public Safety and Justice Services. CECOMS coordinates with communications with police and fire departments and other healthcare agencies and also coordinates cellular and wireless calls and establish and coordinate ambulance-to-hospital communications.

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There are currently 44 public safety answering points (PSAPs) within Cuyahoga County, including Ohio’s second most populous city, Cleveland. The 911 dispatchers of CECOMS transfer all 911 calls to the appropriate PSAP. In 2012 alone, CECOMS 911 operators answered more than 800,000 cellular 911 calls.

If you want to become a 911 dispatcher in Cuyahoga County, you must be prepared to complete a number of steps:

Prepare for Employment in Cuyahoga County
Apply for Employment in Cuyahoga County and Complete the Pre-Employment Process
Complete Training Program



Step 1. Prepare for Employment in Cuyahoga County

Many individuals seeking 911 dispatcher jobs choose to pursue a college degree program in a field related to emergency communications. Whether you are pursuing an associate or bachelor’s degree, some college education may provide you with additional opportunities in the field of emergency communications, particularly when seeking supervisory and other higher-level positions. There are a number of similar programs that will provide you with a solid foundation in in this profession, including:

  • Public Safety
  • Emergency Management
  • Homeland Security
  • Criminal Justice
  • Communications
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For example, a degree in public safety includes study in a number of topics directly related to a 911 dispatcher job:

  • Organizational Behavior and Management
  • Development of Emergency Management
  • Emergency Operations and Techniques
  • Mitigation Planning
  • Project Management



Step 2. Apply for Employment in Cuyahoga County and Complete the Pre-Employment Process

You must visit the Cuyahoga County employment page to determine if CECOMS is currently hiring 911 dispatchers. If a job listing for a 911 dispatcher appears, you can complete the application process online. You must create an online profile and submit and online application through the Cuyahoga County Department of Human Resources job portal.

Candidates for 911 operator positions in Cuyahoga County can expect to undergo a background investigation, a physical (which includes a hearing test), and a drug screen.



Step 3. Complete Training Program

All new 911 dispatchers in Cuyahoga County must complete a training program that ensures they have a thorough understanding of the County’s 911 system, its technologies, and the job duties and responsibilities of the job of a 911 dispatcher.

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Training for new 911 dispatchers includes attaining one or more nationally recognized certifications through such associations as the National Emergency Number Association (NENA) or the Association of Public Safety Communications Officials (APCO).

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