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How to Become a 911 Dispatcher in Portland, Oregon

Portland’s Bureau of Emergency Communications, which handles both emergency (911) and non-emergency calls for the City of Portland, received more than 441,000 calls for services in the first half of 2013 alone. The Bureau receives between 70,000 and 80,000 calls per month.

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If you want to become a 911 dispatcher through the Portland’s Bureau of Emergency Communications, you must complete a number of steps:

Meet Minimum Requirements for Employment in Portland
Provide Written Verification of Your Typing Speed
Apply for Employment as a 911 Dispatcher in Portland and Complete Pre-Employment Process
Complete New Hire Training

 


 

Step 1. Meet Minimum Requirements for Employment in Portland

Before you can apply for a 911 dispatcher job in Portland, you must ensure you meet the minimum requirements for employment, which includes being at least 18 years old and possessing a high school diploma.

You may choose to pursue a college degree so as to best prepare yourself for the exciting field of emergency communications. A number of programs may provide you with a solid foundation in issues related to this profession.

Popular college degree options for 911 operators include:

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

 


 

Step 2. Provide Written Verification of Your Typing Speed

Before you can apply for employment as a 911 operator, you must pass a typing test by achieving a typing speed of at least 45 wpm and provide written verification of your typing speed. You can take a typing test and receive a Verification of Typing Speed Certificate at one of the following temporary employment agencies.

You must identify yourself as an applicant for the City of Portland 911 Dispatcher position and bring picture identification with you. You must also bring the Verification of Typing Speed Certificate form with you when you test so it can be completed and returned with your job application.

 


 

Step 3. Apply for Employment as a 911 Dispatcher in Portland and Complete Pre-Employment Process

You may only apply for a job as a 911 dispatcher in Portland during open recruitment periods. To learn more about open recruitment for 911 dispatchers, you can visit the City of Portland Bureau of Human Resources site.

To qualify for a position as a 911 dispatcher, you must provide proof of your typing speed and submit it, along with a completed application form and the supplemental questions form.

Upon submitting the required information, your name will be placed on an eligibility list, and you will be invited to take a pass/fail CritiCall test, following by an oral interview and a background investigation. You will be disqualified if you fail any one of these assessments.

If you received a conditional offer of employment, you can expect to undergo a psychological assessment, a drug screen, and a vision/hearing test.

 


 

Step 4. Complete New Hire Training

If you are chosen as a new hire with the Portland Bureau of Emergency Communications, you will be required to complete a basic academy training program, which includes:

  • 2-week training with the Department of Public Safety, Standards, and Training (DPSST) in Salem
  • 10-week in-house academy to learn about:
    • Answering/processing emergency and non-emergency calls
    • Dispatching police, fire and medical responders

Upon completion of the 12-week basic academy training program, you will begin an 18-month on-the-job training period, where you will learn the fundamentals of taking police, fire and medical dispatch calls. You can expect to receive daily performance reviews and two-week supervisor reviews to ensure you are meeting job performance and training standards.

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