How to Become a 911 Dispatcher in Washington County, Oregon

The Washington County Consolidated Communications Agency (WCCA), which was established in 1985, provides all public safety communications (police, fire and medical assistance) for Washington County, including the cities of:

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  • Beaverton
  • Forest Grove
  • Gaston
  • Cornelius
  • Hillsboro
  • King City
  • Sherwood
  • Tigard
  • North Plains
  • Banks
  • Durham
  • Tualatin

The WCCA also serves the Washington County Rural Fire Protection Districts and the Fire Districts of Banks, Cornelius, Forest Grove, and Gaston. There are now more than 65 full-time dispatchers working for the WCCA, which includes an area of 819 square miles and a service population of more than 586,000. In 2010 alone, WCCA handled more than 450,000 phone calls and dispatched more than 530,000 public safety incidents.

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

Meet Minimum Requirements for Employment in Washington County
Apply for a 911 Dispatcher Job in Washington County
Complete New Dispatcher Training



Step 1. Meet Minimum Requirements for Employment in Washington County

Before pursuing a job as a 911 operator in Washington County, you must ensure you meet the minimum employment requirements as set forth by the WCCA. Desirable job experience includes employment where you had direct customer contact, such as a customer service representative, a clerk, or a restaurant server.

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Although not required, preparing for a job as a 911 operator may include pursuing an associate or bachelor’s degree in an area related to emergency communications. You may choose to pursue a degree program in a number of fields, including:

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

For example, a degree in emergency management will include a number of topics relevant to the emergency dispatcher profession, including:

  • Intro to Emergency Management
  • Intro to Hazards
  • Hazard Planning and Mitigation
  • Disaster Response and Recovery
  • Emergency Planning for Business and Industry
  • Terrorism and Domestic Security



Step 2. Apply for a 911 Dispatcher Job in Washington County

As an interested applicant, you should begin the employment process by completing an Employment Interest Card, which allows you to place your name and contact information on file with the WCCA.  The Agency will then use the eligibility list when hiring takes place. The Agency does not accept unsolicited applications.

During the hiring phase, if you are chosen as a candidate for a 911 operator job, you can expect to undergo a rigorous hiring process, which may include skills testing, a complete background investigation, and a medical exam.



Step 3. Complete New Dispatcher Training

If you are chosen for the job of 911 dispatcher with the WCCA, you will begin a 5-week, in-house training academy, followed by a 2-week state academy. Following the successful completion of basic training, you will be assigned a coach and will work with the coach, one-on-one, for approximately 8 to 12 months.

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During your on-the-job training period, you will learn how to answer phones and work the radios.

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