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How to Become a 911 Dispatcher in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania

Montgomery County’s Emergency Communications Department (part of the Department of Public Safety) is responsible for the County’s Enhanced 911 system, which provides dispatch services for police, fire and emergency medical services (EMS) through 911 answering points, radio communications, and computer-aided dispatch.

If you want to become a 911 operator in Montgomery County, you can expect to complete a number of required steps:

Meet Minimum Requirements for Employment in Montgomery County
Apply for Employment in Montgomery County
Complete Pre-Employment Testing
Complete Background Investigation and Pre-Employment Physical
Complete Academy Training in Montgomery County

 


 

Step 1. Meet Minimum Requirements for Employment in Montgomery County

Before you begin the process of pursuing a 911 operator job in Montgomery County, you must ensure you meet the minimum requirements for employment.

You may also choose to pursue a college degree program in a field related to emergency communications. Although not a requirement for attaining a 911 operator job in Montgomery County, it is nevertheless part of comprehensive, strategic plan for achieving additional opportunities for advancement in this profession.

There are a number of programs that provide an excellent foundation of knowledge as to best prepare you for this exciting profession:

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

 


 

Step 2. Apply for Employment in Montgomery County

The process of achieving a 911 dispatcher job in Montgomery County is a long one, with the application process taking up to 5 months. You can initiate the process by contacting the Department of Public Safety at 610-631-3079 to set up an appointment for pre-employment testing or by sending in a Montgomery County employment application to the Department at:

Department of Public Safety
50 Eagleville Road
Eagleville, PA 19403

Once your application is reviewed, you can expect to receive a call for testing. If you have sent in your application and haven’t heard from the Department within 2 weeks of the posted testing dates, you must contact them at 610-631-3079.

 


 

Step 3. Complete Pre-Employment Testing

The first step in the employment testing process begins with a skills test called CritiCall. CritCall testing assesses the job skills that are necessary to be a successful 911 operator. You can prepare for the test by studying the CritiCall Testing Instructions guide. You should expect the testing process to last 2 hours.

If you are selected as a candidate upon completion of the skills test, you can expect to complete a brief interview process, at which time you will be asked to complete a number of documents.

You then must complete the following pre-employment tests:

  • Initial Screening and Pre-Interview Questionnaire
  • Personal History Questionnaire
  • Oral Interview with Selection Panel

Upon the successful completion of all pre-employment testing, you will be required to complete a job shadowing program, which includes sitting with a seasoned 911 dispatcher for 4 hours as to learn more about what a 911 dispatcher job entails.

 


 

Step 4. Complete Background Investigation and Pre-Employment Physical

Only those selected candidates will be chosen to undergo an extensive background investigation, which includes reference checks, background checks, and a home visit made by members of the Department’s law enforcement staff. You can expect this process to take between 2 and 3 weeks to complete.

Upon the successful outcome of the background investigation, you will be given a conditional offer of employment, at which time you must complete several medical and/or psychological exams, as well as a drug screen.

 


 

Step 5. Complete Academy Training in Montgomery County

As a new 911 dispatcher, you must complete academy training, which takes place at the Montgomery County Emergency Operations Center. This training program, which is about 15 weeks long, includes the following:

  • APCO Public Safety Telecommunicator I certification
  • APCO Emergency Medical Dispatcher (EMD) certification
  • 13 weeks of  TTD, CAD, phone system training, Montgomery County geography, and simulation training

Following classroom training, you will enter Live Communications Center training, which may last anywhere from 2 to 4 months.

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