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How to Become a 911 Dispatcher in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

The 911 emergency dispatchers in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, serve more than 1.5 million residents who make Philadelphia the six most populous city in the United States. Police dispatching services are provided by 911 dispatchers through the Philadelphia Police Department, and 911 operators through the Philadelphia Fire Department provide both fire and medic dispatching services.

Although two separate dispatching agencies provide 911 emergency services for the State of Philadelphia, all emergency dispatchers are hired through the City of Philadelphia’s Office of Human Resources.

If you want to become a 911 operator in Philadelphia, you must complete these three steps:

Meet Minimum Employment Requirements in Philadelphia
Apply for Employment in Philadelphia and Complete Pre-Employment Testing
Complete Training as a 911 Dispatcher

 


 

Step 1. Meet Minimum Employment Requirements in Philadelphia

If you want to become a 911 dispatcher in Philadelphia, you must read and write fluently and clearly speak one of the languages spoken in a foreign-language community in Philadelphia. You must also have an excellent grasp of English usage, spelling, grammar, and punctuation.

Although you are not required to possess a college degree to obtain a 911 operator job in Philadelphia, doing so may allow you to achieve upward mobility within the profession. A college degree may also better prepare you for the challenges of becoming a 911 dispatcher. To date, there are no college programs in emergency communications; however, there are a number of programs that provide a solid framework in this field, including:

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

 


 

Step 2.  Apply for Employment in Philadelphia and Complete Pre-Employment Testing

Before applying for a 911 operator job in Philadelphia, you must check the Department of Human Resources’ job opportunities website to ensure that they are currently hiring for the position. If hiring is currently taking place, you must follow the directions of the job posting and send your resume and application to the Department of Human Resources at:

City of Philadelphia
Office of Human Resources
1401 JF Kennedy Boulevard
Municipal Services Building, Room 1530
Philadelphia, PA 19102

You can direct any questions regarding City employment by contacting the Office of Human Resources Monday through Friday, between 8AM and 4PM at 215-686-0881 or at hrhelpdesk@phila.gov.

If you are chosen as a candidate for a 911 operator job in Philadelphia, you must be able to pass a state and national fingerprint-based background check.

 


 

Step 3. Complete Training as a 911 Dispatcher

Although 911 dispatcher training requirements are not readily available, it is likely that you will be required to achieve and maintain certification as an emergency medical dispatcher (EMD) and in CPR (Class C). The Pennsylvania Chapter of the National Emergency Number Association requires at least 104 hours of classroom and hands-on training in such areas as:

  • Call taking skills
  • Computer-aided dispatch
  • Department standards
  • Geography
  • Policy and procedure
  • Radio operations

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