How to Become a 911 Dispatcher in Charleston County,
South Carolina

The Charleston County Consolidated 9-1-1 Center has achieved recognition for excellence with accreditation from the International Academies of Emergency Dispatch.  911 dispatchers at this center answer emergency calls for police, fire, and medical services, handling more than 221,000 calls from the residents of Charleston, North Charleston, and Lincolnville, among other cities.

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Here is a step-by-step guide on how to become a 911 dispatcher in Charleston County:

Preparing with the Right Education
Complete the Charleston County Application Process
Undergo Training



Step 1.  Preparing with the Right Education

The job requirements for a telecommunicator trainee does not indicate the need for a formal college education.  There is a lot of competition for these positions, however.  You can obtain an associate’s or bachelor’s degree in a field that will help you master the skills of dispatching emergency calls.  This should help you stand out among other applicants.

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Areas of study that are applicable to 911 dispatching include the following:

  • Fire science
  • Police science
  • Emergency management
  • Homeland security
  • Criminal justice
  • Communications

The ability to use a computer proficiently is an important part of dispatching, and you will be tested before being hired. A formal education will help you prepare to meet basic requirements on the following:

  • Computer aptitude
  • Ability to type either
    • 35 WPM (words per minute)
    • 10,500 KPH (keystrokes per hour)

You can obtain one of these degrees from a state school or from an online accredited institution that offers degrees to residents of South Carolina.



Step 2.  Complete the Charleston County Application Process

You can apply to become a telecommunications trainee in Charleston County online at this site when job openings are posted.  As part of the hiring process, the Human Resources Department will thoroughly screen your background and investigate the following areas of your life:

  • Driving record
  • Education and training
  • Employment history
  • Financial history
  • Illegal conduct
  • Personal references

You will also have to undergo a polygraph test.

You must be in good physical and mental health, and the department will perform the following examinations on you:

  • Physical examination
  • Hearing test
  • Psychological examination


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Step 3.  Undergo Training

Once you have been hired, you will be thoroughly trained to become a 911 operator.  The first part of your training will be in a classroom.  This will take place from 8 AM to 4:30 PM and occasionally longer.  In addition to the standard 911 dispatcher training, such as learning to use a computer aided dispatch system, you will be trained in the international system that provides instructions on handling medical emergencies before the personnel arrive.

After you have completed your classroom training, you will start on the job training.  You will be trained on the day shift and the night shift.  Once you have mastered the required performance standards, you will be assigned to either the day or night shift.  It is likely that you will end up working the night shift when you first start your employment.

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