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

911 calls in Greenville County are handled by a number of agencies.  All e911 calls in the county are answered by the Greenville County’s Sheriff’s Office (GCSO) Communications Center.  Their communication specialists route the calls, depending on the nature of the emergency.

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Here is a step-by-step guide on becoming a 911 dispatcher for Greenville County and the city of Greenville.

Meet the Requirements
Consider an Education Related to 911 Dispatching
Submit Your Application in and Complete the Application Process
Take Part in On-the-Job Training and Obtain Certification

Sheriff’s deputies process the calls that require a response from law enforcement, while calls for emergency medical services (EMS) are dispatched to the award-winning Greenville County EMS Communication Center.  The GCSO dispatched over 197,000 calls for service in 2011.

In addition, six cities within Greenville County, including the city of Greenville, have their own dispatch centers to process 911 calls for city officers.



Step 1.  Meet the Requirements

Greenville County.  To become a 911 dispatcher with the Greenville County Sheriff’s Office, you will need to first apply to become a deputy sheriff with the agency.  You will have to meet the following requirements:

  • Be at least 21 years old
  • Have a high school education
  • Have a driver’s license that is valid in South Carolina
  • Not have a criminal record
  • Have been honorably discharged from the military (if applicable)

City of Greenville.  911 operators for The Greenville Police Department’s Communication Bureau are trained police officers.  To be able to apply for this type of job, you will have to meet the following additional requirements:

  • Be at least 18 years old
  • Not have been convicted of one of the following crimes:
    • Misdemeanor that carries a sentence of more than a year
    • Crime of moral turpitude



Step 2. Consider an Education Related to 911 Dispatching

Although technically you only need to have a high school education to apply for a deputy sheriff’s position with the GCSO or a police officer position with the GPD, there are several reasons why you may want to consider getting a college degree.

Learning law enforcement skills in a criminal justice or police science program will help you learn to be a better 911 dispatcher.  There is a lot of competition for these types of jobs, and having a degree can enhance your chances of being hired.

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In addition, there is a financial benefit for getting a college degree if you are applying to the GCSO.  If you have a degree related to law enforcement, the agency will pay you more.  You will receive the following percent increases if you have such a degree:

  • Associate’s – 5%
  • Bachelor’s – 10%

You have a number of options in obtaining these types of degrees.  They are offered by a number of schools in South Carolina.  In addition, a variety of online institutions serve the residents of the state and are another way to earn a criminal justice degree.



Step 3.  Submit Your Application and Complete the Application Process

Greenville County – You can start your application process to become a communications specialist with Greenville County by applying at the Greenville County Sheriff’s Office website.  As a first step, the department will rigorously investigate your background.  They will examine the following parts of your life:

  • Civil checks for each county you have lived in
  • Credit history
  • Criminal history
  • Driving history
  • Personal references
  • Previous employers

You will also be given a polygraph test.  After you have been found to be a suitable candidate, you will undergo the following screenings:

  • Drug
  • Medical
  • Physical fitness
  • Psychological

City of Greenville – Your first step in becoming a Greenville City 911 dispatcher is to apply to become a police officer.  You can apply online at their website.  After you apply, you will go through an extensive process that can take up to a year to complete.

When the department is hiring, they will contact you and let you know when you should report for the following tests:

  • SCDPS-CJAD Physical Abilities Test
  • National Criminal Justice Officer Selection Inventory
    • Mathematics
    • Personality characteristics
    • Reading comprehension
    • Writing ability

You can purchase a study guide for the written test.

The next steps in your application process include the following:

  • Interview with fingerprinting and photography
  • Vision test
  • Background check that will be an in-depth look into at least the following:
    • Credit history
    • Criminal history
    • Driving record
    • Employment history
    • Places of residence
    • Personal references

After the department has completed your background check, the City Manager and the Chief of Police will review your application.  As openings arise, they will offer you a conditional offer of employment.  Then you will go through the following steps:

  • Medical examination that includes a physical fitness assessment
  • Psychological evaluation
  • Polygraph examination
  • Drug test
  • Final review by the Chief of Police and City Manager

After you pass this review, they will offer you the job.



Step 4.  Take Part in On-the-Job and Academy Training and Obtain Certification

Greenville County – Once you have been hired, the GCSO will train you in house to answer and dispatch 911 calls.  In addition to getting this on the job training, the state requires that you undergo training at the South Carolina Criminal Justice Academy (SCCJA) in Columbia within a year of having been hired.

This involves taking the Basic Telecommunications/9-1-1 Training course that is two weeks (80 hours) long.  After you pass this course, you will be certified as a 911 dispatcher in South Carolina.

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City of Greenville – You will start your training with the Communication Specialist-1 Training Program.  Your first step will be to go through an orientation to the Police Department.  You will then be assigned to a Communication Specialist Trainer (CST) who will evaluate you on the following areas:

  • How well you perform
  • Your attitude and relationship with coworkers
  • Your appearance

Once the CSTs are satisfied with your performance, you will attend the South Carolina Criminal Justice Academy (SCCJA) Basic Telecommunications/9-1-1 Training Course in Columbia.  Once you have completed that program, you will be on probation for a year, and your CST will continue to evaluate you during this process.

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