As an emergency operator at the Dallas 911 Communications Center you can either work as a police dispatcher or fire and emergency medical services dispatcher. Either way you will be in an environment with experienced colleagues qualified to make life-and-death decisions. Despite the high concentration of 911 dispatcher jobs in the area, there is a still-higher number of applicants for these positions, so being well-prepared with the proper credentials is vital.
The following figures come from the most recent Federal Bureau of Labor statistics for number of employees and average annual salary:
- Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington: 2,020 emergency dispatchers earning $37,450
- Dallas-Plano-Irving Metro area: 1,300 emergency dispatchers earning $37,890
If you are willing to invest in what it takes to work as an emergency dispatcher then consider the following guide to find out how to become a 911 operator in Dallas, Texas:
|Become Competitively Qualified to Work in Dallas|
|Apply with the City of Dallas|
|Maintain your Edge|
Step 1. Becoming Competitively Qualified to Work in Dallas
Besides meeting the basic requirement of having one year of emergency dispatcher or call-taker experience under your belt, you should also strive to distinguish yourself above your competition. There are several certification opportunities available in the Dallas area as well as through online organizations. These include:
- Emergency Number Certification through the Texas Chapter of NENA (National Emergency Number Association)
- Telecommunicator Proficiency Certification through TCLEOSE (Texas Commission on Law Enforcement Officer Standards and Education)
- CPR and First Aid Certification through the American Heart Association
- Emergency Medical Dispatch Certification through APCO (Association of Public-Safety Communications Officials)
While considering the training involved in becoming a 911 dispatcher in Dallas, you should also think about an associate’s or bachelor’s degree in a related field. This demonstrates a higher level of commitment to emergency dispatch and can facilitate an easier movement up the career ladder. These degrees can be obtained through a variety of online schools as well as at least seven college campus locations in Dallas proper, not including the Fort Worth combined metro area.
Relevant degree programs include:
- Law Enforcement
- Public Safety
- Emergency Management
- Fire Science
Step 2. Applying with the City of Dallas
After you have become qualified with the right 911 dispatcher training you will be ready to apply for a job. The City of Dallas posts emergency operator vacancies on its job opportunities webpage, and as you read over the 911 dispatcher job description and application make sure to fill out all required sections and provide your signature. If there are no immediate vacancies then you should monitor local media sources and the city’s job opportunities webpage.
You can choose to apply for police dispatcher positions or fire and emergency medical services dispatch positions. In either case you will be trained accordingly and work at the newly renovated Dallas 911 Communications Center.
Step 3. Maintaining Your Edge
Keeping up with your training is important for maintaining a high level of professionalism in the quality of your work. This will ensure you make the most informed life-saving decisions and also place you in a better light for promotion. Organizations such as the Texas 911 Trainers Network maintain an updated calendar of continuing training opportunities where you can network with colleagues and advance your professional career.
Being at the top of your game is important when you get a call like the one recently answered by a Dallas dispatcher. Two teenagers were on the other end and reported a young woman had mouthed “help me,” to the boys from the window of a passing vehicle. The dispatcher remained on the phone with the teens, who followed the abductor providing details about their location until police arrived and arrested the man on aggravated kidnapping charges after he allegedly nabbed the woman at gunpoint.