How to Become a 911 Dispatcher in Utah

Each emergency communications center in Utah has its own hiring requirements, but regardless of the agency all 911 dispatchers must be professional, well-trained, and technologically competent. Some of the largest employers of 911 dispatchers across the state include:

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  • Salt Lake City 911 Bureau
  • Provo City Public Safety Communications Center
  • Orem Communications Center for 911 Emergencies, processing approximately one quarter of a million calls for request annually
  • Salt Lake Valley Emergency Communications Center serving:
    • West Jordan
    • Sandy
    • West Valley

Education and Certification for a Successful 911 Dispatch Career

Having the right education and certification for 911 dispatcher jobs in Utah is not only just a good idea in terms of job mobility and improving one’s qualifications; in many cases it is required.

Emergency communications agencies state the following requirements in their 911 dispatcher job description:

  • Be proficient in computer technology and able to type at least 40 words per minute
  • Pass a multitasking skills test
  • Make it through an extensive multi-week on-the-job training regimen
  • Attend continuing education meetings with the 911 medical director

Candidates are shown preference who already possess or are in the process of obtaining the following 911 dispatcher training:

  • CPR through the American Heart Association (AHA)
  • Emergency Medical Dispatching Certification through the National Academies of Emergency Dispatch (NAED)
  • Peace Officer Standards and Training (POST) Dispatch Certification
  • National Incident Management System (NIMS) Certification by completing FEMA’s Incident Command System series
  • Training that is provided by APCO (Association of Public-Safety Communications Officials)-certified training officers

Positively distinguishing oneself during the application process is one of the most important things a candidate can do to increase his or her chances of being hired. In addition to 911 operator training, prospective dispatchers can rise above their competitors by possessing a degree that is directly pertinent to the career field, such as:

  • Homeland Security
  • Emergency Management
  • Communication
  • Fire Science
  • Registered Nursing
  • Public Safety
  • Public Health
  • Criminology


Working as a 911 Dispatcher in Utah

The Salt Lake City 911 Bureau is the largest in the state and only one of seven worldwide to hold triple accreditation from the National Academies of Emergency Dispatch. Smaller emergency communications centers may not be as technologically advanced or employ as many dispatchers, but their importance and role in providing first-responder service is no less significant. As candidates research how to become a 911 operator in Utah, they will come across countless stories of dispatchers acting with professionalism and control in situations where the average citizen would panic.

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That is exactly what happened in a recent story involving a 10-year veteran 911 dispatcher with the Davis County Sheriff’s Office, who is being credited with saving the life of a choking toddler over the phone by instructing his mother on how to perform CPR until paramedics arrived.

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