The Salt Lake area is served by separate emergency dispatch centers, at the municipal and county level. At the county level, the Salt Lake Valley Emergency Communications Center employs 911 dispatchers as a Public Safety Communications Officer. Here you would be responsible for answering calls for emergency assistance by dispatching the appropriate police, fire, and ambulance units. After completing an extensive training process you would use the latest technology in the field to provide life-saving services to an area encompassing around 890,000 people with coverage including all areas of Salt Lake County except for Salt Lake City and Sandy:
- West Jordan
- West Valley City
If you have what it takes to make life and death decisions under stressful circumstances and are open to training and education, then becoming a 911 dispatcher serving Salt Lake City or the greater Salt Lake County area may be right for you:
|Pursue Education and Training|
|Begin the Application Process|
|Continuing your Training|
As a 911 dispatcher in Salt Lake City, you will be entering one of the most state-of-the-art public safety buildings in the country. Built to be fully functional after a 7.5 magnitude earthquake, the new $125 million Salt Lake City Public Safety Building is the only building of its kind in the country able to generate as much energy as it uses. In the event of a natural or man-made disaster, you would be at the center of the state’s emergency communications hub.
Step 1. Pursue Education and Training
Your first order of business will be to make your application stand out among others competing for 911 dispatcher jobs in the Salt Lake County. With around eight colleges in Salt Lake County and additional online schools you may consider obtaining an emergency dispatch-related degree.
- Rasmussen College - Justice Studies Programs offering a wide range of industry-relevant programs
- Utica College - Online Bachelor's of Science in Criminal Justice
Some areas of study that can transfer well into 911 dispatcher careers include:
- Public Safety
- Law Enforcement
- Homeland Security
- Emergency Management
Step 2. Begin the Application Process
Salt Lake County – You can apply directly with the Valley Emergency Communications Center for 911 dispatcher jobs in Salt Lake County. Simply fill out the two-page application and return it to the Emergency Communications Center at 5360 South Ridge Valley Drive in West Valley City.
As part of the initial hiring process you will need to pass a basic-skills test which demonstrates your ability to perform a number of tasks simultaneously.
You can turn in an application any time, and once there are enough applicants in the pool and yours has been approved, human resources will contact you to schedule a time to come in for an interview. Upon successfully navigating the hiring process you will be ready to begin your 911 operator training.
Salt Lake City – You can apply for 911 dispatcher jobs through the city’s website, which requires you to first create an online profile. If there are vacancies for 911 dispatcher jobs in Salt Lake City they will be posted on the city’s employment webpage. When you are logged in with your online profile you can apply for emergency dispatcher positions through the job advertisement.
Along with submitting an application you will also need to successfully pass a basic-skills 911 Communications Bureau exam that evaluates your ability to accurately multitask while maintaining a working relationship with callers reporting emergencies on the other end of the phone. You will receive information about this test once you have submitted a complete application.
Step 3. Continue Training On-the-Job
Upon accepting a position as a 911 dispatcher for Salt Lake City or the Salt Lake Valley Emergency Communications Center, the following certifications would be required soon after becoming employed:
- Emergency Medical Dispatch Certification
- CPR Certification
- Emergency Fire Dispatching Certification
- Utah Bureau of Criminal Identification (BCI) Certification
- Utah Peace Officer Standards and Training (POST) Certification
- National Incident Management Systems (NIMS) Certifications:
- NIMS 100 Introduction to Incident Command Systems
- NIMS 200 Single Resources and Initial Action Incidents
- NIMS 700 National Incident Management System, An Introduction
Step 4. Continuing Your Training
Once hired you will undergo a months-long training process that includes the above-mentioned certifications. As a condition of remaining employed you will need to keep your certifications current and must also attend at least 24 hours of continuing education or training. The following organizations are among those offering 911 dispatcher continuing education and training opportunities:
- Utah Chapter of NENA (National Emergency Number Association)
- Association of Public-Safety Communications Officials APCO
Besides keeping you up to date in your career field, these organizations can also provide valuable networking opportunities with fellow colleagues.
Being ready for anything is all in a day’s work for Salt Lake City 911 dispatchers. This was very clear in a recent incident when a West Valley City six-year-old called 911 after his grandfather fell down. After reporting he was sick and needed to go to the doctor, the dispatcher on the other end of the line was able to quickly get medical units on the way. This in spite of the fact the boy did not know his address. Thanks to the dispatcher’s training, the house address was quickly pinpointed with phone-tracing technology and the grandfather’s life was saved.