Working as a 911 dispatcher in Utah County, you will be responsible for monitoring multiple telephone lines, radio channels, and computers while dispatching emergency services including police, medical, and fire to residents of Orem, Provo and surrounding municipalities. Last year there were 140 professionals in this field working in the Provo-Orem area. To be a successful applicant for these positions, it’s a good idea to start preparing yourself early.
The following steps will take you through everything you need to know to become a 911 dispatcher in Utah County:
|Obtain Certification and a Relevant Education|
|Apply with Your Local Municipality|
|Keep up with Your Training|
Step 1. Obtain Competitive Certification and Education
When considering the best route to become a 911 operator in Utah County, a good starting point is to show up at your job interview having already completed some or all of the training you will be required to obtain anyway shortly after hire.
- Grand Canyon University - B.S. in Justice Studies, and M.S. in Criminal Justice
- SNHU - A.S. in Criminal Justice, B.S. in Criminal Justice - Police Administrations & Operations, and M.S. in Criminal Justice
- Strayer University - Bachelors of Science Degree in Criminal Justice
- Michigan State University - Master of Science in Criminal Justice
- Rasmussen College - Justice Studies Programs offering a wide range of industry-relevant programs
- Utica College - Online Bachelor's of Science in Criminal Justice
For the two largest employers in Utah County, the Cities of Orem and Provo, this includes:
- Utah Peace Officer Standards and Training (POST) Dispatcher Certification
- Utah Bureau of Criminal Identification (BCI) Terminal Certification
- Emergency Medical Dispatch Certification
- CPR Certification
In addition to this specific 911 dispatcher training you can also study for a degree in an emergency dispatching-related field. Schools for these are available online and on campus locations of at least eight colleges in the Provo-Orem area. Having a degree can help both your short and long-term career prospects as it is a demonstration of expertise and commitment:
- Emergency management
- Law Enforcement
- Homeland Security
- Public Safety
- Criminal Justice
Step 2. Apply with the Cities of Provo and Orem
Applying in Provo – You can make an application either online or by visiting the Human Resources Division at 351 West Center. You can start the web application process by creating an account with the Provo City Online Job Application System. Once your application is received it will be screened to see if you meet the minimum qualifications, which include the demonstration of a typing speed of at least 40 words per minute. Although 911 dispatchers work through the Provo Police Department, they are hired through the city’s human resources department.
Applying in Orem – Dispatcher jobs in Orem are based out of the 911 Emergency Communications Center and are part of the city’s Department of Public Safety, and vacancy postings are listed on the city’s jobs website. You may only apply for dispatcher jobs when there are openings, and in addition to checking back with the city’s jobs website for these, you can also fill out a notification card to be alerted when vacancies occur. Simply enter your name and email address in the spaces provided, click save, and select Dispatcher.
A Provo emergency operator’s starting salary can range between $1,116 and $1,539 biweekly. In Orem this figure starts at a biweekly rate of $1,196 and maxes at $1,793. The most recent average annual salary calculation in the Provo-Orem area was $37,220.
Step 3. Keep up with Your Training
As you gain experience in your new job it is never too early to begin thinking about rising up the career ladder. Besides having a good record of proven skills, the next best thing you can do to increase your speed of promotion is to demonstrate a commitment to continuing adeptness and self-betterment. This can be achieved by attending lectures, workshops, or other educational events related to your field. Not only will this be good for your career but it will also improve the level of service you provide to the people in emergency situations on the other end of the phone.
Some agencies in the Orem and Provo areas with continuing education resources include:
- Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)
- Utah Chapter of the National Emergency Number Association (Utah NENA)
- Utah Peace Officer Standards and Training (POST)
- International Academies of Emergency Dispatch (IAED)