How to Become a 911 Dispatcher in Norfolk, Virginia

As a 911 dispatcher working at the Norfolk Division of Emergency Communications you will be part of the 72-member telecommunicator team that responds to over 700,000 requests for emergency police, fire, and medical help each year. Once you are hired you will attend an 80-hour Telecommunicator Academy followed by on-the-job 911 operator training with a special instructions squad.

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As you learn how to become a 911 dispatcher in Norfolk and begin your training preparations, remember that these positions can be very competitive and having extra credentials could make the difference.

The steps to becoming a 911 Dispatcher in Norfolk County are detailed here:

Obtain 911 Dispatcher Qualifications
Apply with the City of Norfolk
Remain Qualified



Step 1. Obtain Dispatcher Qualifications

There are a number of 911 dispatcher training and certification courses you can complete before you apply to become an emergency dispatcher. Having any of the following can boost the credibility and competitiveness of your application:

  • Virginia Criminal Identification Network (VCIN) Certification
  • National Criminal Identification Network (NCIC) Certification
  • CPR Certification
  • Emergency Medical Dispatcher Certification
  • National Incident Management Systems (NIMS)

Aside from having solid qualifications as demonstrated through 911 operator training courses, you can also obtain an associate or bachelor degree in an emergency dispatching-related major. Relevant programs are offered through at least six Norfolk-based colleges with many more educational options available both online and throughout the greater Virginia region.

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Having a degree in any of the following subjects could assist you in your short and long-term career goals:

  • Communications
  • Fire Science
  • Law Enforcement
  • Homeland Security
  • Psychology
  • Emergency Management
  • Public Health



Step 2. Apply with the City of Norfolk

Once you are ready to apply for 911 dispatcher jobs in Norfolk, the first place you will need to visit is the city’s vacant positions listing online. If there are no current openings you can fill out a job notification card for 911 Telecommunications to receive an email or telephone call when the position does become vacant.

To apply you will need to fill out an online Public Safety Employment Application, and before you do this you are required to create an online application profile. If you are chosen to continue in the employment process you will need to complete the following:

  • Background investigation, including a credit check
  • Polygraph examination
  • Oral Review Board evaluation
  • Drug screening
  • Hearing evaluation
  • Psychological examination


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Step 3. Remain Qualified

Once you have made it through the hiring and training process your months of experience will become years and before you know it you will be eligible for promotions. To ensure you are in the best standing for these and that you remain an effective 911 dispatcher, you can take advantage of the certification, training and education opportunities provided through the following sampling of organizations:

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