The Virginia Beach Fire Department, Police Department, and emergency medical services are dispatched through Virginia Beach Emergency Communications, also known as VB911. Working as an emergency dispatcher at VB911, you will carry a heavy responsibility- last year VB911 dispatchers responded to nearly 500,000 calls for service.
This responsibility combined with the high demand for 911 dispatcher jobs in Virginia Beach means that before you begin working independently you will need to be highly qualified. While researching how to become a 911 dispatcher in Virginia Beach you may also consider obtaining some preliminary qualifications that will aid you as you prepare for a successful career.
Use this guide to learn how to become a 911 dispatcher in Virginia Beach:
|Become a Qualified Candidate|
|Apply with the City of Virginia Beach|
|Maintain your Expertise|
Step 1. Make Yourself a Qualified Candidate
You can make your application stronger by having a degree in any one of several fields relevant to emergency dispatch. There are at least five colleges with campuses in Virginia Beach and additional campus locations nearby, not to mention online degree resources.
- 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
Studying for a degree in the following is also a good idea for your long term career options:
- Emergency Management
- Law Enforcement
- Homeland Security
- Fire Science
Meeting the minimum qualifications to apply for 911 dispatcher jobs in Virginia Beach is just the beginning of a successful application. VB911 is proudly accredited by the following agencies, and obtaining certification through any of their 911operator training programs can be a strategic move:
- Public Safety Communications Accreditation through the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies (CALEA)
- Project 33 Certification from the Association of Public-Safety Communications Officials (APCO), which also offers an additional variety of 911 dispatcher training and certification programs
Step 2. Apply with the City of Virginia Beach
The city has set up a jobs webpage called WAVE where you can search current vacancy postings and create an online application account. If there are openings for 911 dispatcher jobs in Virginia Beach, you can apply through WAVE, otherwise you are advised to check back with the website frequently, along with other local media sources where jobs are posted.
If you would like to visit the Staffing and Compensation Services you can drop by their office at 2424 Courthouse Drive in the Municipal Center, Building 18. If your application is judged to be complete and competitive you will be notified when to appear for an interview, during which time you are advised to:
- Be well groomed and confident in your qualifications
- Come prepared knowing about the details of the position you are applying for
- Prepare, practice for, and anticipate the questions you will be asked
Step 3. Maintain Your Expertise
While you develop your skills working on the job, you can also gain additional education and training through outside organizations that will boost your credentials for promotion and make you a more qualified and effective emergency dispatcher.
These training programs can be found through:
- Virginia Department of Emergency Management
- Virginia Beach Office of Emergency Management
- Federal Emergency Management Agency, headquartered in neighboring Maryland and offering a variety of 911 dispatcher-related training
- Virginia Chapter of the National Emergency Number Association