As a call receiver with the Spokane County Emergency Communications Center (ECC) you will earn a minimum entry-level salary of $33,786 annually. As part of a team that handles approximately 733 calls for assistance each day, you’ll be responsible for discerning which type of emergency service is needed – police, fire or medical.
If you are interested in learning how to become a 911 dispatcher in Spokane County, follow these three steps:
|Pursue Competitive Qualifications|
|Apply with the City or County|
|Continue your Training|
The Spokane County ECC is known for being one of the few agencies that utilize Call Receivers employed by the county to make an initial call screening. These professionals then transfer the call to the appropriate municipal dispatching agency – either the police department or fire department – which employ their own emergency dispatchers. And regardless of which agency a dispatcher is working for, everyone works in the ECC.
Meeting the minimum requirements for these positions is not enough. The hiring team with the ECC states that although the turnover rate for 911 jobs in Spokane County is nearly nonexistent, they are forced to hold quarterly hiring sessions because it is difficult to find qualified candidates.
Step 1. Pursue Competitive Qualifications
Spokane is home to at least four colleges that provide educational training programs for associate and bachelor degrees relevant to 911 dispatcher jobs in Spokane County, with more options available online. These programs include:
- 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
- Homeland Security
- Emergency Management
- Law Enforcement
- Fire Science
Having any of the following certifications will help to make you a qualified candidate no matter which agency you work for:
- National Incident Management System (NIMS)
- Fire Dispatching Certification
- Incident Command System (ICS)
- Association of Public-Safety Communications Officials (APCO) training and certification
As a police dispatcher you can also consider:
- Police Dispatching Certification
- Gaining experience in GPS mapping systems
- Training with ten codes and radio communications
Dispatchers working with the Spokane Fire Department handle both emergency medical and fire calls, and therefore the following can be beneficial 911 dispatcher training:
- Washington State Criminal Justice Training Commission’s Telecommunicator Program
- Emergency Medical Dispatch Certification
- Experience with the National Academies of Emergency Dispatch’s Medical Priority Dispatch System ProQA
Step 2. Apply with the City or County for 911 Dispatcher Jobs in Spokane
Choosing which application you want to complete depends on which dispatching position you are seeking at the Spokane County ECC.
If you are interested in working as an initial Call Receiver you will apply with Spokane County. However you will need to wait until the County announces they are recruiting for this position, and a good place to check for information on this is the county’s current employment vacancies website- usually there are hiring sessions at least four times a year. You will need to fill out an application packet which you can obtain from the county human resources office on 1229 West Mallon, and return this along with a typing test that shows you qualify with at least 30 words per minute. After reviewing your application, human resources will contact you with further instructions.
In addition to what their name implies, fire dispatchers also take care of emergency medical dispatching. If you are interested in either this or police dispatching positions you will apply through the City of Spokane. You can do this online in a process that starts by creating an account with the city. Once you have applied you will need to take a basic-skills Civil Service Exam. You will also need to wait until there are vacancies with these positions before you can apply, and you can check the city’s current job openings webpage for this information.
Step 3. Continuing Your Training
Each dispatching position has its own career path. Working your way up depends on your demonstrated skills on the job as you gain experience as well as your professional qualifications.
You can maintain and improve your credentials through continuing education and training with organizations like:
- Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)
- Spokane Emergency Management (located next door to the ECC)
- Washington State Emergency Management Association (WSEMA)
- Red Cross in the Eastern Washington Area
- Washington State Criminal Justice Training Commission