How to Become a 911 Dispatcher in Madison, Wisconsin

The Dane County Department of Public Safety Communications serves more than 80 emergency first-responder agencies in the county including police, fire, and ambulance services, while processing over 600,000 calls annually, the majority of which originate in the Madison area. In 2012, emergency dispatchers in the county, officially known as Communicators, earned an average salary of $42,510.

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If you are ready to make yourself a competitive candidate and prepare for your long-term career development then follow these steps to become a 911 dispatcher in Dane County:

Gain Competitive Qualifications
Apply with Dane County
Post-Hire Certification Requirements
Maintain your Qualifications



Step 1. Gain Competitive Qualifications

If you are thinking about a long-term career, you can expand your promotional possibilities in addition to adding to your initial qualifications with an associate or bachelor degree in a relevant field of study. There are at least half-a-dozen college campus locations within Madison offering these degrees with more opportunities online. Dispatching-related programs include:

  • Homeland Security
  • Law Enforcement
  • Emergency Management
  • Public Safety
  • Fire Science
  • Criminal Justice
  • Communications



Step 2. Apply with Dane County

If there are current 911 dispatcher vacancies they will be posted on the Dane County jobs webpage. Otherwise you can find several email addresses on the county’s 911 Recruitment webpage of managers who you can contact to get specific information on when the next hiring dates will be.

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A position officially known as Communicator, application instructions for 911 dispatcher jobs in Dane County will be provided when there are job vacancies. When you are applying make sure to fill out the application completely and provide your signature along with official copies of your high school diploma or GED. And ask yourself, are you prepared to:

  • Remain calm and obtain useful information from frantic callers in emergency situations
  • Be polite and helpful to rude, intoxicated callers who are potentially suicidal
  • Work all shifts as needed and remain seated for extended periods of time



Step 3. Post-Hire Certification Requirements

The following are the certifications and 911 dispatcher training you will be required to obtain after being hired by the Dane County Department of Public Safety Communications:

  • CritiCall pre-employment testing
  • CPR Certification
  • Wisconsin TIME System-Advanced Certification
  • Emergency Medical Dispatch-Advanced Certification
  • Emergency Fire Dispatch Certification
  • Emergency Police Dispatch Certification

If you do not possess these before hire you will attain them during a seven-week intensive Communicator Training Academy provided in association with Dane County.



Step 4. Maintain Your Qualifications

As you become a more experienced dispatcher, remember that you will need to maintain certain certifications:

  • CPR Certification
  • Emergency Medical, Fire, and Police Dispatch Certifications
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This requires obtaining continuing education at the instruction of the Dane County Department of Public Safety Communications in these areas. You can also acquire your own continuing education and 911 operator training independently and add this to your qualifications as you are considered for promotions. Some local agencies offering related education and training include:

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