From big-time Hollywood hits to primetime TV, most of us have seen 911 operators in action, fielding emergency calls with unmatched confidence and composure. Ever wonder what goes into entering this fast-paced, challenging yet highly rewarding career path? Here’s the info you need on how you can become a 911 dispatcher in the state of Florida.

What exactly does a 911 dispatcher do?

Being a 911 operator is about much more than answering incoming emergency calls. An emergency dispatcher must make split-second decisions and prioritize calls based on the nature of the emergency, ensuring help reaches exactly where and when its needed most. And that’s not all. Throughout the call, it’s a 911 operator’s duty to keep callers calm enough to provide the key details needed to assess the situation and inform emergency responders.

How can you become a 911 dispatcher in Florida?

The first step in becoming a 911 dispatcher or emergency line operator in the state of Florida is to earn your certification through a reputable, hands-on Public Safety Telecommunications training course. Once you complete all program requirements, you will be able to register for the PST exam and earn your certification.

Finding a Public Safety Telecommunications program.

In Florida, Public Safety Telecommunications training programs must be approved by the Florida Department of Health, be at least 232 hours and follow a state curriculum. As you begin your search for a course that’s right for you, look for courses through local colleges and career training centers, as these can be affordable, flexible options for those working and going to school.

Marion Technical College offers a 911 operator training course designed to prepare students for employment as a dispatcher for police, fire and ambulance. The course includes content covering the ethics and role of the dispatcher, standard telecommunication operating procedures, understanding of command levels, emergency medical dispatch procedures and much more.

911 operator program and examination requirements.

High school diploma or GED equivalent are strongly recommended for those interested in applying for a Public Safety Telecommunications training program. Prospective students will undergo a drug screening and background check, followed by interviews for those meeting program requirements.

The final step in becoming a dispatcher is successfully completing the 911 Public Safety Telecommunicator Examination, administered by Prometric. Once you’ve completed your training course, you’ll receive your Certificate of Completion and be eligible to register and get permission to take the exam through the 911 Public Safety Telecommunicator Office, with the appropriate forms found on the Florida Department of Health website. Through Marion Technical College’s program, the $75 exam fee is included within your tuition costs.

Answer the call of a brighter future with a career as a 911 dispatcher. Applications for Marion Technical College’s Public Safety Telecommunications program and other new programs including Electronic Technology and Database Application Development and Programming are now available. Applications will be accepted until classes are filled. For more information about MTC’s available programs, check out our COURSE CATALOG, or call (352) 671-7200.