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Public Safety Dispatcher Certificate

Communications specialists who respond to emergency calls and dispatch emergency response personnel are known as public safety dispatchers. These professionals can be found working in all kinds of medical and law enforcement emergencies. 911 calls are mostly attended by public safety dispatchers who respond to all kinds of emergency situations such as accidents, fires, crime scenes, and more.

There are various associations and departments that oversee public safety dispatcher services. Each state has certain requirements in place for becoming a public safety dispatcher. Individuals interested in joining this profession must complete the minimum educational and training requirements in their state. In most states, a high school diploma and a certification is needed to become a safety dispatcher.

Public safety dispatcher certificate

A public safety dispatcher program is designed to prepare students for a career in this field. It is a non-degree program and is offered by a number of institutes. Before enrolling, make sure you check to see if the certificate program meets the minimum requirements in your state.
The coursework will cover a wide range of topics that enhance communication skill as well as theoretical knowledge. The curriculum may vary slightly with different colleges. Listed below are a few courses covered in the program:

  • Law enforcement (2-3 credits)

This course provides students with an overview of the various law enforcement units that operate in their state/locality. It is important for students to understand what different types of law enforcement personnel there are.

  • Human Behavior (2-3 credits)

This course will allow students to learn about techniques used for dealing with various individuals (young children, elderly, mentally disadvantaged). Public safety dispatchers must know what communication barriers exist and how to effectively communicate despite issues.

  • Legal and regulatory influences (2-3 credits)

In this course, students will examine the legal boundaries that influence public safety agencies. Students will cover topics such as provincial statutes, common laws, and municipal by-laws.

  • Police communications

In this course, students will acquire in-depth knowledge of protocols and radio dispatching. The course will shed light upon areas such as call processing.  Students will also learn how to manage and respond to multiple incident scenarios effectively.

  • Fire Communications (2-3 credits)

This course will highlight protocols and techniques used for dispatching fire services in a certain area. Students will also acquire practical experience by working in lab simulations.

  • Emergency Medical Communications (2-3 credits)

In this course, students will understand the protocol and techniques that are used for dispatching emergency medical personnel.

  • Call processing (2-3 credits)

Call processing is one of the most basic courses in the program. This course will provide students with skills and call-processing techniques. Students will understand how to use manual and automated systems, and will acquire familiarity with technical language and jargon.

Objectives of Public Safety Certificate Programs

  • Students will be able to identify the importance of ethical conduct as a safety dispatcher
  • Demonstrate knowledge of key law enforcement agencies, their functions, and roles.
  • Skillfully and tactfully identify emergency situations and respond immediately
  • Dispatch relevant emergency personnel (fire, medical, rescue, police)
  • Communicate effectively


A public safety dispatcher must demonstrate the following skills:

  • Communication skills
  • Multitasking skills
  • Decision-making skills
  • Listening skills
  • Technical skills
  • Team-working skills

Credit Hour and Course Requirements

The certification can only be earned after successfully completing each of the course components. Students must acquire the minimum number of credit hours in the program. This requirement may vary from school to school.

Training and Examination

Training is mandatory for a career as a dispatcher. The minimum training requirements may vary from state to state. Individuals may be required to take an examination before qualifying for a job as a dispatcher. Individuals can seek information about the training and examination requirements from the Association of Public-Safety Communications Officials (APCO).There are other agencies too that offer training such as the following:

  • National Emergency Number Association (NENA)
  • International Academies of Emergency Dispatch (IAED)

All dispatchers must follow the guidelines and standards set by relevant boards and associations. In some states, dispatchers are also required to renew their certifications every few years.

Duties of Public Safety Dispatchers

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 82% of public safety dispatchers work in government agencies such as the fire and police department. These professionals are required to perform a variety of tasks. Some of them are listed below:

  • Respond to 911 calls
  • Identify the type of emergency and its location
  • Contact the appropriate first responder agency
  • Provide over-the-phone medical instructions if necessary
  • Keep track of police, fire, and ambulance units dispatched to the scene of emergency
  • Manage call records and details
  • Use crime databases when necessary


According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual income for police, fire, and ambulance dispatchers in 2012 was $36,300. The growth rate estimated for this occupation is 8% over the next few years. The career can be challenging in many ways as dispatchers may be required to work on public holidays, weekends, and on other holidays.

Career Advancement

The field offers growth opportunities to dispatchers. With work experience, further training, and certification, one can find pursue senior administrative positions as well.

States with the highest employment level in this occupation:



Employment per thousand jobs

Location quotient

Hourly mean wage

Annual mean wage

California 16600.111.2618.1337720
Florida 11300.141.6817.9737370
Illinois 9600.161.9217.937240
Texas 7600.070.7816.6234570
New York 6500.070.8520.1241840


Frequently Asked Question(s)

Q:What popular careers can be pursued with a Certificate In Public Safety And Security?

A:A certificate in public safety and security is available at many accredited colleges. With this certificate you can apply for the following relevant jobs: police detectives, fire investigators, emergency management specialists, correctional officers, first line supervisors, records officers, safety dispatchers, etc. These jobs fall in the category of public safety.

Q:How can I apply for certificate public safety and security?

A:If you wish to apply for a certificate in public safety and security, you can go for regular as well as online schools. Look for accredited programs approved by authentic accrediting agencies. The admission requirements vary according to different institutes, but most programs require you to have at least a high school diploma or equivalent.

Q:What are the skills that I will acquire if I pursue a public safety dispatcher certificate program?

A:Public safety dispatchers have a very crucial job and are supposed to operate professionally in the most difficult of situations. Some of the skills and qualities that are necessary for a PSD to have include multi-tasking, information retention, active listening, patience, effective verbal communication skills, above average typing speed, ability to read and write English and ability to remain calm and professional under extremely stressful situations.

Q:Can I do public safety certificate programs online?

A:Yes, you can. There are many universities in the US that are now offering certificates online. With an online public safety administration certificate you can save on the cost of tuition as well as living costs associated with on-campus course of studies. Also, with an online degree you can either accelerate or slow down the coursework based on your personal requirements.

Q:What career opportunities does a certificate in public safety offer?

A:Public safety is a field that includes careers such as the following: Corrections- prison guard, probation officer or warden, law enforcement- police officer, CIA, Secret Service, detective, FBI, sheriff, emergency services- EMT, 911 Operator, firefighter, paramedic, legal services- paralegal, attorney or judge, security guards employed by banks, organizations, hotels, corporate offices or hospitals.

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