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How to Prepare for a 911 Communications Dispatch Test

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A 911 dispatcher or operator answers emergency and non-emergency calls and alerts the proper response teams. In addition to sending help, they're also expected to calm the panicked or distraught caller. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, most 911 dispatchers need a high school diploma. There isn't a national testing requirement, but your state may require applicants to pass an exam or skills test. Depending on the state, a training program or certification may also be necessary.

Certification Programs

Before you can prepare for the exam, you'll need to know the training and certification requirements in your state. Contact the local police department or department of public safety to learn the specific requirements. For example, Florida requires 911 dispatcher applicants to complete a Public Safety Telecommunicator Program, no less than 232 hours long. After completing the program, there's a state exam to pass. Even if a certification program isn't mandatory, you might want to enroll in one to learn the necessary job skills. In Columbus, Ohio, applicants must pass the Police Communications Technician Exam.

Online Study Guides

Columbus, Ohio's Police Communications Technician Exam is a computerized job simulation that tests the basic skills needed for the job, including decision making, summarizing calls, prioritization, memory recall, data entry and cross referencing. In Mesa, Arizona, the written multiple choice exam tests your ability to communicate, locate callers on the map, recognize radio codes and abbreviations and provide directions. It also tests your judgment, such as determining the severity or urgency of a call. Test preparation guides are available for free online. Use the guide to familiarize yourself with the format of the test and the type of material to study.

About the Author

Jeannine Mancini, a Florida native, has been writing business and personal finance articles since 2003. Her articles have been published in the Florida Today and Orlando Sentinel. She earned a Bachelor of Science in Interdisciplinary Studies from the University of Central Florida.

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