Online Police Dispatcher Training Programs

Police dispatcher training programs train students how to answer and direct emergency calls. Learn if training is available online, what training is necessary to enter the field, what the job responsibilities are and what you'll learn in a training program. Schools offering Law Enforcement degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Do I Need to Earn a Degree to Receive Police Dispatcher Training?

You don't need a degree to work as a police dispatcher, and the training required to work as a police dispatcher isn't available online. However, you can receive police dispatcher training on the job or through general training and certificate programs.

Online Availability Programs are not available online
Prerequisites 18 years of age with high school diploma or GED, background check with medical and psychological exams; some states have additional certification or training requirements
Job Duties Maintaining records, answering phones, directing police officers, logging police activities, directing callers to different departments
Skills Learned Prioritization based on need, using switchboards and dispatch equipment, time management, word processing, customer service
Training Training can be done through state-certified programs or through other means; training is finished on the job and shifts are scheduled by seniority

What Are the Typical Requirements to Work as a Police Dispatcher?

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), you can complete the required training to become a police dispatcher in approximately 3-6 months. Some states have specific certification or training requirements. For example, if you live in California, you'll need to complete a standardized Police Officer Standards and Training (POST) dispatcher course before you complete your training on the job.

You'll need to be at least 18 years of age and hold a high school diploma or its equivalent before you begin your training or work as a police dispatcher. You'll also need to pass a criminal background check, along with medical and psychological examinations. Any previous felony convictions or domestic violence charges will disqualify you from working as a police dispatcher. Additionally, you can't complete on the job training or work as a dispatcher if you're on probation or parole.

What Responsibilities Do Police Dispatchers Have?

Dispatchers are responsible for answering phones at a police department and directing officers to the scenes of accidents, crimes and emergencies. Once you complete your training, you'll also have to maintain police records, log the activities of officers in the field and direct callers to the appropriate agencies or persons when non-emergency calls are placed.

What Can I Learn in a Training Program?

Certificate and general training programs cover the use of 2-way radios, switchboards and dispatch equipment in a police station. You'll learn how to prioritize different types of calls and assign them to an officer in the field, according to the nature of the emergency. Some schools offer training simulators where you can acquire the skills of a police dispatcher through hands-on training.

You can also expect to learn about word processing programs and spreadsheet software. General training programs provide a similar coverage of material. In addition, you'll also acquire time management, communications, customer service and conflict resolution skills.

How Does On-the-Job Training Work?

In many states, you can begin your training on the job without enrolling in a state-certified program. In states where you need to complete a state-mandated program, you'll still need to acquire supervised experience on the job before you work as a dispatcher. Many states require a certain amount of training in radios, communications equipment and phone dispatching before you start working shifts.

Once you start working in a police department to complete your training, you'll be assigned to a rotating shift. Many shifts occur in 10-hour intervals. You can expect to be scheduled on the basis of seniority, which means that as you acquire more experience, you may be able to choose the days you have off and the shifts you work.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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