Public safety telecommunications specialists

A male dispatcher working on the computer.

There is one first responder role that is vital to public safety but doesn’t get the attention that other roles do: Public Safety Telecommunications Specialists, aka 911 Dispatchers.

Public Safety Telecommunications Specialists are the first line of communication for citizens, as well as the first responders that will respond to the citizen’s needs. The job requires that you have great communication, customer service, and listening skills. Public Safety Telecommunications Specialists’ safe, secured environments are usually in call centers located at Emergency Operations Centers.

There is a critical need for 911 Dispatchers in this area due to a retiring workforce and exponential population growth in the state. Local agencies are actively trying to fill the voids in positions, desperately looking for people to serve in these roles. Over the next ten years, this occupation will grow by 14%, adding an additional 700 jobs to the area.  The average starting wage for a Public Safety Telecommunications Specialist in the State of Florida is $40,000, not including shift differential pay, holiday pay, or emergency pay.

SPC offers the Public Safety Telecommunications Specialists training program at the Allstate Center with five starting dates annually. The training includes 64 hours of face-to-face training, 100 hours of online training, 80 hours of agency observations, and CPR training.

The total training time for this program is 244 hours (232 hours state-mandated, 12 hours for state exam administered through the Florida Department of Health). Once a person passes the exam they can work as a Public Safety Telecommunications Specialists anywhere in the State of Florida. Most of our students will have job offers from agencies before they complete their training. The courses taken can be applied towards an Associate’s Degree in Emergency Administration & Management (EAM-AS) and/or Criminal Justice Technology (CJPSS-AS).

To be admitted to the program a person must meet the following qualifications:

  • 18 or older
  • High school diploma or GED
  • United States citizen or Permanent Registered Alien
  • No felony conviction
  • No substance abuse and/or use of controlled substances

The cost of the program for Florida Residents is $619.44, which can be waived through qualification for the Rapid Credentialing Scholarship provided through the CARES Act. The scholarship program offers employees displaced due to COVID-19 the chance to quickly gain skills for a new career. To apply for the scholarship, visit https://now.spc.edu/jobtraining.

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