Careers as 9-1-1 Communicators are both exciting and rewarding. The job can be challenging at times but most days you get to leave the communications centre feeling like you've made a difference.
What does a 9-1-1 operator do?
When a citizen dials 9-1-1 they are transferred to the nearest Public Safety Answering Point (PSAP) or Central Emergency Reporting Bureau (CERB). Depending on local 9-1-1 structure, the person that answers the call will typically answer the call with "9-1-1, Do you need Police, Fire or Ambulance?"
Once the call type is identified, the caller is transferred to the appropriate communications centre: Police, Fire or Ambulance. In most cases, the PSAP is operated by the local police department. That means that the 9-1-1 communicator and the police communicator are one in the same.
The 9-1-1 operator who answers the call will use a stringent set of protocols to ask questions and determine a response to the incident. After the response is identified, the call information can be dispatched to the responding units.
how much do 9-1-1 operators make?
There is a broad spectrum of wages for 9-1-1 Operators. In the U.S., 9-1-1 Operators generally make $10-$20 USD per hour. 9-1-1 Operators in Canada typically make between $30-$40 per hour.
There are also additional factors involved in salary. Some centers have a wage ladder wherein employees receive annual pay increases for the first 5 - 10 years of employment. Other centers have a brief training or probationary period with restricted wages, and then all employees make the full wage as they do the same jobs.
It is also worth noting that most 9-1-1 Communications Centers require additional staffing on an ongoing basis and that means there is the opportunity for Communicators to work overtime shifts at a premium rate.
9-1-1 Emergency and Call Centre Communications program at Durham College
2 year diploma program
Canada's only english-speaking 2 year diploma in 9-1-1 Communications
Experiential learning opportunities
Labs offer simulations using computer-aided dispatch technologies