Master testing for 911 Operator and 911 Dispatcher jobs
What testing do 9-1-1 operators need to pass?
9-1-1 Operator candidates must pass pre-employment testing to move on to the next stage in the hiring process. Pre-employment testing evaluates vital skills required by Emergency Communicators. These skills include:
There are a few online multi-tasking tests and CritiCall is the brand name of one of them. CritiCall has become the standard aptitude test for 9-1-1 dispatch candidates. These tests are typically conducted in-person at the 9-1-1 agency. Alternately, some agencies elect to deliver them online using private links and passwords distributed by the 9-1-1 agency.
The CritiCall test is a computer-based test where 9-1-1 Operator candidates will run through a series of assessments. The candidates will each wear a headset with a microphone during the test so that they can hear oral passages and respond with verbal statements.
The test evaluates several competencies including:
Short and long term memory
Spelling, grammar and clarity
The CritiCall test can be customized by the agency, so it is a slightly different test in each centre. Likewise, the length of the test can be anywhere from 45 - 150 minutes.
TIP ! Use mock CritiCall practice tests to assess your skills and prepare yourself for the real thing.
Perfex Multi-Tasking Test
The Perfex test is the precursor to the CritiCall test and is being used less and less. There are, however, some agencies that believe this test is an accurate predictor of multi-tasking abilities and continue to use it either on its own or in combination with other multi-tasking tests. The Perfex test is hand-written, and completed by listening to an audio cassette. Only one candidate can be tested at a time and the test must be completed in person. The Perfex test gauges the candidates ability to read map books, write quickly, short term memory, long term memory, spelling, listening, organizing and multi-tasking.
Many emergency agencies will create written tests as precursors to the multi-tasking tests. Because multi-tasking tests require a lot of time, and only a small number of candidates can complete them at a time, agencies will administer written tests to identify stronger candidates and move them into the multi-tasking tests afterward. The written tests vary dramatically amongst each other and can change over time. There are some common sections that appear amongst these tests, such as:
Reading: Ability to read sections of policy and answer questions about it.
Writing and Vocabulary: Ability to define lists of words.
Listening: Ability to listen to an emergency call and extract important information
Ability to navigate generic maps using directions
Ability to identify locations, streets, points of interest on actual maps of the geographic location of the dispatch centre.
TIP ! Online typing tests are handy to quickly assess your typing speed, but are often very short and only span about 1 minute. For the best preparation, candidates should set a timer for 5 minutes and type out text chosen from a random source (textbook, magazine, etc). Use a word processing application such as Microsoft Word, that can easily display your word count in the bottom left corner of the screen.
TIP ! Candidates should also practice on a desktop computer with a standard keyboard. This will simulate the real testing equipment. Many individuals find typing on regular keyboards different than laptops and other devices. They may have higher typing speeds on their own laptops but post low scores when using an employers desktop computer.
TIP ! Don't forget that typing is a skill and can quickly and easily be improved with regular practice. If your initial typing scores are lower than 45wpm, you can improve this score with proper typing technique and regular practice. There is a brief, but free, typing tutorial on 9-1-1 Professor.