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911 Dispatchers

In Oklahoma, over 90 job opportunities in the emergency dispatcher field are listed on on February 19, 2020.

The 911 dispatchers, who gather essential information from callers and dispatch the appropriate first responders to the scene, must be able to take control of situations that may be chaotic and stressful. Responsible for the receiving calls for service from various communication devices (such as telephone, cell, text, relay) from the public regarding emergency and non-emergency situations, complaints and animal control problems. Maintain records of all pertinent information and the dispatching to calls for service through radio operations. Employees of this class are under the direct supervision of a Division Commander and the general supervision of a Shift Commander. Employee may be responsible for the on-the-job training of new personnel.

They must be organized, adept at multi-tasking, level-headed, and trustworthy. Their work within emergency response services often places them in the middle of life or death situations, so requirements and training for these positions are often stringent.

Job Description

911 dispatchers must respond to emergency and non-emergency calls for assistance and information. They must provide dispatch and communication support services for police, fire, emergency, and related services.

Essential job functions within a 911 dispatcher?s job description may include the following:

  • Operate a multi-line telephone console system, alerting system, and TDD system for the deaf and hearing-impaired
  • Translate information to the appropriate codes
  • Determine and assign the level of priority of the call and enter the data into a computer-aided dispatch system for radio dispatch purposes
  • Perform emergency medical dispatch and crisis intervention services
  • Ask vital questions and provide pre-arrival instructions for emergency medical calls
  • Monitor and operate a radio console and computer equipment
  • Receive and respond to a variety of emergency and non-emergency services and complaints
  • Ask questions to interpret, analyze and anticipate the caller?s situation as to resolve problems, provide information, dispatch emergency services, or refer callers to other agencies
  • Dispatch and coordinate the responses of public safety agencies
  • Identify appropriate number and type of equipment or apparatus to dispatch
  • Enters and modifies information into local, state and national computer databases
  • Monitor and respond to a variety of technical systems and alarms

Job Growth

Oklahoma's largest cities continue to enjoy record population growth, prompting the need for increasing numbers of 911 operators. For example, the Oklahoma City metro area continued its seven-year streak of large population increases in 2017, gaining 11,274 residents between 2016 and 2017.

Reflecting this growth, the Oklahoma Wage Network reported a total of 2,000 911 dispatchers in the state in 2016; by 2026, this number is projected to increase to 2,250 ? an increase of 12.5%.

Minimum Requirements for Employment

For most emergency dispatcher positions, candidates must be at least 18 years old, and they must possess a high school diploma or GED. Many agencies require dispatchers to possess a valid driver?s license and to not have any felony convictions.

Candidates for these positions must also expect to undergo a background investigation that meets all local, state and federal requirements, as well as a polygraph examination, drug screen, and physical examination, which may include both a vision and hearing test. This type of pre-employment testing is usually completed before a job offer is extended.

Another minimum requirement for employment for a 911 dispatcher includes the completion of a comprehensive training program during the first year of employment. This often includes classroom training and extensive, on-the-job training.

CPR certification may also be required.

Career Progression

Dispatcher I, Dispatcher II, Dispatcher III (supervisory). A career as a police officer might be a next step.


The median annual salary for 911 operators in Oklahoma is $29,900/$14.38, with the top 10% earning $46,410. Dispatchers working in Oklahoma City and Tulsa earn more than the state average.

Oklahoma City includes the University of Oklahoma Police Department, Edmond Central Communications, Oklahoma University Health Sciences Center Police Department, Oklahoma County Sheriff?s Office, and the Oklahoma City Police Department.

Tulsa includes Tulsa Public Safety Response Center-county and Osage County Enhanced 9-1-1. (information for this article taken from and


Last Modified on Mar 09, 2023