Portland Community College | Portland, Oregon

Working to Save Lives

Prior to the existence of a 911 Emergency Dispatch system, how did police, fire, and hospitals respond to emergencies? Citizens dialed the operator, but telephone operators had no training. Callers were sometimes transferred to the wrong towns, or worse, callers couldn't find the correct local emergency number. Since 1968, when the first 911 call was made, the usefulness of the emergency dispatcher system both nationally and locally has shown to be indispensable and has saved countless lives.

In the United States, call centers receive at least half a million 911 calls per year. Aside from handling the volume, how do dispatchers know whom to contact, how to contact, or if they should escalate the response to a higher level, such as contacting police, fire, or medical responders? The answer is simple. A 911 dispatcher knows whom to contact, how to remain calm, and when to take the call to the next level because of training. You can learn the skills and techniques necessary to help save lives in our Emergency TeleCommunicator (911) program.


The Emergency Tele Communicator / 911 Dispatcher program offers career training for entry-level positions in the emergency communication field. The sequenced course work meets the National Academy of Emergency Dispatch (NAED) basic telecommunication course, resulting in a nationally recognized training certificate.

Our emergency telecommunication program offers career training for entry-level positions in the emergency communication field.

  • One-Year Certificate: Emergency TeleCommunicator/911 Dispatcher
  • One-Year Certificate: Emergency TeleCommunicator/Service Dispatcher

Local Resources, National Standards

While training is provided in basic dispatching, our program also features several other related classes that offer you the ability to hone your skills of crisis management and communications. The benefit is that you gain the supplementary human relations skills you need to address emergencies while also learning functional skills. Our program has exemplary standards. It has served as a model for new telecommunicator programs in Washington, Arizona, Tennessee, Iowa, Georgia and Texas.

What's Next?

Emergency 911 program flag

Before entry into the program, students must:

  1. Show COMPASS exam scores with placement into WR 115 and basic keyboarding skills equivalent to 25 WPM. See College Placement Tests for more information.
  2. Complete an application (available online or at the Emergency Services Department, Cascade PSEB 133.)
  3. Arrange an advising appointment with a program advisor.
  4. Pass the Criminal History Background check.
  5. Apply for admission to PCC.

If you have questions about any of these steps, please contact us: 971-722-5424