Program Overview

emergency tele communicator students

Emergency Dispatch Services is a two track program offered over three consecutive terms. Students will complete a 49-50 credit hour curriculum. All ETC students will take the same courses fall and winter terms. Based upon academic performance and skills assessment students will enroll in either the 911 track or the Service Dispatch track for their third term. The 911 track consists of 50 credits and requires passing the CRITICALL computer-based testing program with a total score of 75% and passing ETC 110 and ETC 111, the 911 simulation labs with a grade of “C” or better. The Service Dispatch track consists of 49 credits and will emphasize computer skills and customer service in the third term. Students in both tracks will have the opportunity to sit for the International Academies of Emergency Dispatch – Basic Telecommunicator Certificate exam.

Service Dispatch Track

A service dispatcher works in a call center environment, receiving calls from customers, clients, agencies and other entities requiring specific services. Most of these call centers deal with assistance or service requests. Job duties include scheduling appointment, providing information or referrals, monitoring and dispatching service providers using radio, telephone or a computer-assisted dispatch system. Service dispatchers input data into computer systems designed to schedule appointments, provide trouble-shooting advice, recommend equipment upgrades, route calls to specialists or schedule appointments for field service providers and calculate billing information. Many service dispatch positions also require response to urgent or time-sensitive problems, such as power failures, water supply issues, equipment failures, traffic accidents or other transportation issues. Service dispatchers may handle emergency situations, including medical emergencies and environmental problems effecting specific locations or large geographic areas. Call centers can service a small area, such as a town or county, or large geographical areas, such as, multiple states.

Service dispatchers must have excellent customer service skills, keyboarding skills and be able to collect and record data in a quick and efficient manner in sometimes stressful situations. They must possess problem-solving and critical thinking abilities, function independently, or as part of a team. Many services provide support to law enforcement, the fire service or emergency medical service - examples of these services are: roadside assistance/towing companies, various utilities, hospitals, mental-health providers, legal services and both public and private organizations.

panorama view of the training lab

911 Simulation Lab

Emergency Telecommunicator: 911 Dispatcher Track

An Emergency 911 dispatcher receives information from the public and from emergency services personnel (police, fire and medical), at a public safety answering point (PSAP), commonly referred to as a 911 Center. The job involves the operation of complex communication equipment; including computer integrated multi-channel radios, VOIP multi-line telephone systems, computer aided dispatch software, geographical databases and mapping systems. A variety of both emergency and non-emergency calls are handled and routed or dispatched to appropriate field personnel. The dispatcher must have a thorough knowledge of local geography, an understanding of personal needs, equipment usage and resource allocation. Also required are; problem solving and decision making skills, with minimum supervision, and within the constraints of departmental policy and procedures. TeleCommunicators must keep accurate records of communications received and transmitted, maintain a constant status of all field operations and be able to perform simultaneous functions. TeleCommunicators must respect the individual’s right to privacy and maintain strict confidentiality of sensitive information.

The Emergency TeleCommunicator Program is supported by local 911 centers and private agencies. This three-term certificate is designed to teach the technical skills needed to perform successfully in emergency telecommunications. The PCC certificate program has been developed cooperatively with the 911 dispatch centers in the Portland metropolitan area and has served as a model for new programs throughout the United States. The program is supported by an advisory committee made up of emergency services managers, supervisors, trainers and dispatchers. Additional state approved certifications may be obtained through the program, such as, inquiry level Law Enforcement Data System (LEDS) training, International Academies of Emergency Dispatch (IAED) Basic TeleCommunicator certification, and an overview of Critical Incident Stress Management (CISM).

Some course work within the Emergency TeleCommunicator 911 Program can be applied toward an Associate of General Studies degree. Students wishing to apply for a General Studies Associate degree should consult an academic advisor. Classes are taught by professionals in the field of emergency services and public safety communications. Students observe 911 center operations during the training and work with professional TeleCommunicators in the simulation lab.

Completion of the ETC application is required to obtain department permission prior to enrollment.

Public and private sector organizations in the service dispatch industry who are interested in continuing education training courses are encouraged to contact the ETC department. We can provide general and specialized, in-service courses and seminars to meet the needs of your professional staff.


Course of Study

Employment Prospects

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