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Career Profile: Public Safety Telecommunicators

Operate telephone, radio, or other communication systems to receive and communicate requests for emergency assistance at 9-1-1 public safety answering points and emergency operations centers. Take information from the public and other sources regarding crimes, threats, disturbances, acts of terrorism, fires, medical emergencies, and other public safety matters. May coordinate and provide information to law enforcement and emergency response personnel. May access sensitive databases and other information sources as needed. May provide additional instructions to callers based on knowledge of and certification in law enforcement, fire, or emergency medical procedures.

Salary and Outlook

According to the US Department of Labor, there are 99,500 people employed as public safety telecommunicators in the United States. The median annual salary is $46,670. Entry level employees earn approximately $29,340 per year and senior employees earn approximately $63,940 per year.

Estimates do not include other potential benefits such as health insurance, overtime pay, or retirement benefits that may be offered by employers.

Job Duties

  • Monitor various radio frequencies, such as those used by public works departments, school security, and civil defense, to stay apprised of developing situations.
  • Read and effectively interpret small-scale maps and information from a computer screen to determine locations and provide directions.
  • Maintain files of information relating to emergency calls, such as personnel rosters and emergency call-out and pager files.
  • Question callers to determine their locations and the nature of their problems to determine type of response needed.
  • Determine response requirements and relative priorities of situations, and dispatch units in accordance with established procedures.
  • Record details of calls, dispatches, and messages.
  • Scan status charts and computer screens, and contact emergency response field units to determine emergency units available for dispatch.
  • Receive incoming telephone or alarm system calls regarding emergency and non-emergency police and fire service, emergency ambulance service, information, and after-hours calls for departments within a city.
  • Enter, update, and retrieve information from teletype networks and computerized data systems regarding such things as wanted persons, stolen property, vehicle registration, and stolen vehicles.
  • Relay information and messages to and from emergency sites, to law enforcement agencies, and to all other individuals or groups requiring notification.
  • Observe alarm registers and scan maps to determine whether a specific emergency is in the dispatch service area.
  • Maintain access to, and security of, highly sensitive materials.
  • Learn material and pass required tests for certification.
  • Answer routine inquiries, and refer calls not requiring dispatches to appropriate departments and agencies.
  • Provide emergency medical instructions to callers.
  • Operate and maintain mobile dispatch vehicles and equipment.
  • Monitor alarm systems to detect emergencies, such as fires and illegal entry into establishments.
  • Test and adjust communication and alarm systems, and report malfunctions to maintenance units.

Career List

Job Outlook


Total Current Jobs:
99,500
Annual Openings:
10,900
Increase in Openings by 2031:
4%
Annual Salary Range:
$29,340 - $63,940
Education Requirements:
High school diploma