Written by Bret Batchelor, 9-1-1 Training Coordinator
I’m disappointed in the staffing crisis facing most 9-1-1 centers in America because I have sat in the seat and heard the calling. Unfortunately, negativity spreads faster that the positive and the position of a 9-1-1 telecommunicator has gotten a bad rap. I would like to adjust our perspective when recruiting for this career. Let’s focus on the positives, and there are a lot of them. We are starting to see the changing of the guard in our Emergency Communication Centers. These new faces at the console will help shape the next generation of 9-1-1 telecommunicators as they rise to the challenge of serving our communities.
Working as a 9-1-1 telecommunicator is such a vital position and it can become an important career. However, it begins as an entry level job. The good part about this is you don’t need any specific education beyond a high school diploma, and it doesn’t require an advanced skill set to start. You can graduate high school with no prior experience and start in a career making a decent salary with good benefits including city/county retirement. With opportunities for advancement and career growth this is just the beginning.
Are you a morning person, late night person, or do you enjoy the in between? Perfect! The career of public safety gives you the flexibility to choose what is best for your life and have variety from day one of your career. Imagine you complete your work shift at 10 P.M., go hang out with your friends all night, sleep until noon and you don’t have to report back to work until 2 P.M.? Does that sound like something you would enjoy? There are many options with many different schedules available. The unique nature of shift work and changing schedules often allows variety. Whether you are trying to attend college while working or accommodating a family schedule, shift work provides you with options. Working overnights most of my career allowed me to be off duty during the day to sleep, shop, and run errands all alone while everyone else was working. With days off during the week, I was able to go to the movies, theme parks and enjoy activities that are normally busy on the weekends. Also, no lines and often even enjoyed a discount.
Each call can bring you something different. In a society where we are glued to our devices to stay engaged and entertained, this field WILL keep your attention. Every shift brings new adventures and experiences. The rush of the vehicle pursuit, providing that lifesaving instruction, delivering a baby, coordinating a location perimeter for a tactical incident, and handling a huge fire call can all be very exciting, but you will also get the simple and even silly calls. In fact, all those types of calls could come in the same day. The rush of the unknown and thrill of each task can be truly addicting. You may never want to take the headset off!
In the seat as a 9-1-1 telecommunicator, you play the role of the ‘oracle’ for the first responders. You are not just fulfilling each request from customers (citizens and first responders) but also anticipating those needs before they are made. As a 9-1-1 telecommunicator, we are not just on the phone or radio, we are with callers and responders ‘on scene’, helping them navigate each scenario anyway you can. The goal is to keep our citizens safe and make sure every first responder goes home each night. It is exciting to be able to have access to all the ‘important’ information, and to be on the side that really knows what is happening. 9-1-1 telecommunicators are an important link of the chain that helps get the bad guys, helps those in need or uncovers the missing pieces.
Joining the field of public safety has never been more exciting! We are on the cutting edge of technological advancements and the new generation of 9-1-1 telecommunicators will start to shape the future of our industry. To have the opportunity to get in on the ground floor as this industry continues to grow exponentially is incredible. We are seeing advancement in this field like never before.
Are you an adrenaline junkie?
Do you love the variety of spice in your career daily?
Do you love solving puzzles and overcoming challenges and drama?
Do you like calling the shots?
Do you want to know every day when you go home you are making a difference?
If you answer yes to those questions, then you need to think about joining the 9-1-1 telecommunicators family and becoming part of the Thin Gold Line. Apply here to saves lives and make a difference today! You can find all of the open positions at our 9-1-1 Emergency Call Centers here: https://www.nct911.org/work-for-an-ecc/.