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Top 11 911 Operator Certifications

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Brenna Goyette
Certified Professional Resume Writer, Career Expert

Updated 17 min read

Certifications are important for 911 operators in the job market because they demonstrate a level of expertise and knowledge that employers are looking for when hiring. Certifications provide assurance to employers that the candidate has the necessary skills and qualifications to perform the job properly. They can also show potential employers that an operator is up-to-date on industry standards and best practices, which makes them more desirable as an applicant. Additionally, certifications can help operators stand out from other applicants, giving them a competitive edge in the job market.

The article reviews top certifications for 911 Operators and explains how they can contribute to a 911 operator's career.

What are 911 Operator Certifications?

911 operator certification is a program designed to prepare individuals for the job of a 911 operator. This certification includes specialized training in emergency management, communication skills, and general public safety procedures. The certification provides 911 operators with the knowledge and skills necessary to respond quickly and effectively to emergency calls. It also helps them understand the importance of proper communication when dealing with distressed callers.

The 911 operator certification program covers topics such as incident management, radio communications, legal requirements, customer service skills, and stress management. It also provides instruction on how to handle various types of emergencies such as medical emergencies, fires, hazardous materials spills, natural disasters, and terrorist threats. Upon completion of the coursework, individuals must pass an exam in order to receive their certification.

Having 911 operator certification can be beneficial for those looking for employment as a 911 operator or dispatcher. It demonstrates that they have received the necessary training and are prepared to handle emergency situations efficiently and effectively while providing compassionate care to distressed callers. The certification can also help employees advance within their organization or even move up in other organizations if they so desire.

Pro Tip: Make sure to research the requirements for 911 operator certification in your state, as they can vary from place to place. Additionally, it is important to understand that certifications need to be renewed periodically in order to remain valid.

Related: What does a 911 Operator do?

Top 11 911 Operator Certifications

Here’s our list of the best certifications available to 911 Operators today.

1. National Emergency Number Association (NENA) Certified Public Safety Telecommunicator (CPST)

The National Emergency Number Association (NENA) Certified Public Safety Telecommunicator (CPST) is a certification program for public safety telecommunicators. It is designed to recognize the knowledge and skills of individuals who work in the field of public safety communications. The CPST certification is a voluntary program that requires successful completion of an examination, which covers topics such as emergency call-taking, radio and telephone operations, dispatch protocols, customer service, and stress management.

It typically takes about three months to complete the requirements for the CPST certification. This includes studying for and passing the exam, completing an online application form, and submitting all necessary documents and fees.

To get started on the path to becoming a NENA Certified Public Safety Telecommunicator (CPST), you must first meet certain eligibility requirements. These requirements include having at least one year of full-time experience in public safety communications or its equivalent; being employed by a public safety agency or organization; having successfully completed a NENA approved training program; and possessing current CPR/AED/First Aid certifications. Once you have met these requirements, you can apply for the CPST exam through NENA's website.

The cost of taking the CPST exam varies depending on whether you are a member of NENA or not. For non-members, it costs $150 to take the exam; for members it costs $125. There may also be additional fees associated with submitting your application form and other documents required for certification.

2. National Academies of Emergency Dispatch (NAED) Certified Telecommunicator

The National Academies of Emergency Dispatch (NAED) Certified Telecommunicator (CT) is a professional certification program that recognizes the knowledge and skills of emergency dispatchers. It is designed to ensure that telecommunicators have the necessary training and experience to provide high-quality service when responding to emergency calls. The CT certification is a voluntary process, but many agencies require their telecommunicators to obtain the certification in order to work in the field.

It typically takes between three and six months to complete the requirements for NAED Certified Telecommunicator (CT) Certification. To become certified, you must first complete an approved training course. This course covers topics such as call taking, dispatch procedures, radio operations, customer service, and more. After completing the course, you must pass an exam administered by NAED.

To get started with the NAED Certified Telecommunicator Certification process, you will need to find an approved training provider and register for a class. The cost of this varies depending on the provider and can range from $200-$800 USD. Additionally, there may be additional fees associated with taking the exam or obtaining additional certifications through NAED.

Once you have completed your training course and passed your exam, you will receive your official NAED Certified Telecommunicator Certificate from NAED within four weeks of passing your exam.

3. International Academies of Emergency Dispatch (IAED) Certified Telecommunicator

The International Academies of Emergency Dispatch (IAED) Certified Telecommunicator is a certification program developed by the IAED to recognize telecommunicators who demonstrate knowledge and proficiency in emergency dispatch. The certification is based on the IAED's National Academy Standards, which are designed to ensure that dispatchers have the skills and knowledge necessary to effectively manage emergency calls.

The certification process consists of two parts: an online course and an exam. The online course covers topics such as call-taking techniques, call prioritization, basic medical triage, communication strategies, and legal issues related to emergency dispatch. After completing the online course, applicants must pass a written exam with a score of 80% or higher in order to be certified.

The cost of the certification program varies depending on the country where it is being taken. In the United States, the cost is $350 USD for both the online course and exam. The total time required for completion depends on how quickly you can complete the online course; however, most people can complete it within two weeks if they dedicate enough time each day.

To get started with this certification program, applicants should visit the IAED website and register for an account. Once registered, applicants will be able to access all of the necessary materials for completing the program including study guides, practice exams, and other resources.

4. Association of Public-Safety Communications Officials (APCO) Project 33 Certification

The Association of Public-Safety Communications Officials (APCO) Project 33 Certification is a professional certification program that recognizes the expertise and knowledge of public safety communications personnel. It is designed to validate the skills and abilities of emergency communications professionals in the United States.

In order to become certified, applicants must pass an exam that covers topics such as emergency call handling, radio operations, dispatch protocols, and other related topics. The exam consists of multiple choice questions and typically takes three hours to complete. Applicants must also complete a minimum of 16 hours of continuing education credits every two years in order to maintain their certification status.

To get APCO Project 33 Certification, applicants must first register for the exam with APCO International. After registering, applicants will receive an authorization letter from APCO which will provide instructions on how to schedule their exam at a local testing center. The cost for the exam is $175 USD and it can take up to four weeks for results to be available after taking the test.

5. APCO Project 25 Certification

APCO Project 25 (P25) Certification is an international standard for public safety digital radio communications. It is designed to ensure interoperability between different manufacturers’ radios and systems, enabling agencies to communicate with each other in emergency situations. This certification requires that a product meets the requirements of the P25 standard, which includes testing for performance, interoperability, security, and reliability.

The certification process can take several months to complete. The first step is to submit an application form and pay the associated fee. Next, the manufacturer will need to provide test results from their laboratory or a third-party laboratory showing that their product meets all of the requirements of the P25 standard. Once these tests are completed successfully, the manufacturer will receive a certificate of compliance from APCO International.

The cost of obtaining P25 Certification varies depending on the manufacturer and type of product being certified. Generally speaking, it can range anywhere from $1,000 - $10,000 per product.

In addition to obtaining certification for individual products, manufacturers may also need to obtain system certification if they plan on selling multiple products together as part of an integrated system solution. System certification requires additional testing and fees beyond those required for individual product certifications.

6. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) General Radio Operator License

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) General Radio Operator License (GROL) is a license that allows individuals to operate certain types of radio equipment. It is required for any individual who wishes to operate, maintain, or repair radios and other communications devices used in the maritime, aviation, and land-mobile services. The GROL is also required for anyone who works on radar systems and navigational aids.

It typically takes about four weeks to receive a GROL after an application has been submitted. To get a GROL, an individual must first pass two tests: the Element 1 written exam and the Element 3 practical exam. The Element 1 exam covers basic radio theory and regulations related to radio operation while the Element 3 exam tests an individual's ability to use radio equipment correctly.

The cost of obtaining a GROL varies depending on the testing center, but generally ranges from $50-$100 for both exams combined. Additionally, there may be additional fees associated with submitting an application or taking practice exams prior to taking the official tests.

7. National Incident Management System (NIMS) ICS 100, 200, 700 and 800 Training

National Incident Management System (NIMS) ICS 100, 200, 700 and 800 Training is a series of courses developed by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to provide emergency responders with the necessary knowledge and skills to effectively manage incidents. The course covers topics such as incident command structure, resource management, and multi-agency coordination. It also provides guidance on how to develop an incident action plan and how to use the NIMS Incident Command System (ICS).

The NIMS ICS 100, 200, 700 and 800 Training courses are available online through FEMA’s website. Each course takes approximately two hours to complete. Upon completion of each course, participants receive a certificate of completion from FEMA. There is no cost associated with taking the training courses.

8. CPR & First Aid Certification

CPR (Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation) and First Aid Certification is a certification that is obtained after completing a course in CPR and first aid. The certification is valid for two years and must be renewed every two years.

How long does it take to get it?

The amount of time needed to complete the course depends on the type of course taken. Generally, an online CPR/First Aid Certification course can be completed within 1-2 hours, while an in-person course may require 4-6 hours.

How to get it?

In order to obtain CPR/First Aid Certification, you must complete a certified training program. Online courses are available from various providers, as well as in-person courses offered by local organizations such as the American Red Cross or American Heart Association.

How much does it cost?

The cost of obtaining CPR/First Aid Certification depends on which provider you choose and whether you take an online or in-person course. Generally, online courses range from $25-$50, while in-person courses range from $50-$100.

9. Crisis Intervention Training

Crisis Intervention Training (CIT) is a specialized training program designed to help law enforcement officers, mental health professionals, and other first responders effectively respond to people experiencing a mental health crisis. CIT focuses on de-escalation techniques and communication strategies to help individuals in crisis receive the care they need.

The length of CIT training varies depending on the program, but typically takes between 40-80 hours of instruction over several days or weeks. There are many different organizations that offer CIT training programs, including the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP), and American Psychiatric Association (APA).

To get Crisis Intervention Training, you will need to contact one of these organizations or your local police department for more information about their specific program. The cost of CIT also varies depending on the organization and type of course you choose. Generally speaking, most courses range from $200-$500 per person.

10. Basic Computer Skills Training

Basic Computer Skills Training is a type of training that teaches individuals how to use computers and other digital devices. It covers topics such as basic computer operations, file management, internet navigation, word processing, spreadsheets, and presentation software. The length of the course depends on the complexity of the topics covered and the level of expertise required. Generally speaking, it can take anywhere from one day to several weeks to complete a basic computer skills training program.

Individuals can get basic computer skills training through a variety of sources including online courses, in-person classes at local colleges or universities, or even through private tutoring sessions. Online courses are often the most convenient way to get this type of training since they can be completed at any time and from any location with an internet connection. In-person classes are also available at many colleges and universities across the country and usually require more commitment than online courses since they involve attending lectures and completing assignments onsite. Private tutoring sessions are typically more expensive than other options but provide personalized instruction tailored to an individual’s specific needs.

The cost of basic computer skills training varies depending on the source used for instruction. Online courses typically range from free to a few hundred dollars while in-person classes may cost up to several thousand dollars depending on their duration and complexity. Private tutoring sessions will also vary in price depending on the instructor’s experience level and availability.

11. Mental Health First Aid Certification

Mental Health First Aid Certification is a program designed to help individuals recognize and respond to signs of mental health issues in others. It is an 8-hour course that teaches participants how to identify, understand, and respond to signs of mental illnesses and substance use disorders. The course covers topics such as depression, anxiety, trauma, psychosis, and addiction. Participants learn the risk factors and warning signs of mental health problems, strategies for how to help someone in both crisis and non-crisis situations, where to turn for help when professional assistance is needed, and more.

The Mental Health First Aid Certification course typically takes eight hours to complete. The cost of the certification varies depending on the provider; however, it generally costs between $100-$200 USD. To get certified, individuals must attend an accredited Mental Health First Aid training session with a qualified instructor. After completing the coursework and passing the exam with a score of 80% or higher, individuals will receive their certification card which is valid for three years.

Do You Really Need a 911 Operator Certificate?

Yes, if you are planning to become a 911 operator, it is important that you obtain a 911 Operator Certificate. A 911 Operator Certificate is an official document issued by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) which certifies that an individual has met all of the requirements necessary to work as a 911 operator. The FCC requires that all individuals who wish to become certified must have at least one year of experience in emergency communications or emergency services and must pass a comprehensive exam.

The certificate is important because it demonstrates that an individual has the knowledge, skills and abilities necessary to safely and effectively operate emergency communications systems. It also shows employers that an applicant is serious about this career field and has taken the time to acquire the necessary training and certification needed for success as a 911 operator.

In addition, obtaining a 911 Operator Certificate can be beneficial for those seeking advancement in their current job or looking for new career opportunities. Having this certification can demonstrate to potential employers that you possess the qualifications necessary for more advanced roles within emergency communications systems.

Overall, having a 911 Operator Certificate is essential if you want to pursue this career field. It helps ensure that you are properly trained and qualified to provide vital support during times of crisis.

Related: 911 Operator Resume Examples

FAQs About 911 Operator Certifications

1. What is a 911 Operator Certification?

Answer: A 911 Operator Certification is a professional credential that verifies an individual's knowledge and skills in operating 911 systems, providing emergency medical and fire dispatch services, and communicating with callers.

2. How do I get certified as a 911 Operator?

Answer: To become certified as a 911 Operator, you must complete an approved training program and pass the certification exam administered by your state or local government.

3. What are the requirements to become a 911 Operator?

Answer: Requirements to become a 911 Operator vary by state or local government, but typically include being of legal age (18+), having legal authorization to work in the US, passing background checks, having basic computer skills, and completing an approved training program.

4. How long does it take to become certified as a 911 Operator?

Answer: The length of time it takes to become certified as a 911 operator depends on the state or local government requirements and your personal situation; however, it typically takes several weeks or months to complete all required steps and obtain certification.

5. Are there continuing education requirements for maintaining my certification?

Answer: Yes, many states require that you complete continuing education courses every year in order to maintain your certification as a 911 operator.

Editorial staff

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Brenna Goyette

Expert Verified

Brenna is a certified professional resume writer, career expert, and the content manager of the ResumeCat team. She has a background in corporate recruiting and human resources and has been writing resumes for over 10 years. Brenna has experience in recruiting for tech, finance, and marketing roles and has a passion for helping people find their dream jobs. She creates expert resources to help job seekers write the best resumes and cover letters, land the job, and succeed in the workplace.

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