Career Information

Benefits include 2 weeks' paid vacation, 14 paid holidays, enrollment in the County Employees Retirement Fund, and two matching deferred compensation plans. Other benefits include 100% County paid or low-cost employee health insurance premium options, 100% County paid employee dental premiums, subsidized dependent premiums, and County paid long-term disability and life insurance. Boone County is a Public Service Loan Forgiveness Qualifying Employer.

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Salary Range

Frequency Start Training Complete Training Maximum
Hourly $19.17 $20.64 $29.14
Bi-weekly $1,533.60 $1,651.20 $2,331.20
Annual $39,873.60 $42,931.20 $60,611.20

  • Additional $1.00 per hour shift differential for evening and night shift employees and all employees working weekends or holidays.
  • Overtime at 1 ½ times hourly wage for hours worked beyond 40 hours in each week.

Application Process

The application process is handled by Boone County Human Resources. You may apply online, download a PDF application to fill out and mail, or apply in person at 613 East Ash Street, Columbia, Missouri 65201.  Call (573) 886-4395 or (573) 554-1000 if you have questions. Please call in advance if special accommodations are required to apply.

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Applicant Selection Process

911 Dispatcher (Emergency Telecommunicator) is an entry level position. The recruitment process for 911 Dispatcher is a lengthy process, requiring commitment and follow-through of the applicant. After applying for employment, the selection process is as follows:

CritiCall Testing

Applicants who meet the basic job requirements are invited to take part in this computer-based test. This test measures various skills such as multitasking, reading comprehension, and typing skills of prospective applicants.

Oral Board Interviews

Upon successful completion of the CritiCall Test, applicants are invited to be interviewed. Applicants will interview face-to-face with a panel of at least three Communications Dispatchers. Applicants will be asked several questions to determine their relevant experience and qualifications for the position.

Background Investigation

Applicants who successfully complete the interview process will begin the background portion of recruitment. Applicants will be subjected to a complete law enforcement background check including reference and criminal history checks. This background process is critical to determining an applicant's qualifications for the position.

Conditional Job Offer

Applicants who successfully complete the hiring and recruitment process will be issued a conditional offer of employment as a 911 Dispatcher (Emergency Telecommunicator) Trainee. This is a paid probationary position within Boone County Joint Communications, totaling 12 months in length and requires successful completion of the Basic Dispatch Academy and Communications Training Program during that time.

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What to Expect Upon Hire

Upon being offered a conditional offer of employment as a 911 Dispatcher (Emergency Telecommunicator) Trainee, Trainees are required to take part in several phases of training during their probationary period.

Basic Dispatch Academy

Boone County Joint Communications offers its Trainees an in-house training academy experience. The purpose of the Academy is to teach Trainees the fundamentals of 911 call-taking, and law enforcement, fire, and EMS dispatch. The academy is eight weeks in length, Monday through Friday, and challenges the Trainee with an intensive academic schedule. Trainees receive instruction daily on curriculum ranging from law enforcement, fire, and EMS procedures and policy to operation of the department's computer-aided dispatch (CAD) system, 911 telephone system, mapping, and radio console equipment. Trainees also receive certification from the International Academies of Emergency Dispatch (IAED) as Emergency Telecommunicators (ETC), Emergency Medical Dispatchers (EMD), Emergency Fire Dispatchers (EFD) and Emergency Police Dispatchers (EPD).

Trainees are tested almost daily and expected to maintain a minimum passing score of 80% in all categories. To successfully graduate, Trainees must complete the Academy's combined final and practical examination. Trainees are tested for their ability to retain knowledge accumulated throughout the Academy and successfully demonstrate their ability to manipulate the computer-aided dispatch system and other equipment while processing information.

Communication Training Officer Phase

Upon successful completion of the Dispatch Academy, Trainee's enter the Communications Training Officer (CTO) phase of training. The CTO phase is approximately thirty-two weeks.

Trainees are assigned a CTO who monitors, instructs, and evaluates the Trainees progress throughout the CTO phase. This process allows the Trainee the ability to put into play the skills and knowledge learned during the Dispatch Academy. This phase is carried out in the 911 center providing the Trainee the ability to handle active emergencies both while answering telephone calls and handling radio traffic.

Trainees are evaluated daily on their progress during the CTO phase. As Trainees progress and begin to demonstrate competence in several evaluated areas, they are provided sign-off at various positions within the 911 center. Once Trainees have completed the CTO phase of training they will be allowed to work independently as a 911 Dispatcher.

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Work Schedule

While in the classroom phase of training, trainees generally work Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Occasionally these hours may vary due to instructor availability.

Training during the Communications Training Officer Phase occurs on an assigned eight-hour shift that may include day, evening, or midnight hours. Time off generally rotates on a four-day-on, two-day-off schedule and includes occasional weekends off.

Once released from training, 911 Dispatchers are assigned to one of the following shifts at the department's discretion: 7am-3pm, 11am-7pm, 3pm-11pm, 7pm-3am or 11pm-7am. Time off generally rotates on a four-day-on, two-day-off schedule and includes occasional weekends off. Shift assignments are for one year and are assigned based on seniority.

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Frequently Asked Employment Questions

Why does someone choose to become a 911 Dispatcher?

Here are some quotes provided by our 911 Dispatchers:

  • "Every day provides new challenges"
  • "Lots of variety"
  • "Many times, exciting and exhilarating"
  • "Great team environment"
  • "Personally satisfying"
  • "I feel good about what I do here"

Is the job of 911 Dispatcher stressful?

At times, yes. However, you will be taught how to handle 911 emergency calls both from the citizen (who needs help) and to the responder (fire, police, and medical services). Once these skills are developed and you gain experience, your stress will be greatly reduced.

What kind of educational background and previous job experience is necessary to become a 911 Dispatcher?

The minimum education requirements are a high school education or GED with some job experience, preferably employment where you have had some direct customer contact (example: restaurant, customer service, or a retail store).

What skills are necessary to become a 911 Dispatcher?

  • strong work ethic
  • desire to help others
  • excellent communication skills
  • ability to provide excellent customer service
  • ability to multi-task in a fast paced and dynamic environment
  • good short-term memory and common sense
  • strong keyboarding and computer skills

Are applicants expected to know how to run all the electronic dispatch equipment?

No. We have a comprehensive training program to teach you all you need to know about how to use the equipment and how to interact with the 911 caller. Our program teaches you many new skills and, at the same time, helps sharpen skills you already have.

Are 911 Dispatchers required to be bilingual?

No, being bilingual is not required but if you have the skills mentioned above and are bilingual then you should definitely apply.

Are applicants hired for specific shifts?

No. The shift ultimately assigned to a 911 Dispatcher (after training) will depend on which shift has a need at that time. Therefore, applicants must be able to work any assigned shift, which includes day, evening, and midnight hours.

Is training only day shift hours?

Classroom training is typically Monday-Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., but there are some required courses that run from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Field training occurs on an assigned shift, which includes day, evening, and midnight hours.

Are applications accepted from people who have worked for another emergency service agency?

Absolutely! Call us at (573) 554-1000 or apply online.

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