Harper College

Public Safety Dispatcher Certificate

This 6 credit-hour program curriculum is based on NFPA National Fire Protection Association Standard 1061.

This certificate meets the requirements of:

  • Illinois Law Enforcement Training and Standards Board (ILETSB)
  • Public Safety Dispatcher minimum standards
  • Association of Police Communications Officers (APCO) Project 25
  • Public Safety Dispatcher minimum standards
  • National Fire Protection Association NFPA 1061 Public Safety Dispatcher job requirement

9-1-1 StarZ III Simulator Training

Gain specific knowledge required to successfully handle emergency calls by training on the 9-1-1 StarZ III simulator. By working with Harper's state-of-the-art equipment, you'll learn though experiential situations that re-create the real world environment of an emergency communicator.

Demand for Skilled Professionals

The need for qualified public safety dispatchers is more important than ever. Jobs are expected to grow 6% in the future.

Strong Starting Salary

Area communications centers hire at starting salaries of about $40,000 plus full benefits (March 2009). And with some experience, you could be earning up to $70,000 a year.

Our Grads Say...

Alexandra Cardenas is a 911 Dispatcher for the Northwest Central Dispatch System. Alexandra graduated from the Harper College Public Safety Dispatch program in 2013. She shares her story:

I went into the Public Safety Dispatcher program at Harper College not knowing what to expect. I didn’t have previous law enforcement or paramedic training and I hadn’t even looked into being a 911 dispatcher before.

The program is great for someone, like me, with no experience because it outlines how the job works, gives you a background on how the police and fire departments work and is realistic about what characteristics you need to have in order to be a successful dispatcher.

Thanks to this program, I had certain advantages over other applicants entering this field. I left the program knowing what to expect when applying to dispatch centers. The Harper instructors helped me build my resume and I stood out from other applicants. I was able to put several NIMS certifications, usually necessary for centers I was applying to, on my resume, as well as the instructors’ names as references, which helped break the ice in some face-to-face interviews. I was hired by Northwest Central Dispatch within a year of finishing the program. I believe I would not have gotten the job without this certificate. I recommend this program to anyone looking to go into the public safety dispatch field.

Alexandra CardenasAlexandra Cardenas
911 Dispatcher, Northwest Central Dispatch System
Harper College Public Safety Dispatch, Class of 2013

Last Updated: 4/8/24