Emergency Medical Dispatcher Education Requirements and Career Info

Emergency Medical Dispatchers (EMDs) answer emergency medical calls and are trained to assess the situation, instruct the caller in basic lifesaving procedures and prioritize medical response personnel. Certification and education requirements for EMDs vary by state, but specialized training is necessary.

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Emergency Medical Dispatcher Education Requirements

To work as an emergency medical dispatcher (EMD) or a 911 operator, a student must complete training that meets the standards of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Students can find such programs at community colleges, vocational schools and private training academies. Graduates of an EMD training program are eligible to sit for the National Academies of Emergency Dispatch (NAED) certification exam.

Coursework

An EMD training program typically takes two or three semesters to complete. EMD courses teach students how to obtain information from agitated callers, give the caller medical instructions before the units arrive, read guide cards, prioritize response personnel and manage stress. Students also learn about national and state regulations for EMDs, anatomy, physiology and ethical and legal issues for EMDs.

They learn how to send the correct number and type of units to an emergency and how to use a system of priority dispatch, which may consist of computers, telephone system (multi-line) and two-way radios. Many EMD programs either include CPR training or require it as a prerequisite.

Continuing Education

To maintain certification, the NAED requires EMDs to complete 24 hours of continuing education training every two years. In addition, NAED offers advanced EMD training through local 3-day seminars

Career Info

EMDs work irregular hours in call center-type settings. They may work for the highway patrol in their state, ambulance services or emergency medical services.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics found that the median wage of EMDs was $34,790 annually in 2009. Payscale.com states that median salary for an EMD was about $51,394 per year (as of June 2010), but is dependent on location, experience and employer. EMDs find career advancement through extended training to become EMD managers, instructors and systems analysts.

According to the NAED-approved course materials, stress levels for EMDs are extremely high. Recognizing and managing stress is a priority for EMDs.

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Popular Schools

  • Minimum eligibility requirements:
    • Must be a high school graduate or have completed GED
    • Eligibility and relevancy of sample programs below will vary by article and program
    School locations:
    • Online Learning
    • Arizona (3 campuses)
    • California (16)
    • Colorado (3)
    • Florida (6)
    • Georgia (5)
    • Illinois (7)
    • Indiana (2)
    • Maryland (1)
    • Michigan (1)
    • Minnesota (1)
    • Missouri (2)
    • North Carolina (2)
    • New Jersey (3)
    • Nevada (1)
    • New York (2)
    • Ohio (4)
    • Oklahoma (1)
    • Oregon (1)
    • Pennsylvania (4)
    • Tennessee (2)
    • Texas (7)
    • Utah (1)
    • Virginia (3)
    • Washington (3)
    • Wisconsin (1)

    Online and Classroom-Based Programs

    What is your classroom preference?

  • Minimum eligibility requirements:
    • Must complete an application online and submit transcripts for their highest degree earned.
    School locations:
    • Online Learning

    Online Programs

    What is your highest level of education?

  • Minimum eligibility requirements:
    • Must be a high school graduate or have completed GED
    • Currently not accepting applications from Texas residents
    School locations:
    • Online Learning

    Online Programs

    Which subject are you interested in?

  • Minimum eligibility requirements:
    • Must be a high school graduate or have completed GED
    School locations:
    • Online Learning

    What is your highest level of education?

  • Minimum eligibility requirements:
    • Must be a high school graduate or have completed GED
    School locations:
    • Online Learning

    Which degree level do you plan to pursue?

  • School locations:
    • Arizona (1 campus)
    • California (1 campus)
    • Florida (6)
    • Idaho (1)
    • Kansas (2)
    • Kentucky (2)
    • Michigan (1)
    • Missouri (1)
    • Ohio (7)
    • Oklahoma (2)
    • Tennessee (1)
    • Texas (1)
    • Virginia (5)
    • West Virginia (1)

    Classroom-Based Programs

    • Master
        • Master in Medical Assisting and Administration

    What year did you graduate from high school?

  • Minimum eligibility requirements:
    • Must be 18 years of age or older
    School locations:
    • Online Learning

    Distance Learning Programs

    • Non-Degree
        • Undergraduate Certificate in General Studies (Medical Assistants)

    What is your highest level of education?

  • Minimum eligibility requirements:
    • Must live within close proximity to school locations
    • Must be graduated from high school by 2011
    School locations:
    • Florida (2 campuses)
    • Georgia (1 campus)
    • Minnesota (1)
    • New Jersey (1)
    • New York (3)
    • Texas (3)

    Classroom-Based Programs

    What is your highest level of education?

Other Schools:

  • School locations:
    • Columbia (D.C.) (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at George Washington University include:
      • Graduate: Doctorate, First Professional Degree, Master
      • Non-Degree: Certificate, Coursework
      • Post Degree Certificate: Post Master's Certificate, Postbaccalaureate Certificate
      • Undergraduate: Associate, Bachelor
    • Medical and Health Professions
      • Clinical Laboratory Science Professions
      • Communication Disorders Sciences
      • Dental
      • Health and Fitness
      • Medical Administrative Services
      • Medical Diagnostic and Treatment Professions
        • Athletic Trainer
        • EMT and Paramedic
        • Physician Assistant
        • Ultrasound and Sonography Technologies
      • Medical Residency Programs
      • Nursing Professions
      • Public Health and Safety
      • Therapeutic and Rehabilitation Professions
      • Veterinary Medicine and Clinical Sciences
  • School locations:
    • Alabama (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at University of South Alabama include:
      • Graduate: Doctorate, First Professional Degree, Master
      • Non-Degree: Certificate, Diploma
      • Undergraduate: Bachelor
    • Medical and Health Professions
      • Clinical Laboratory Science Professions
      • Communication Disorders Sciences
      • Medical and Health Preparatory Sciences
      • Medical Diagnostic and Treatment Professions
        • EMT and Paramedic
        • Physician Assistant
        • Radiological Science and Technologies
        • Respiratory Care Therapy
      • Medical Residency Programs
      • Nursing Professions
      • Therapeutic and Rehabilitation Professions

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