Emergency Communications Employment Information

Visit the Human Resources page to view current openings.


An emergency communications dispatcher is a trained professional who specializes in facilitating communications between our citizens and the various entities in emergency and non-emergency situations. The majority of the situations involve the safety and welfare of the public. Dispatchers, in resolving calls for assistance, routinely make critical decisions. Bucks County Department of Emergency Communications handles a call volume that requires skilled employees.

Position Responsibilities

  • Cooperates with system users
  • Is the liaison between the citizens and emergency services personnel along with other governmental agencies.
  • Learns and maintains a knowledge of the County and municipal boundaries
  • Maintains an accurate record of system users in regards to location, availability and safety
  • Obeys all county/departmental rules and regulations regarding their position to comply with any local, state and national standards
  • Obeys all safety rules and regulations
  • Performs similar or related duties as assigned by a supervisor or department manager
  • Receives calls from the general public regarding EMS/fire/police situations; taking and processing these calls using telephone, radio and computer equipment
  • Reports unusual/questionable items/issues to supervisors
  • Sends teletypes via CLEAN/NCIC to other governmental agencies about crimes committed in Bucks County, to assist in apprehension
  • Subject to 24-hour call, being forced to hold over or being forced to come in early to fulfill department manpower needs

Dispatcher Positions & Advancement (Pre-requisites & Pay Rates)

  • Dispatcher Trainee (Per-diem, 30 hours per week)
    As a trainee, your job is to learn. That's right - you are paid to receive all training required to join the 911 team.   Training takes approximately 16 weeks. The starting rate for training is $19.15/hour
  • Dispatcher-I probationary (Full-time, 40 Hours per Week)
    The probationary position is considered a full-functioning member of the 911 team; however, they will receive additional support, coaching, and mentoring from members of our training and supervisory team.  During the 6-month probationary term, team members will receive monthly performance evaluations from the training team. The position's pay rate is $29.37 per hour, $61,089 annually.
  • Dispatcher-I (Full-time)
    After a successful 6-month probationary term, team members will be transitioned to a Dispatcher-I position. The position's pay rate is $30.18 per hour, $62,774 annually.
  • Dispatcher-III (Supervisory Level/Primary Communications Training Officers)
    Applicant must have multiple years of experience as a Dispatcher- I and a position must be open for it to be filled.
  • Radio System Technicians 
    A team of technicians maintain the County's public safety radio system. These vital positions require a passion for learning and applying sustainment and improvement practices for an ever-evolving technology infrastructure. This includes programming, network support, and knowledge of modern server, switch, router, and firewall hardware. Our team of technicians are called upon 24/7/365 to perform their essential functions. 
  • Emergency Communications Management Level Positions
    The are various management tracks that members of our team can pursue. This includes training, quality assurance / quality improvement (QA/QI), technology, GIS, and operations management. Education and experience requirements vary for each position. 

Basic Training Overview

Classroom Training

Our experienced training team works with all new hires for the first 16 to 18 weeks of your training classroom and on the job training (OJT) phases. Classes will be conducted during the weekdays from 8 am to 4:30 pm.

During the classroom training module, new team members will obtain all training and certifications required by Pennsylvania to successfully join our team. The certifications include:  

  • American Heart Association CPR
  • International Associated Public-Safety Communications Officials (APCO) Public Safety Telecommunicator - Basic
  • APCO Emergency Medical Dispatch (EMD)
  • Hazardous Materials Awareness
  • National Incident Management System - Basic Certifications 

Basic Training On-Console (OJT) Shifts

During the OJT phase the trainee will be assigned to a Communications Training Officer (CTO) or training dispatcher and will follow their schedule. Shift rotation (different working times) may occur. You will be given an OJT schedule ahead of time for the entire OJT Phase.

Post-Basic Training Shift Assignments

After successful completion of OJT, probationary dispatchers will be assigned to a 12-hour shift rotation with a start time of either 6am, 10am, 2pm, or 6pm. A probationary dispatcher may request a shift transfer during a "shift bid" process that occurs twice a year.  Additionally, probationary dispatchers should plan on additional unscheduled shift assignments as needed to maintain required staffing levels. This may include being held over after a completed shift or called in early before a scheduled shift. 

Recruitment / Screening / Selection

During the periods when we are accepting applications for employment, Bucks County Emergency Communications actively participates in recruiting activities. When open position are approved the Bucks County Human Resources will post the announcement that applications are now being accepted for Dispatcher Trainee positions on the web site.  Visit the Human Resources page for more information.

Our recruitment efforts are typically focused on both in-person and virtual activity. This could include social media postings, career fairs, and public event participation, and other communication methods available to our team. Follow us on Facebook or Instagram to receive the most current information. 

In order to ensure we operate with skilled employees the Emergency Communications Department carefully screens applicants prior to offering a position of employment. 

Applicant Screening Highlights

  • Keyboarding Skills Minimum
    All applicants must be able to type a minimum of 30 words per minute (WPM) corrected. Those unable to attain the minimum WPM are disqualified.
  • No Criminal Background
    All applicants are screened through local and Commonwealth of Pennsylvania criminal justice files as well as through the National Crime Information Center database. Anyone with a prior criminal record is disqualified.
  • Pre-employment Examinations
    Invitations for exams are given after applicants have passed the two additional screening highlights.

First Level Written Exam

A study guide for a local preliminary written exam is provided to help applicants prepare for the local exam. The study of any Bucks County map or map book that identifies county townships, boroughs, towns, hamlets and major road/highways will also help to prepare an applicant for this exam. The local exam is comprised of geographic knowledge and information. This is a written exam.

First Level Computer Skills Exam

All applicants are also tested for the following skills (this list is not all inclusive):

  • Basic Computer Operations
  • Multitasking
  • Reaction Time
  • Reading Comprehension
  • Short-term Memory
  • Verbal Communications

This test is a computer-based test using a headset/microphone, keyboard, and mouse.

Exam Results

Exam results are provided within 24 hours of taking the exams. Applicants must receive a passing grade on both exams in order to be permitted to continue in the selection process. Those who do not pass one or both exams are disqualified.

Interview Invitations

Applicants who pass the examinations are then scheduled for a personal interview with department managers, the interview board has 3 members. Interviews last approximately 45 to 60 minutes including time for the applicant to ask questions at the end. The interviews are scored thus, it is important to be on time to your interview!

Candidate Selection

A final evaluation process will be conducted based on many components including exam scores, interview results, and previous education and work history. The results of this evaluation process will create a finalists list. Those at the top of the list will be the first to receive job offers. The number of people selected for hire will depend upon the number of positions open at that time.

The applicants that are tested and interviewed and are not selected will be able to reapply after one year from the test date.