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)
    Trainee is the entry-level position after being hired. If the Dispatcher passes all basic training segments and there are no probationary positions available, the employee will be additionally be provided with per-diem benefits. Training takes approximately 20 weeks. The starting rate for training is $13.52/hour.
    • You must pass all training phases and probation phase to continue to next level. There may be a waiting period where you will remain as a per-diem employee until a probationary (full time) position becomes available. Vacation and sick time accrual will begin also. There is no way to predict when full-time openings occur.
  • Dispatcher-I probationary (Full-time, 40 Hours per Week)
    This is the initial position that a properly certified and trained Dispatcher Trainee is eligible for, full-time benefits available when the position is open. The position's pay rate is $25.19 per hour, $52,392 annually.
  • Dispatcher-I (Full-time)
    Dispatcher-I is the position that a Probationary Dispatcher-I will advance to only after serving 6-months of mandatory probation as well attaining successful monthly performance evaluations. Pay rate is $25.69 per hour, $53,440 annually.
  • Dispatcher-III (Supervisory Level/Primary Communications Training Officers)
    Applicant must have multiple years experience as a Dispatcher- I and a position must be open for it to be filled.
  • Emergency Communications Management Level Positions
    Experience as a supervising Dispatcher-III is required for this position as a pre-requisite and the  position must be open for it to be filled.
  • Technical Staff Opportunities
    This position is for qualified individuals with radio technology background, Bucks County Emergency Communications is supported by a trained staff of electronics and radio technicians.

Basic Training Overview

All new hires are assigned to the training division for the first 18 to 20 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.

Following the classroom and OJT phases the trainee will be placed on probation. During these periods you will be working at the per-diem rate, but, once a full time probationary position opens you will be placed into the position as long as your knowledge, skills, and abilities are at acceptable levels. Thus, full-time status is earned by your performance. We make every effort to provide an ample environment to succeed. 

Those who are not successful in completing any of the following classroom modules will be terminated: 

  • American Heart Association CPR
  • Associated Public Safety Communications Officials
  • Bucks County Specifics
  • International Association of Public-Safety Communications Officials (APCO) Institute Certifications
  • OJT
  • Probationary Period

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 either fill in openings in the schedule (on any shift) or assigned to fill-in a specific 8 hour or 12 hour shift rotation, which may continue for part of your probationary period.

Once your permanent schedule is assigned you will receive a printout for the entire year listing your work days and days off. You will then normally be assigned to work a 12-hour shift (6 pm to 6 am, 3:30 pm to 3:30 am, etc.). The day shifts are considered premium shifts and are issued by seniority (6 am to 6 pm). Successful students being assigned to shifts should plan on being assigned to additional shifts as needed such as being held over or called in early or on a day off.

Full-Time Placement

Full-time status is earned. The individuals who give 100%, are routinely on time, and maintain proper attendance will get full-time first. This will be determined by the employee's performance as evidenced in their training and probationary documentation along with management approval.

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.

Much of our recruitment efforts are via our internet web page as well as publishing announcements to our many local emergency services agencies. 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!

Second Level Written Testing

A second and final exam battery will be given to all high-scoring interview candidates. This testing involves interpersonal communications and related questionnaire, visual acuity and knowledge assessments.

We will then review previous work histories of those who were interviewed. The results of this review will create a finalists list. Those at the top of the list via overall scoring, job history, and management deliberation 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.