Start career in one semester with Public Safety Dispatcher program

November 21, 2014

Imagine a program that prepares you for a career in just one semester. Harper College's Public Safety Dispatcher Certificate does just that, offering students a competitive edge in a growing field.

Harper's well-respected and relevant curriculum provides students with a strong foundation of statewide competency as outlined by the Illinois Law Enforcement Training and Standards Boards. During the two-course certificate program, which meets two nights per week, students learn through experiential situations and state-of-the-art equipment that recreate the real-world environment of an emergency communicator. Instructors are veterans in the field.

"Dispatchers are really the central nervous system of an operation," said Professor Sam Giordano, who leads Harper's fire science technology program. "When a call comes in, it's challenging. It's stressful. A child could be drowning in a pool or trapped in a fire. There could be a car accident or a husband having a heart attack. People are desperate on the phone and seeking help."

The need for qualified public safety dispatchers is more important than ever due to an expanding and aging population. The field is expected to grow 8 percent between 2012 and 2022, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Area communications centers hire at starting salaries of about $40,000 plus full benefits. With about seven years' experience, salaries can climb to $70,000-plus.

Giordano said effective dispatchers have strong communication and typing skills, as well as the ability to handle stress.

"It's an opportunity to get involved in public service and quickly," Giordano said. "There are also ample jobs in the private sector."

To get started, call 847.925.6081 or visit harpercollege.edu.

Media contact: Kim Pohl, Media Relations Manager, 847.925.6159