911 call taker looking at the camera and smiling

911 as a Profession

911 professionals, often described as the "first first responder," have special training to help callers in emergencies by:

• Gathering essential information
• Sending the right kind of help to the right location
• Potentially, providing medical or other instructions until help arrives at the caller's location


They must be calm under pressure and able to take control of often-unpredictable situations.

As 911 technology changes to accommodate new communication tools, such as text and video messaging, it is expected that the tasks of the call-taker may be modified to account for the future capabilities of 911 systems. Working together, the 911 community is identifying core components for training telecommunicators, learn more about National 911 Minimun Training for Telecommunicators.

  • Who manages 911 call centers?

    911 professionals are employed by a variety of local and State agencies including law enforcement agencies, fire departments, emergency management agencies, and Information Technology (IT) services, either as sworn or civilian personnel.

  • Are 911 call takers certified?

    Some 911 professionals are certified as emergency medical dispatchers (EMDs), emergency fire dispatchers (EFDs) or emergency police dispatchers (EPDs), which means they have received additional specialized training to assist callers in all types of emergencies. Managers and supervisors may also be certified as emergency number professionals, or ENPs, demonstrating that they have mastered the comprehensive knowledge base necessary to manage an emergency number program.


Each Spring, the National 911 Program joins the 911 community in recognizing the hard work and dedication of 911 professionals nationwide by celebrating National Telecommunicators Week.