Telecommunicator Job Reclassification

The duties of public safety telecommunicators have changed significantly since the first 911 call in 1968, and the role will continue to evolve as Next Generation 911 is fully integrated across the nation.

Recently, the 911 community has increased efforts to ensure that telecommunicators are classified as a Protective Service Occupation. Objective data is utilized to make the classification decision through the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) Standard Occupational Classification (SOC) system, a federal statistical survey, which relies upon a prescribed process collecting specific data to classify more than 800 occupations. One of the important data points used in the classification process is a sampling of job descriptions from PSAPs across the nation.

Many telecommunicator job descriptions are out of date and limited in descriptions of the daily responsibilities of the role. One important step that can be taken is to review existing job descriptions to ensure they do not include outdated task descriptions, such as “answering calls,” -- which can be perceived as clerical or administrative in nature – and to expand or include descriptions of the more specialized, and life-saving elements of the role, such as providing telephone CPR guidance and other pre-arrival instructions.

The National 911 Program has collaborated with 911 stakeholders to create resources to support this effort. They include:


  • A guide that describes the need for reclassification and how the improvement of telecommunicator job descriptions can help
  • A list of many of the Public Safety Telecommunicator responsibilities and key job skills
  • Sample job description to use to more accurately reflect the roles telecommunicators take on today and in the future.

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More Information

The Critical Need for Accurate Job Descriptions for the Public Safety Telecommunicator

Guidelines for Developing a Public Safety Telecommunicator Job Description