Emergency Health Services

Ambulance Communications Officer Education

What attributes should I posses when considering ambulance dispatching as a career?

Performing the responsibilities of an Ambulance Communications Officer requires strong multi-tasking skills, the ability to maintain control under pressure, using professional judgement, critical thinking, decision making and leadership skills. In addition, incumbents must interpret and apply policies and procedures, use professionalism and interpersonal communication skills, and understand spatial concepts (e.g. reading maps, calculating times, distance and movement).

Also essential is technical competency in keyboarding and the use of computers in order to operate complex computer-aided telecommunications equipment. To excel in the extremely high-paced and dynamic professional environment, Ambulance Communications Officers (also known as call takers and dispatchers) must have strong coping skills and be able to solve problems and work effectively both independently and as part of a team.

Processing 9-1-1 emergency and non-emergency requests for ambulance service requires the ability to work rotating shifts in a 24/7 environment.

How do I become an Ambulance Communications Officer?

If you are interested in a career as an Ambulance Communications Officer at a ministry-operated Central Ambulance Communications Centre (also known as a dispatch centre), visit the Ontario Public Service Careers website to determine if positions are currently available and the process for applying.

For positions within Central Ambulance Communications Centres operated by others on behalf of the ministry, directly contact the centre’s management or human resources department to learn of job availability. Please note that Emergency Health Services head office does not directly hire Ambulance Communications Officers.

Those who successfully complete the screening, testing and interview processes may be offered a position with the dispatch centre. As a dispatch centre employee, the ministry will provide a comprehensive six-week entry-to-practice core training program in land ambulance dispatching at an assigned dispatch training facility operated by the ministry. During the core training, you are a paid CACC staff member and costs relating to the core training, including travel and accommodation for training outside your area, are paid for by the ministry.

Following successful completion of the core training program, graduates must then successfully complete the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care's Ambulance Communications Officer certification examination and return to their dispatch centre under a local training and coaching program to complete the training.

Job offers are conditional upon a satisfactory criminal record check, obtaining valid standard first aid and targeted responder CPR certifications within 30 days of employment and successful completion of computer operations education as a pre-requisite to attending core training. Successful completion of core training includes obtaining a Restricted Radio Operator’s certification. This is followed by Ambulance Communications Officer certification and local on-the-job training.

What colleges offer ambulance dispatch centre training?

The Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care directly provides the required land Ambulance Communications Officer entry-to-practice core training. This is followed by local training and coaching programs at the position’s home location.

Some colleges in Ontario offer tri-services (i.e. police/fire/ambulance) emergency communications programs, however these programs are general in scope. While not mandatory for employment in an ambulance communication centre, these programs may be beneficial in preparing candidates who possess the attributes and qualifications noted above for pursuing employment as an Ambulance Communications Officer.

For More Information

Emergency Health Services
5700 Yonge Street, 6th Floor
Toronto, Ontario
Canada   M2M 4K5

Tel: 1-800-461-6431 (Toll-free in Ontario only)
In Toronto: (416) 327-7900
Fax: 416-327-7911
Email: websitecontact.moh@ontario.ca


Call ServiceOntario, Infoline at:
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TTY 1-800-387-5559.
In Toronto, TTY 416-327-4282
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