Frequently Asked Questions

Public Safety Operator (PSO)

SALARY: $4,090 – $5,663 a month, plus full benefits. Some centers offer an additional $300 retention a month.

WHAT DO THEY DO? Duties include operating automated telephone and computer-related equipment to receive, transmit, and record information; screening incoming calls from officers, public, media, and other allied agencies and taking appropriate action; receiving and handling 911 calls; receiving and handling calls from people who may be difficult to communicate with; querying specialized law enforcement databases for information; communicating with personnel of other agencies to obtain and disseminate information; disseminating information and advice to the public; and processing reports and records.

Either I: Equivalent to completion of the 12th grade.

Or II: Experience: One year of clerical experience involving extensive public contact.

Public Safety Dispatcher (PSD)

SALARY: 4,628 – $6,373 a month, plus full benefits. Some centers offer an additional $300 retention a month.

WHAT DO THEY DO? All duties of a Public Safety Operator as well as; operating radio, dispatching appropriate personnel and resources such as officer, emergency equipment, allied agencies, etc.; monitoring and responding to field units and allied agencies; providing information to field units via radio.

Either I: Six months of experience in the California state service performing the duties of a Public Safety Operator, California Highway Patrol.

Or II: One year of experience in dispatching work involving the operation of radio communications equipment; or as an operator of a telephone switchboard or console.

Or III: Two years of experience involving a substantial amount of telephone contact or three years of direct contact with the public or other employees. Such experience must involve the responsibility to perform numerous tasks simultaneously or progressively responsible experience in a field requiring decision-making ability and the exercise of judgment. (Thirty semester or 45 quarter units of college level courses may be substituted for one year of the required experience.)

Or IV: Successful completion of 60 semester or 90 quarter units of college level courses.

Or V: Successful completion of the POST Certified Public Safety Dispatcher Basic Course and six months of experience involving a substantial amount of direct and/or telephone public contact.

Public Safety Operator & Public Safety Dispatcher

Understand spoken and written English words, sentences, and paragraphs; communicate effectively in English so others will understand; produce a number of alternative ideas; understand the speech of another person; tell when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong; apply general rules to specific problems to come up with logical answers; correctly follow rules to arrange things or actions in a certain order; remember information, such as words, numbers, and procedures; quickly combine and organize information; quickly and accurately compare letters and numbers; concentrate on a task or source of information and not be distracted; shift back and forth between two or more sources of information; sufficient physical dexterity, coordination, and agility to successfully perform the critical aspects of the job; and sufficient near vision to successfully perform the critical aspects of the job. Recognize standard alphanumeric sequences, for example, license plates, vehicle identification numbers, driver license numbers, street guides/maps, etc.; work under stress and maintain composure; follow instructions precisely; listen and translate what is heard into the appropriate action; communicate over the telephone quickly and be easily understood; adapt quickly to a variety of personalities and situations; act in an emergency situation; and write rapidly and legibly.

Public Safety Operator & Public Safety Dispatcher

Consistently reports to work on time with a minimum of absences; willingness to work nights, weekends, holidays, overtime, and at unusual hours is required; has emotional stability and even temperament; willingness and initiative to take independent action; performs tasks accurately; positive attitude; adapts to shifting demands of the job; performs effectively under stress and time pressure; tolerates a confined work space with sitting and/or standing for prolonged periods; shows interest in serving the public; shows respect and consideration for others; maintains confidentiality of information; works productively without supervision; dependable; self-motivated; mature; and a team-player.

Public Safety Operator & Public Safety Dispatcher

How to Apply:

  1. Go to the CalHR website and review the job classifications for a Public Safety Dispatcher: or for Public Safety Operator: Public Safety Operator, California Highway Patrol (1664) - CalHR
  2. Create a CalCareer Account on the CalHR website
  3. Search for exams for Public Safety Dispatcher or Public Safety Operator, California Highway Patrol
  4. Complete a STD 678 state application on your CalCareer account. Make sure to enter the exam for which you are applying on the first page of your application.
  5. Mail your STD 678 to the address indicated on the exam bulletin. It must be postmarked by the final filing date for it to be accepted and processed. It takes a few weeks to receive the notice that you have been selected to take the exam. Applications may also be emailed to
  6. Learn about the exam at: Applicants » CritiCall 911 Dispatcher & Emergency Calltaker Testing Software
  7. Once you take the exam you will have to wait a few weeks for the state list to be updated/generated and you will receive a notice indicating if you passed or need to re-apply.
  8. During this time, you may want to get a typing certificate stating you are able to type 40 words per minute (net) with less than 10 typographical errors. The California Department of Human Resources (CalHR) has approved certificates from the following entities:
    • Any state agency/department,
    • Employment Development Department/America's Job Center of California
    • Business schools or colleges
    • Adult Education Centers or Skills and Business Education Centers
  9. If you are reachable on the state list, the next step will be to revisit the CalHR website and search for open positions.
  10. Once the desired position is found, you use your CalCareer account to complete or update your STD 678 and enter the Job Control number and position title that you are applying for. Any grammatical errors/typo’s, or incomplete information may disqualify you for an interview. Make sure to upload your typing certificate if possible.
  11. Some positions will allow you to electronically apply; the option will be listed on the right side of the job announcement.
  12. If you do not electronically apply you may submit a hard copy of your application to the address listed on the job announcement. It must be postmarked by the final filing date for it to be accepted and processed. You should be contacted about your application via telephone, letter, or email regarding your interview selection status.
  13. After your interview you will receive notification of your selection status via telephone, email or letter.
  14. From this point it may take up to 12 months to complete the hiring process. Keep in contact with the hiring supervisor at the area for which you applied.
  15. Once hired, you will attend training at one of our Academies for 3 weeks for Public Safety Dispatcher Basic Course Module A. If hired in the Public Safety Dispatcher classification, you will go back for another 2 weeks approximately 4 months later to attend Public Safety Dispatcher Basic Course Module B. We have 2 academies, one is in West Sacramento, and the other is in Riverside. Training is paid for by the Department. There is a six-month probation for Operators and a one-year probation for Dispatchers.

Visit the CHP website to find upcoming exam dates. You can test for any of the 8 divisions at any of the locations.

Apply Public Safety Dispatcher and Public Safety Operator (

You will be interviewed, along with friends, coworkers, and family members. You will be expected to disclose personal information, medical records, there will be a credit check and you will be fingerprinted. You will then complete a written psychological test and meet with a psychologist. You will complete a full medical exam and drug test screening. If you meet the Departments criteria, you will be offered a position with the California Highway Patrol as a Public Safety Dispatcher.

We encourage you to sit-along with us and see what we do. Typically, it will last for no longer than 4 hours. You will have the opportunity to sit with a call taker and then a radio dispatcher.

  • Medical, dental & vision package (individual or family)
  • CalPERS retirement – 2.0% at age 57
  • Overtime, shift differential & holiday pay and/or holiday credit
  • Paid vacation & sick leave
  • Personal holiday & professional development days
  • Employee Assistance Program
  • Other optional choices such as; Group Legal coverage, flexible reimbursement accounts, group life insurance, long-term care / disability insurance, and others.

More Questions?
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