CHP Dispatcher Career Information

The California Highway Patrol Public Safety Dispatcher position is a respected and critical position at the CHP. This career can be overwhelming at times, but also offers personal and professional gratification daily. There are 8 Divisions of Communications and Dispatch Centers, with 24 cities total:

  • Northern Division: Humboldt, Redding, Susanville, Ukiah, Yreka
  • Valley Division: Chico, Sacramento, Stockton, Truckee
  • Golden Gate Division: Vallejo
  • Central Division: Bakersfield, Fresno, Merced
  • Southern Division: Los Angeles
  • Border Division: San Diego, Imperial, Indio, Irvine
  • Coastal Division: Salinas, San Luis Obispo, Ventura
  • Inland Division: Barstow, Bishop, Fontana

Minimum Requirements for a Public Safety Dispatcher 2

According to the California Highway Patrol Recruiting website, the minimum requirements for eligibility to take the Public Safety Dispatcher examination are:

  1. 6 months as a Public Safety Dispatcher 1 at the CHP or
  2. 1 year of experience as a dispatcher operating radio equipment or telephone switchboard or
  3. 2 years of telephone contact or three years of direct contact with the public or co-workers or
  4. Completion of 60 semester units or 90 quarter units of college courses (an associate's degree in criminal justice can help you meet this requirement) or
  5. Completion of the Commission on Peace Officers Standards and Training (POST) Certified Public Safety Dispatcher Basic Course along with 6 months of work experience having phone or direct contact with the public or co-workers.

You must also be able to type 40 words per minute and pass a background check and drug test.

Public Safety Dispatcher Instruction

New hires attend a 4-week Public Safety Dispatcher course at the California Highway Patrol Academy in West Sacramento or Riverside. This includes the necessary skills to operate the related equipment, follow procedures, learn emergency and stress management, and other functions.

Public Safety Dispatcher Salary and Benefits

CHP Public Safety Dispatchers start out earning a base salary of $3413 a month and as they move their way up the range, can earn up to $4562 a month. Overtime, shift differential and bilingual pay incentives are earned on top of the monthly base salary. Certain Communications Centers pay retention and recruitment differential pay. See the CHP Public Safety Dispatcher website at to get specifics on differential pay amounts. Benefits include health, dental and vision for the employee as well as their dependents, and retirement.

Public Safety Dispatchers often stay in their positions for the entirety of their career, however, many opportunities for career advancement exist. Some Dispatchers have pursued careers as trainers in dispatching and some have gone on to become CHP Officers.

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Program outcomes vary according to each institution's specific curriculum and employment opportunities are not guaranteed.
Earning a degree may not qualify you for specialized careers that require more education or experience in the field.