The career of an Ambulance Communications Officer is challenging and rewarding. 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
  • leadership skills

In addition, incumbents must:

  • interpret and apply policies and procedures
  • use professionalism and interpersonal communication skills
  • understand spatial concepts (for example, reading maps, calculating times, distance, and movement)
  • have a technical competency in keyboarding and the use of computers 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.


To work as an Ambulance Communications Officer, the position requires successful candidates to:

  • professionally and non-judgementally assist people in crisis situations over the telephone
  • appropriately manage periods of moderate to high levels of stress
  • work rotating shifts, typically 12 hours in duration (this includes working days, afternoons, nights, weekends, statutory days, etc., as scheduled)
  • effectively work as a team member, while adhering to established policies and procedures

Ambulance Communications Officer recruitment process

  1. Cover letter and Resume Review
  2. Typing test and CritiCall computerized testing
  3. Oral interview and written component
  4. Reference check

Candidates who successfully complete the screening, typing test, computerized testing and interview processes may be offered a position with the central ambulance communications centre. 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 Entry to Practice training.

Ambulance Communications Officer training and certification process

  1. Completion of pre-course education or exercises
  2. Entry to practice training:
    • Restricted Radio Operator’s Certification (mandatory)
    • Theory and Practical call taking and dispatching evaluations (70% mandatory pass)
  3. Provincial Ambulance Communications Officer Exam (70% mandatory pass)
  4. On the job local training (completed at the local Central Ambulance Communications Centre)

Ambulance Communications Officer Entry to Practice training and certification is completed at a designated provincial training centre operated by the ministry, there are multiple locations across the province. During the Entry to Practice training, you are an employee of the ministry and costs relating to the training, including travel and accommodation, (for example, if training is provided outside your area) are paid for by the ministry.

Emergency communications programs

Some colleges in Ontario offer tri-services (for example, police/fire/ambulance) emergency communications programs, however these programs are general in scope. While not mandatory for employment in an Central 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.

Job postings

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.

Please note that Emergency Health Services head office does not directly hire Ambulance Communications Officers.