Pasco high school program preps students for careers as 911 operators

By Leah Masuda, Reporter
Last Updated: Friday, February 17, 2017, 7:47 PM EST

A new program at Fivay High School in Pasco County has students graduating with enough hours and certifications to become a 911 operator right out of high school.

  • Four-year courses prepare students for state-exam, certification
  • Students shadow professionals on their own time as part of study
  • District plans to expand program to Zephyrhills High, Cypress Creek

Criminal Justice students at Fivay High School are being prepared to take jobs in telecommunications right after graduation. Partnering with both Pasco and Hernando County 911 Operation centers, the program allows students to listen in on calls, with call takers giving advice and instruction.

“I sit here, listen and see how it actually works, I mean you really only see it in movies and it's actually not like that at all," said student Rashawn Lawrence.

Over 230 hours of training are required by the Department of Health to be a 911 operator. Fivay's program provides opportunities to get a jump on that requirement, with students completing 40 hours shadowing the pros in a 911 call center on their own time.

“They already have a real good understanding of what that job entails and they know what to look for and handle a call," said Criminal Justice teacher Mark Moe.

“In the classroom they have the simulations which is pretty realistic, but nothing really beats coming observing at a 911 center," said student Jordan Evans.

The four-year course is designed so that by the time the students complete it, they’ll have the knowledge to take the state exam and get certified.  

“I'm going to go into reserve military police and while I'm doing that i plan on doing telecommunications and maybe going into law enforcement after that," said Evans.

The school district plans to expand the program to Zephyrhills High School and the new Cypress Creek Middle/High School opening in the fall.