AUSTIN, Texas - As Austin's population continues to grow so the does the need for help. The city is in need of 9-1-1 operators and they're looking to hire. Right now, more than a dozen vacancies must be filled.
Austin's 9-1-1 call center has high turnover and there's an immediate need to fill these positions. It's a stressful job but it's one with rewards.
When you need help it's the first voice you want to hear.
Calls to 9-1-1 in the Austin area are on the rise due to the population boom.
9-1-1 operator Jessica Hayden says she can see an increase in the call volume.
"It's pretty much constant for eight hours," Hayden says.
But it's hours well spent for Hayden who says she took the job because she likes to help people.
Hayden says it was crazy at first but after extensive training she was ready to work.
When you need help, people like Hayden are your lifeline.
Lt. Greg Moss with the Austin Police Department says, "They're the ones who are talking to the individual who has an emergency. They're talking through it. Trying to determine the best kind of response."
Lt. Moss oversees emergency communications for APD.
Right now he has 13 job openings and more in the coming weeks.
Lt. Moss says the job has high turnover for a number of reasons including stress and family obligations. Another factor is the 12 weeks of training a person needs before they can take 9-1-1 calls or be a dispatcher. The city has an urgent need to fill the job vacancies.
Lt. Moss says the requirements are, "More than anything it takes patience. You've got to have really good people skills. Problem solving skills."
"It's not something you just have. You develop it over time from working here," he adds.
You also need to have a high school diploma or a GED, pass a criminal background check and psychological testing.
After all that you're ready.
"You are the lifeline that brings me, as a police officer, but my response doesn't start until you answer the phone. We're a team," Lt. Moss says.
The salary varies, starting between $16-$18 an hour.
To apply or learn more about this job head here.