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  1. #1
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    Criticall VS. POST Dispatch test in California

    I understand that agencies in California have the choice of using either test in their hiring process. I've taken both. I scored in the high 50'S on the POST test, MUCH easier than the Criticall ONLY because I do not have 10-key experience. I type 58 net words a minute, but when it comes to using the numbers on the keyboard or 10 key I am absolutely terrible! Criticall utilizes the number pad and/or row.

    During the Criticall Test, the data entry parts KILL me. I passed the Criticall test with a 93% overall and even passed the overall data entry. However, I FAILED two individual data entry tests (non-hearing assisted).

    Does anyone know of any data entry simulations that use similar forms to practicing the data entry part of the criticall test? I'm about to just make up my own lists of VIN numbers, phone numbers and DL numbers and practice... I'm so close!

    If anyone has come across anything similar that would help I would VERY much appreciate it.

  2. #2
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    Are you going to practice on traditional 10 key, or try numbers on the qwerty set up?

    I am old school data entry, and I practiced 10 key by running random numbers. My top speed was 20,000 kph.

    Old school trick - hold a pencil against your palm with your thumb while keying. It's a good way to train your hand for proper positioning.

    If you are going to practice on the qwerty keyboard, just use a typing program that has a number heavy module.

    My TO tried to cover the 10 key side of the keyboard to make me use the top row, but I hated it - but if you can master that it would be to your advantage.

  3. #3
    Lena's Avatar
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    I've been practicing the qwerty set up more than the 10 key...

    I was barely over 4000kph. I need to be at 4200kph:eek:

    I can test 3 times a year. I'm thinking next test I'll have it as long as I practice.

    I've been asking around as to which would be to my advantage and I've gotten mixed responses. The general consensus is that if you can recover quickly on the QWERTY side, 10 key is fine if you are fast.

    I think I'll stick with the number row on the QWERTY side- thanks for your input!

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lena View Post
    I've been asking around as to which would be to my advantage and I've gotten mixed responses. The general consensus is that if you can recover quickly on the QWERTY side, 10 key is fine if you are fast.

    I think I'll stick with the number row on the QWERTY side- thanks for your input!
    I'd have to agree with that. I always lost my positioning when I used the number row, so it slowed my typing. I have no issues going back and forth from 10 key to qwerty though.

    Are you taking the Criticall test at the same agency? Every agency sets their own "pass" score, as well as which modules they use.

    When my agency expanded out Criticall testing, they had several dispatchers take the test to certify, and find the "average" score to set the pass score.

    Good luck!

  5. #5
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    Yes, Sacramento City is one of the few agencies in Northern CA that use Criticall out of agencies that hire at entry level.

    I've since had much better success from agencies testing from POST. I ranked no.3 for the last agency I tested for with a Tscore of 67. They are hiring for 4 positions. I'm trying not to be too excited, yet but I was proud of that score!

    Personally, I prefer the POST testing with an accompanied typing certificate. That would be because I'm a great typist and not as proficient with data entry, though!

  6. #6
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    In other news... Sacramento PD is still hiring. I had no idea. I thought they just cut over 100 to-be-filled officer positions... But they're hiring dispatchers? :confused: I may need to look into this.
    Last edited by gringoscott; 04-03-08 at 11:33 PM.

  7. #7
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    As of February, they needed to hire 37. It may have changed since, but they are still testing.

    From the way they talk, they have the highest dispatch standards in the state and are a training facility. Their facility is pretty impressive.

    What they explained during orientation, is that the city has grown so much, they've expanded their fleet of officers but neglected to expand their dispatchers until they got the new facility which I think just opened a year ago? Maybe two now.

    They also said that there is a low retention rate in the dispatching field and will always be hiring.

  8. #8
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    Nt.
    Last edited by Lena; 04-04-08 at 12:46 AM. Reason: Accidentally posted twice, oops!

  9. #9
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    PS Roseville PD is hiring- and they, pay more. =D I just got an email from them within the last few days about the job announcement. Police officer lateral and Recruits, and Lateral Dispatchers.

  10. #10
    gringoscott's Avatar
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    I'm not attempting to do the LEO thing anymore, but dispatching has piqued my interest recently. Do you know any other PD's/SO's in the area hiring entry level dispatchers/call takers? I'm not thrilled with the idea of putting myself through a POST dispatcher course, so if you know any places that put people through the training, I'm all ears.

  11. #11
    Lena's Avatar
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    There's a place in Roseville... it's actually American Medical Response that owns the Educational facility, called NCTI. They train for EMT, PARAMEDIC, DISPATCHER-- I DON'T know that they have POST accreditation, though. California has very low standards for EMT/Paramedics so I'm not sure if their accreditation surpasses or falls below what agencies in CA want. If nothing else, their program can get you on with private dispatching - if you fork over the bucks (and believe me- it's EXPENSIVE).

    The only other place that gives dispatcher courses that I'VE seen WITHOUT being hosted by a LE Agency is Napa Community College. They have a 3 week course that starts in June. The hours are Monday - Friday from 8-5 and if I remember correctly will cost you less- but it's still around $1200. You get a good amount of units though AND certification with POST.

    It's something you'd REALLY have to want to spend the money and invest the time driving from Sacramento County ;)

    I'm surprised that there's not more resources available for this type of career. If you like LE or EMS, it's a great choice.

  12. #12
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    I hope you are still working on mastering 10-key, as we do tend to type lots of numbers.

    POST requires you complete the Academy within 2 years of getting hired. I would check to see which agencies send you to POST after hiring/training you. That's what my agency did. You also have to take at least 24 hours of POST certified classes every two years to maintain your certificate.

    We are always training people, as the turn over rate is steady. Part of it is people that wash out, part is people that move on.

    When I hired on, I was #88 in seniority - I'm now #50 - and I'm just shy of 4 years. We've had people get picked up as sworn, or move to another agency. Some people just don't like getting stuck on C-shift until they move up the list.

  13. #13
    Lena's Avatar
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    How quickly time passes... Napa College has a dispatcher course that certifies you with POST. They even have a three week summer course you can do it in... I missed it this summer. Even so, after I started taking an EMT class to beef up my resume, I saw how much I LOVED it and am now going the route of paramedic... funny the roads life leads you down =)

    I still would not turn away an offer in dispatch- I just want to do it ALL! ;)

    I've since had an oral panel with Stockton PD dispatch- apparently others did better because I did not get into backgrounds. I was #5 on the testing list for Stockton Fire and they ended up hiring an auxiliary that wasn't going to make firefighter instead- or so the gossip goes.

    My 10-key has fallen by the way-side... as I've been learning how to deliver babies in an emergency, and hold c-spine and the like ;) At least some of this is out there for anyone else looking to hold a dispatch job. Learning the process of interviewing for these kinds of jobs can seem daunting.

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