What is the Academy?

In 1988, the original National Academy of Emergency Medical Dispatch (NAEMD) was formed as a standard-setting organization for all aspects of EMD. The NAEMD was established as not just an association, but an academic Academy-setting it apart from many other EMS and public safety organizations that function primarily as membership, interest, and lobby groups. With an academic organization of top experts the Academy became an authoritative voice for emergency dispatch. In 2000 the Academy "pluralized" itself into the National Academies of Emergency Dispatch (NAED), with separate Academies for EMD, Fire, and Police dispatching. It continues the tradition of excellent service, and public education that was started almost 20 years ago. With the protocols' growth around the world, the National Academies of Emergency Dispatch has recently changed its name to the International Academies of Emergency Dispatch (IAED) to represent its expansion into a worldwide organization. 

How big is it?

Recently the Academy membership surpassed the 54,000 mark. This is not a cumulative total, but represents only currently certified members. This phenomenal growth is attributable to rapid expansion in initial certifications and a sustained recertification rate of over 75%.

What are the origins of the Academy?

The origins of Academy certified emergency dispatch lead back to the first medical dispatch protocol and training course which was developed by Dr. Jeff Clawson in Salt Lake City, Utah. The Salt Lake City Fire Department, Gold Cross Ambulance, and the Davis County Sheriff's Office were the first agencies to implement this new and unique system. In addition, the Utah State Bureau of EMS established the first State Dispatch Rules and Standards in 1983 codifying the EMD as a governmentally recognized medical professional. As acceptance of a unified protocol grew, Dr. Clawson and several other pioneers began exploring the formation of a national organization specifically for emergency dispatch. In 1986, efforts to create a support and information sharing group resulted in establishment of the North American EMD Network, the immediate precursor to the NAEMD, founded in December 1988 at the Academy's first EMD conference.

Why does the Academy recognize only one protocol?

The Academy was founded on the central concept of a "unified protocol" and patterned after the American Heart Association's Emergency Cardiac Care Committee, which recognizes a single CPR protocol, a single ACLS protocol, and a single BLS protocol. The Academy controls the Emergency Priority Dispatch System (EPDS) protocols for Fire, Police, and Medical dispatch. This unified protocol is approved and maintained by the Academy's expert council, the College of Fellows. Such standardization enables scientific studies, comparison between systems, and orderly improvement of the protocols. The Academy is broken down into three separate disciplines within the College of Fellows. The original NAEMD controls the Medical Priority Dispatch System or MPDS Protocol, and similarly, the NAEPD controls a single Police Priority Dispatch System Protocol and the NAEFD controls a single Fire Priority Dispatch System Protocol. All Academy licensed agencies utilize the same protocol and its standardized codes regardless of the local politics, culture, or language.

What is the College of Fellows?

The College of Fellows is the standard setting body of the IAED. Its mission statement is "To conduct an on-going review of the current standards of care and practice in Emergency Dispatch and evaluate the tools and mechanisms used to meet or exceed those standards." The College is a scientific body of international experts which maintains the correctness of the Emergency Dispatch protocols. This is accomplished through a scientific method-based process of reviewing and approving proposed modifications and improvements to the protocols. Once approved, these improvements are provided to all licensed users. Through this process each protocol user can share their findings and recommendations with other dispatch centers worldwide. The College of Fellows consists of experts in EMD, EMS, fire safety, law enforcement, emergency and critical care medicine, telecommunications, adult learning and instruction, and telephone triage. In addition, many of the recent past presidents of NENA, NAEMD, NAEMSP, NAEMT, AAA, and ACEP are current Fellows.

What other standards does the Academy maintain?

The IAED also sets and maintains professional practice standards for emergency dispatch Curriculum, Certification, Recertification, and Accreditation of Centers of Excellence through separate expert Boards for each area. In addition, the Council of Research exists to direct and design studies regarding the operational efficiency and effectiveness of the protocols and dispatch life support (DLS) in the management of mobile resources and the provision of patient care.

What does membership in the Academy mean?

The Academy has a variety of membership types, depending on the member's professional involvement in emergency dispatching. Most common is Dispatcher Certification membership based on successful completion of an Academy-approved 3-day training course. Managers, supervisors, medical directors and other industry leaders may become Executive members through successful participation in a National Executive (1-day) or Leader Seminar Course. Additionally, individuals or organizations may join the Academy as Associate members and special memberships exist for Instructors and lifetime Emeritus members due to significant contributions to the profession. One of the most honored memberships is that of Accreditation. These dispatch centers have achieved special recognition by fulfilling all of the Academy's 20 Points of Accreditation, thereby obtaining the designation "Accredited Center of Excellence."

How does Priority Dispatch Corporation work with the Academy?

In essence, the Academy sets and maintains emergency dispatch standards; Priority Dispatch Corporation and other contract organizations create products, materials, and provide services that meet or exceed those standards. Priority Dispatch Corporation has the current contract for publishing and distributing the protocols maintained by the Academy. In addition they are also the designated contract training management company for the Academy. These contracts are reviewed every five years. With the exception of some limited information booklets and certificates, the Academy does not publish materials or products on its own.

Does the Academy hold special conferences I can attend?

The Academy puts on seven NAVIGATOR conferences yearly, with each one specializing in addressing emergency dispatch based on the area where the conference will take place. In the first three months of the year, Asia NAVIGATOR, Middle East NAVIGATOR, and Ireland NAVIGATOR are held. U.S. NAVIGATOR follows in the spring. Australasia NAVIGATOR is held in June and U.K. NAVIGATOR and Euro NAVIGATOR take place in the fall. These conferences are open to all members and other interested parties including emergency dispatchers, managers, industry experts, oversight commissioners, and directors. Up to 24 hours of CDE credit toward recertification is provided at these yearly conferences.

In addition, the Academy holds biannual Instructor Update/Recertification Seminars each year. Meetings of the various expert Boards and the College of Fellows are held at these informative conferences, summits, and seminars, as well as at other times throughout the year.

What is the future of the Academy?

The Academy has undergone several changes to expand its scope and efficiency. In 1996, the College of Fellows was enlarged and restructured to provide expert approval and improvement of all standards of the Academy. Each expert Board, such as Curriculum or Accreditation, is now made up of specific Fellows in that area of expertise and additionally populated by other designated industry experts. The protocol improvement process has been streamlined and additional new protocol development begun and maintained. New training modules and certifications are under development. Importantly, the Academies continue to be a strong professional voice for emergency dispatchers and are taking a more active role in the policies and politics of public safety dispatching. Strategic alliances with allied professional organizations are currently being established.

What is the International Academy (IAED)?

The International Academy name represents the expansion into a worldwide organization. The NAED and IAED names are interchangeable. IAED refers to the global standards and membership organization outside the United States. While the science and philosophy remain the same throughout the world, the International Academy has established language/cultural subcommittees in conjunction with the College of Fellows. Certified IAED membership today spans six continents.

What is Accreditation?

One of the most significant official recognitions of the Academy is communication center Accreditation. Based on a total quality management process, dispatch and communication centers can attain "Center of Excellence" designation by demonstrating superior performance in training, quality assurance and improvement processes, medical oversight, and compliance to protocol. Compliance scores of over 90%, in some categories 95%, are required in seven areas of interrogation, pre-arrival instructing, and response coding. The Board of Accreditation oversees the evaluation applications of systems demonstrating accreditation eligibility. The Board also sets the case evaluation process and scoring formula from which the core competency of emergency dispatch activities is determined. To apply, an agency submits the appropriate ACE Application form along with a detailed, self-study document based on the Academy's Twenty Points. The Academy's Accreditation Board will review the application and document, then arrange an onsite evaluation visit by an Academy representative. 

Why should I want to be an Academy member?

The Academy is the only organization dedicated to the professionalism, science, and standards of emergency dispatching. Academy membership and certification adds value to telecommunicators by providing an internationally identified professional recognition. An official certificate and pocket certification card are awarded to successful applicants along with a 2-year membership and subscription to the bimonthly Journal of Emergency Dispatch. Membership shows a personal commitment to a Code of Ethics and helps support the IAED's standard-setting programs built around protocol, policy, and procedure. Members are also eligible for special discounts to the annual NAVIGATOR conference and other IAED educational opportunities.

I've heard the Academy's testing process is unique. Why?

Through its testing results process, the Academy seeks not only to determine post-training competency, but also to assist emergency dispatch trainees to learn the important information and concepts that they missed on the certification test. Topic and concept cross-referencing to student manuals and textbooks is automatically provided to each student missing any examination question. The Academy is also unique in that those students who did not pass the test may take an oral retest and learning session with a curriculum expert to qualify for certification membership. The expert determines just what may not be completely understood and provides a personal learning experience to aid the student in mastering the concepts at issue. The Academy provides emergency dispatch professionals with answers and understanding—not just test scores.

What does "state recognition" mean?

Just as was accomplished by the National Registry of EMTs years ago, the Academy has an important goal of achieving certification recognition with every state and province in North America. Since this time there has been growing interest and activity among states and provinces to governmentally codify and regulate emergency dispatch practices and standards. The Academy, with a unified standard all around the world, has formally approached each state requesting official recognition of curriculum, certification (including initial testing), instructor status, and recertification designations granted by the Academies. This process was accomplished first with the States of Utah, Colorado, Delaware and the Province of Quebec (Canada) and has continued with successful recognition by over 10 governmental groups. Progress has only been limited by the degree to which each state and province's process has individually evolved.

When should I expect my cert./recert. exam results?

It can take up to six weeks to receive your course certification or recertification results. Academy processing time varies depending on the volume of applications that need to be processed. Please wait 6 to 8 weeks for your results before contacting the Academy regarding any new certification status.

Why haven't I received any mailings from the Academy?

In the case of new members, we might not have your records entered into our system yet. New memberships can take up to 6 weeks to process. In all other cases, we might not have your correct home and/or agency information in our system. To check, you can e-mail your new address to arabella.vanbeuge@emergencydispatch.org or call the Academy at 1-800-960-6236.

Can I have mail sent to my home address?

All mail will be sent to your agency unless your supervisor calls the Academy to have your mailing address changed. The only exception is the Journal and NAVIGATOR brochures, which can be sent to your home address unless your agency requests them to be sent there.

Can I have a second or replacement copy of my diploma and/or I.D. card?

A reprint of a diploma or an I.D. card costs $5.

How do I arrange a retest?

If your initial exam score is between 65% and 79%, we will send you a letter advising you to take a telephone retest for certification. The letter will provide details for you to arrange a retest with an Academy-certified retest instructor. Refer to your letter for retest scheduling information and study topics. Schedule your retest by clicking here. If your initial exam score is below 65%, you are not eligible to take a telephone retest for certification and must complete another certification course.

Does the Academy remind certified members when they need to recertify?

Yes, the Academy will send a reminder to your agency (or home if you are not with an agency) approximately one month before your certification is due to expire. Additional letters are also sent to the agency sometime during the month your certification expires and six months after it expires. If for some reason you don't receive the reminder, it is still your responsibility to keep your certification current.

What are the requirements for recertification?

You can recertify up to six months before your certification expires and we give you a 90-day Grace Period after you expire in which to recertify. The EMD, EFD, EPD recertification costs $50, and you will need to have 24 hours of continuing education documented for the recertification to be valid. After the Grace Period you will be expected to retake the certification course to reinstate your status with the Academy. The ED-Q recertification costs $100 and you will need 30 hours of continuing education documented. For EMD and EMD-Q you will also need to have a current CPR certification. 

Can I use my CPR class toward my CDE requirements for EMD recertification?

No. CPR is an EMD recertification prerequisite, therefore any time spent at CPR classes or refreshers courses cannot be classed as continuing education.

Do you accept Academy Journal CDE quizzes from 2 years ago?

Currently, we do not. Journal CDE quizzes have an expiration date, after which they will not be processed by the Academy. The expiration date is highlighted below the questions. However, your agency does have the option of grading old quizzes if they are expired for credit. For more information on this feature, e-mail arabella.vanbeuge@emergencydispatch.org or call 1-800-960-6236 or 1-801-359-6916.


For product orders call the Academy at 1-800-960-6236 or 1-801-359-6916. For Protocol related items call your service representative from Priority Dispatch at 1-800-363-9127 or 1-801-363-9127. For more specific questions you are welcome to call the Academy at 1-800-960-6236 or 1-801-359-6916.

Visit our Staff Info page for contact information.