Dispatchers: Salary Overview
Dispatchers schedule and transmit assignments to work crews, equipment, or service vehicles using radio, telephone, or computer.
Some dispatchers work for police or fire departments while others work in the truck transportation industry, for building contractors, for the local government, or for taxi and limousine services.
Their job description, responsibilities, and earnings may vary depending on the industry of employment.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual wage for police, fire, and ambulance dispatchers was $41,910 in May 2019 which means that half of the workers in this occupation earn less than this amount and half earn more.
The median annual wage for dispatchers who worked in different fields (other than police, fire, and ambulance) was $40,190 as of May 2019.
Dispatcher Salary by Level of Experience
The level of experience and education is an important factor in determining how much a dispatcher makes a year.
Entry-level dispatchers who work for police, fire, or ambulance may earn less than $30,000 a year while experienced workers make more than $60,000 a year.
Dispatchers who work in other fields also earn differently depending on their level of experience.
As an entry-level dispatcher who works for a taxi or limousine service, you may earn less than $26,000 a year while experienced dispatchers can make more than $65,000 a year.
Dispatcher Salary by Industry
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, police, fire, and ambulance dispatchers held about 98,300 jobs in the United States in 2018, 80% of them being employed by local governments, and 6% by state governments.
Around 200,000 dispatchers worked for other industries in 2019; over 40,000 of them were employed by truck transportation companies and more than 20,000 worked for building equipment contractors.
Median annual salaries vary widely depending on the industry of employment and can be anywhere between $34,000 and more than $77,000.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the highest median annual salary was earned by dispatchers who worked for aerospace products and parts manufacturing- a field that offered a median annual salary of $77,140 in May 2019.
However, this industry employed only 350 dispatchers and competition for positions in this field can be strong.
Around 1,070 dispatchers worked for in the field of scheduled air transportation- an industry where the median dispatcher salary was $72,950 a year.
The truck transportation industry offered a median annual wage for dispatchers of $45,670 while the median annual salary for dispatchers who worked for building equipment contractors was $40,630.
Dispatchers who worked for taxi and limousine service companies earned a median annual wage of $34,590 while those who are employed by companies that provide support activities for road transportation earned a median wage of $34,110 a year.
Police, fire, and ambulance dispatchers who worked for state governments earned a median annual wage of $48,630 in May 2019 while those who worked for local governments made somewhere around $42,080 a year.
Dispatchers who worked for colleges, universities, and professional schools earned a median annual wage of $39,810 in May 2019.
The median annual salary was $38,510 for dispatchers who worked for hospitals and $37,430 a year for dispatchers who worked for ambulance services.
Most dispatchers work in shifts but overtime in this profession is very common.
Employment for police, fire, and ambulance dispatchers is projected to grow 6 percent from 2018 to 2028.
As the population grows the number of 911 calls and the demand for dispatchers is also expected to grow.
However, job opportunities vary depending on the local government budget, and in some regions, competition can be strong.
Having a certificate in this field and a few years of experience will likely improve your job prospects.
* Based on information from the May 2021 salary report from the BLS. The figures represent accumulated data for all states of employment for Dispatchers. BLS data represents averages and medians for workers at all levels of education and experience. This data doesn't represent starting salaries.
* Employment conditions in your area may vary.