Colorado’s Department of Labor and Employment forecasts a 4.5 percent increase in 911 operator jobs by 2026, leading to around 170 openings each year when combined with normal changes in the workforce.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics data for 2018 shows those positions paying a median salary of $48,850 ($23.49/hr) annually, with the top ten percent pulling down $62,840 ($30.21/hr).
Considering the difficulty of coordinating emergency response in the state’s rugged terrain, emergency dispatch work is worth the above-average pay rates. Working with sheriff’s departments and volunteer search and rescue organizations, dispatchers in the state are responsible for assisting in nearly 1,500 SAR missions each year for lost or injured hikers, climbers, and skiers.
Salaries at the Agencies Employing 911 Dispatchers in Colorado
Consolidation has come to Colorado in a big way, with agencies and jurisdictions combining their dispatch centers in both urban areas along the Front Range corridor and in rural areas such as around Telluride and in Gunnison County.
Denver-Aurora-Lakewood – Includes
- Aurora Public Safety Communications
- Denver Combined Communications
- Mountain View Police Department
- Jefferson County 911 Communications
- Adams County Communication Center
- 10th percentile: $19.95$/hr / $41,500
- Median: $25.12/hr / $52,260
- 90th percentile: $31.66/hr / $65,860
As the Front Range population has exploded, the Denver region has grown to 3.5 million, sparking a wave of reorganization and consolidation in what were previously small town public safety organizations like Aurora and Littleton. Dispatching jobs, and salaries, have grown along with them.
Colorado Springs – Includes
- Colorado Springs Police and Fire Communication Center
- El Paso-Teller County 911 Authority
- 10th percentile: $15.86/hr / $33,00
- Median: $21.30/hr / $44,310
- 90th percentile: $28.27/hr / $58,800
The dispatch system in the Colorado Springs area is complex, with the combined El Paso-Teller County communication center handling 911 services for many agencies in both counties. The Colorado Springs Communication Center answers 911 cellular calls specifically for El Paso County.
Southwest Colorado Nonmetropolitan Area – Includes
- WestCO Dispatch
- Gunnison Communications Center
- 10th percentile: $16.89$/hr / $35,130
- Median: $21.19/hr / $44,080
- 90th percentile: $24.83/hr / $51,640
WestCO, operated by the Montrose County Sheriff’s Office, handles not only unincorporated Montrose County 911, but also the Telluride Marshal, the Nucla Naturita, Paradox, and Olathe Fire Protection Districts, and Black Canyon National Park among others.
A Full Breakdown of 911 Dispatcher Salaries Across The State of Colorado
The Northwest Colorado nonmetropolitan area is ranked second in the nation for pay among rural regions according to BLS, but Fort Collins offers the highest median salary with $61,650.
Salary and employment data compiled by the United States Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics in May of 2018. Figures represent accumulated data for all areas of employment for emergency services dispatchers https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_co.htm#43-5031. BLS salary data represents state and MSA (Metropolitan Statistical Area) average and median earnings for the occupations listed and includes workers at all levels of education and experience. This data does not represent starting salaries. Employment conditions in your area may vary.
Job growth projections sourced from the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment and published in the U.S. Department of Labor-funded Long Term Occupational Projections (2016-2026) database – https://projectionscentral.com/Projections/LongTerm.
All salary and job growth data accessed in June 2019.