Working in a state dominated by mountains, Idaho dispatchers face unusual challenges—the southern half of Shoshone county has no direct road connections to the county seat in the north, and is patrolled by a single deputy, for instance. But dispatchers here are able to turn to high tech solutions such as microwave repeater stations that allow them to reach emergency responders anywhere in the state.
That technology requires a newer and more switched on workforce throughout the state. According to Idaho’s Department of Labor, the increase in dispatcher positions throughout the state is estimated to reach 9.6 percent between 2016 and 2026. That results in 50 openings per year, through a combination of turnover and new positions being created.
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Those positions pay a median salary of $37,190 ($14.25/hr) per year according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, pretty close to the national average. At the top end, for those in the 90th percentile, it’s $54,220 annually, or $26.07/hr.
Salaries at the Agencies Employing 911 Dispatchers in Idaho
Due to terrain and the way the population is distributed throughout the state, Idaho’s dispatchers frequently end up handling calls and coordinating emergency services in areas that are hundreds of miles from where they are located. It takes a particular skillset, one that is generally well-paid in a state that offers spectacular scenery and a low cost of living.
Boise City – Includes:
- Idaho State Police Regional Communications Center South
- Ada County Sheriff
- 10th percentile: $14.66/hr / $30,480
- Median: $17.96/hr / $37,350
- 90th percentile: $28.26/hr / $58,780
The ISP’s RCC South is part of the Statewide Communications Center at the ISP Meridian Complex, which handles EMS communications statewide through a series of mountain-top microwave repeaters.
Southeast-Central Idaho nonmetropolitan area – Includes:
- Southern Idaho Regional Communications Center
- 10th percentile: $13.72/hr / $28,530
- Median: $17.81/hr / $37,040
- 90th percentile: $25.54/hr / $53,120
SIRCOMM handles dispatch for nearly all agencies in a four county area around Twin Falls, covering roughly six percent of the state’s overall population in all.
Northwestern Idaho nonmetropolitan area – Includes:
- New Perce Police Department
- Shoshone County Sheriff
- Boundary County Sheriff’s Office
- Lewiston Police Department
- 10th percentile: $14.32/hr / $29,790
- Median: $17.56/hr / $36,520
- 90th percentile: $25.76/hr / $53,590
The Shoshone County Sheriff contracts out police service for many towns in the county, creating a de facto consolidation of PSAP services that is common in many rural parts of the state.
A Full Breakdown of 911 Dispatcher Salaries Across Idaho
Little Coeur d’Alene isn’t just a picturesque town along I-90, it’s also the place with the highest median annual salary for 911 operators in the state —$39,900 ($19.18/hr). At the high end, however, dispatchers in Boise come out at the top of the pack with a 90th percentile salary of $58,780 ($28.26/hr).
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_id.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 Idaho Department of Labor 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.