Illinois’ Department of Employment Security predicts only a 5 percent increase in the number of dispatcher jobs throughout the state between 2016 and 2026, but don’t let that discourage you… it amounts to 380 openings a year, through a combination of new positions and turnover for current posts.
Those positions tend to pay better than the national average, with the Bureau of Labor Statistics data for 2018 showing a median of $49,840 annually (equivalent to $23.96/hr), and at the high end, $77,610 ($37.31/hr) for the top ten percent—$13,000 better than the national median. Those numbers help put the Northwest Illinois nonmetropolitan area into the top five for pay among rural areas nationwide.
Salaries at the Agencies Employing 911 Dispatchers in Illinois
Chicago is the heart of emergency 911 service for Illinois, with more than 2,000 dispatchers working in the region. The spike in violent crime in the region beginning in 2016 has tested the entire chain of emergency communications, but a drop of nearly 15 percent in the murder rate since then is an indication that their hard work may be paying off.
Chicago-Naperville-Elgin – Includes:
- Chicago Office of Emergency Communication
- Municipal Consolidated Dispatch
- E-com Dispatch Center
- Addison Consolidated Dispatch Center
- Joliet Communications
- De Kalb County Sheriff’s Office
- Cencom E9-1-1
- 10th percentile: $15.95/hr / $33,170
- Median: $25.62/hr / $53,290
- 90th percentile: $38.02/hr / $79,070
Chicago doesn’t just have the highest employment level for dispatchers in the state, but it’s also #2 nationally. That’s because, despite increasing amounts of consolidation, there are more than 100 active PSAPs remaining in the area.
Peoria – Includes:
- City of Peoria Emergency Communications Center
- Stark County Sheriff
- Tazewell County Communications Center
- 10th percentile: $15.28/hr / $31,790
- Median: $20.33/hr / $42,300
- 90th percentile: $25.66/hr / $53,360
The Peoria ECC handles police, fire, and EMS dispatch for both the city and county of Peoria, and has installed a reverse dial Emergency Notification System capable of contacting up to 50,000 residents per hour.
West Central Illinois nonmetropolitan area – Includes:
- Canton Police Department
- Cass County 9-1-1
- West Central Joint Emergency Telephone Board System
- Pike County Sheriff’s Department
- 10th percentile: $11.31/hr / $23,520
- Median: $17.96/hr / $37,360
- 90th percentile: $28.07/hr / $58,380
West Central ETSB runs West Central Dispatch out of Jacksonville, serving 13 different agency partners across Morgan, Greene, and Calhoun counties.
A Full Breakdown of 911 Dispatcher Salaries Across Illinois
Chicago may have the highest concentration of dispatchers, but it’s Springfield that comes in first for median salary in Illinois, delivering $60,070 ($28.88/hr) to most dispatchers. But even Springfield gets beat out in the upper 90th percentile, where the Northwest Illinois nonmetropolitan area pays $80,410, or $38.66/hr to the cream of the crop.
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_il.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 Illinois Department of Employment Security 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.