The Massachusetts Department of Unemployment Assistance expects around 240 openings for 911 operators to become available annually between 2016 and 2026, the result of turnover and a 5.6 percent growth rate.
Although that job growth rate is less than the national average, when it comes to salaries, Massachusetts dispatchers have something to brag about… the $47,950 ($23.05/hr) median salary is more than $7,000 above the national median. At the high end, the top ten percent in the state make $63,850 ($30.70/hr).
Salaries at the Agencies Employing 911 Dispatchers in Massachusetts
Massachusetts’ strange patchwork of dispatch centers and jurisdictions is a legacy of the state abolishing eight of its only fourteen county governments in the late 1990s… without necessarily removing associated emergency services agencies. Consequently, many small towns operate their own PSAPs throughout the state, typically with the police department responsible for managing police, fire, and EMS for the township.
Boston-Cambridge-Nashua – Includes:
- Boston Police Department
- Metro North Regional Emergency Communications Center
- Chelsea Emergency Communications
- Norfolk County Emergency Communications Center
- Cambridge Emergency Communications
- 10th percentile: $17.71/hr / $36,840
- Median: $23.84/hr / $49,590
- 90th percentile: $32.28/hr / $67,150
With the fourth highest employment level for dispatchers in the country, the Boston region is a patchwork of PSAPs. Boston itself is a typical example, with the BPD handling fire and EMS calls along with police services. Some cities, like Revere and Winthrop with the Metro North RECC, have combined dispatch centers, however.
Springfield – Includes:
- Springfield Police Department
- Northampton Communications
- Amherst Communications
- Holyoke Police
- 10th percentile: $16.27/hr / $33,840
- Median: $21.67/hr / $45,070
- 90th percentile: $27.90/hr / $58,040
The Springfield area is typical of the state, with most towns handling their own dispatch services through the police department, although Northampton reverses the trend by handling 911 calls, including for police and EMS, through the fire department dispatch center.
Worcester – Includes:
- Wachusett Regional Communications Center
- Worcester Emergency Communications Department
- South Worcester County Communications Center
- Nashoba Valley Regional Dispatch District
- Oxford Police Department
- 10th percentile: $17.06/hr / $35,480
- Median: $22.64/hr / $47,080
- 90th percentile: $29.60/hr / $61,560
More consolidation has occurred in central Massachusetts, with towns like Holden and Princeton merging into the Wachusett RCC, or eight different communities in the Nashoba Valley combining into a single regional dispatch center.
A Full Breakdown of 911 Dispatcher Salaries Across Massachusetts
Somewhat surprisingly, Barnstable Town has the highest median salary for any area in Massachusetts, with dispatchers there making $54,070 ($26.00/hr), $14,000 over the national median. But it’s Boston where the top of the ticket pulls in the dough, with earners in the top ten percent making $67,150 a year ($32.28/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_ma.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 Massachusetts Department of Unemployment Assistance 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.