Minnesota’s Department of Employment and Economic Development expects an 8.1 percent growth rate in dispatcher positions across the state between 2016 and 2026. That’s right in line with the national average and will open up 140 positions a year, through a combination of new jobs and attrition.
One place the state is anything but average is in the salaries paid to 911 operators, though. The median salary here is $55,900 ($26.88/hr) according to 2018 Bureau of Labor Statistics data, more than $15,000 above the national median. In the top ten percent, dispatchers here pull down $76,390 ($36.73/hr), helping make this the fourth highest paying state in the nation for the role.
Salaries at the Agencies Employing 911 Dispatchers in Minnesota
Minnesota dispatchers are well-paid for a reason; their training and professionalism has carried them and their communities through numerous emergencies and saved countless lives. A combination of big cities and far-flung rural areas offers challenges that 911 operators here are well-equipped to meet.
Minneapolis-St. Paul – Includes:
- Anoka County Central Communications
- Dakota Communications Center
- Minneapolis Emergency Communications
- Hennepin County North
- Ramsey County Emergency Communications Center
- Washington County Sheriff’s Office
- 10th percentile: $21.28/hr / $44,260
- Median: $29.68/hr / $61,740
- 90th percentile: $37.69/hr / $78,390
With such highly paid dispatchers, Minneapolis citizens receive some of the best service in the nation. The Minneapolis 911 Center is regularly recognized by the APCO-NENA Minnesota chapter for outstanding efforts in service and lifesaving.
Northwest Minnesota nonmetropolitan area – Includes:
- Pennington County Sheriff
- Red Lake County Sheriff’s Department
- Beltrami County Sheriff’s Department
- Red Lake Indian Reservation Department Of Public Safety
- 10th percentile: $16.52/hr / $34,360
- Median: $21.11/hr / $43,910
- 90th percentile: $25.35/hr / $52,730
When a mass school shooting occurred on the Red Lake Indian Reservation in 2005, it wasn’t just tough on dispatchers for the usual reasons that such incidents are tough: it was also personal in that one of the victim’s, the shooter’s grandfather, was a veteran officer with the tribal police force. Professionalism and training carried the band’s emergency services through the horrific event.
Rochester – Includes:
- Olmsted County Sheriff Dispatch Center
- Dodge County Sheriff’s Office Dispatch Center
- 10th percentile: $20.85/hr / $43,370
- Median: $29.25/hr / $60,840
- 90th percentile: $37.62/hr / $78,250
Olmsted County’s Communication Center handles not only service for the rural parts of the county, but also handles all non-cellular calls from the city of Rochester and 90 percent of cellular 911 calls from the county overall.
Dispatcher Salaries Across The State of Minnesota
The median income for dispatchers in Minneapolis-St. Paul, at $61,740 ($29.68/hr), is very nearly the same as the top ten percent of dispatchers make nationwide! But it gets even better for the top ten percent in Minnesota, where both Rochester and MSP dispatchers beat out top earning dispatchers in the rest of the country by more than $14,000 a year.
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_mn.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 Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development 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.