Pennsylvania is a swiftly aging state, so having a strong and efficient 911 system is vital, not only for all the state’s residents, but also for the state’s senior population, who often need the assistance of first responders for health-related emergencies. Of Pennsylvania’s 12.8 million residents, 2.9 million are age 60 and older. By 2020, this number is projected to increase by 25%.
Employment projections for the state’s 911 operators reflect this growing need for emergency communication services in the Keystone State. According to the PA Department of Labor, Center for Workforce Information and Analysis, there were 3,640 911 operators in 2016; by 2026, this number is projected to increase to 3,850 – an increase of 5.8%.
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Work as a 911 operator in Pennsylvania and, chances are, you’ll earn more than the national average. 911 dispatchers here earn a median salary of $41,780 – or about $2,000 more than the national average. Those in the top 10% earn $55,640.
Agencies and Jurisdictions Employing Dispatchers in Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania’s 911 system is managed by the PA Emergency Management Agency (PEMA), which includes 69 PSAPs spread throughout the state’s 67 counties. In 2015 (the latest year stats were available), more than 9 million calls were received through the state’s PSAPs.
The Philadelphia metro area leads the state with 1,790 emergency operators, and Pittsburgh comes in second, with 790 operators. The Allentown metro area takes the lead, however, in terms of median salary – $46,170, with Philadelphia coming in a close second, at $45,530.
Philadelphia-Camden-Wilmington, PA-NJ-DE-MD includes:
- City Of Philadelphia
- U.S. Navy Philadelphia
- 10th percentile: $15.65/$32,550
- Median: $21.89/$45,530
- 90th percentile: $29.64/$61,650
- Pittsburgh Department Of Public Safety
- County Of Allegheny 9-1-1
- Allegheny County Emergency Management
- 10th percentile: $12.67/$26,350
- Median: $20.75/$43,150
- 90th percentile: $27.62/$57,440
- Dauphin County Emergency Management Agency
- 10th percentile: $13.24/$27,530
- Median: $19.38/$40,320
- 90th percentile: $27.58/$57,360
Allentown-Bethlehem-Easton, PA-NJ includes:
- Allentown Police Department
- Northampton County 9-1-1 Center
- Bethlehem Police Department
- 10th percentile: $17.50/$36,390
- Median: $22.20/$46,170
- 90th percentile: $28.04/$58,320
Where 911 Operators Earn the Most: Examining Pennsylvania’s Metro Areas
The Philadelphia metro area is where the highest earners are found, with the top 10% earning $61,650, although the Allentown-Bethlehem-Easton and Lancaster metro areas are close behind, at $58,320 and $58,760, respectively.
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_pa.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 Pennsylvania Department of Labor, Center for Workforce Information and Analysis 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.