South Dakota’s booming population makes it a prime destination for 911 operators looking for exciting professional opportunities. After all, an increasing population results in an increasing number of calls into the state’s 911 system, which in turn increases the demand for 911 dispatchers.
South Dakota’s population gains continue to earn this state recognition as the fastest growing state in the Midwest. And while recent stats show that growth has slowed down in the past year, it’s growing at a rate of about 1.2 percent – making it the 13th fastest growing state in the U.S.
According to the South Dakota Department of Labor and Regulation, there were 350 emergency operators in the state in 2016. By 2026, the number of dispatchers is projected to rise 2.9%.
The median salary for 911 dispatchers is $16.94/$35,240 in South Dakota, with the top 10% earning $49,010.
Agencies and Jurisdictions Employing Dispatchers in South Dakota
The 9-1-1 Coordinator within the South Dakota Department of Public Safety is responsible for the implementation and oversight of the state’s 911 system, which includes 32 PSAPs.
While the East South Dakota metropolitan area is home to the largest number of 911 dispatchers (160), the highest earners are located in Rapid City, where the median salary for these professionals is $41,020 – about $5,000 higher than the state average and about $1,000 higher than the national average.
Rapid City includes:
- Pennington County 9-1-1
- 10th percentile: $14.84/$30,860
- Median: $19.72/$41,020
- 90th percentile: $24.59/$51,150
East South Dakota nonmetropolitan area includes:
- Marshall County 911
- Roberts County Sheriff’s Office
- Brown County Communications
- Charles Mix County 911
- Brookings Police Department
- 10th percentile: $12.65/$26,320
- Median: $15.56/$32,370
- 90th percentile: $21.66/$45,050
West South Dakota nonmetropolitan area includes:
- Butte County Dispatch Center
- Lawrence County Sheriff’s Office
- Meade County Telecom
- 10th percentile: $13.34/$27,750
- Median: $16.40/$34,110
- 90th percentile: $19.03/$39,590
Who Earns What and Where: Salaries and Employment Level for 911 Operators in South Dakota
In South Dakota, the largest number of 911 operators are located in the state’s eastern section – 160 – although the highest paying area for these professionals is Rapid City, where the top 10% earn $51,150 – that’s $6,000-$12,000 more than in other parts of the state.
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_sd.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 South Dakota Department of Public Safety 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.