Salaries for 911 Operators in Tennessee

Professional opportunities for 911 operators are abundant in Tennessee, thanks to a growing population. Tennessee has experienced a 5.8 increase in its population since 2010, making it one of the top 20 states in the U.S. for population growth. During this period, the state added nearly 370,000 residents. In 2017 alone, the population of the Volunteer State rose by 1%, which was its largest one-year increase since 2010.


And when there’s a growth in population, there’s an increased demand for 911 operators. According to the Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development, there were 2,520 dispatchers in 2016; by 2026, this number is projected to increase by 9.1%, to 2,750.

911 operators here earn a median salary of $16.97/$35,290, while those in the top 10% earn $54,010.

Agencies and Jurisdictions Employing Dispatchers in Tennessee

The Tennessee Emergency Communications Board oversees the state’s 911 system, which includes 142 PSAPs that receive about 275,000 calls each month.

The largest number of 911 operators (580) work in the Nashville metro area, while Memphis metro region comes out on top with its $42,590 median salary for these professionals. The Memphis area also comes in second for its number of 911 operators (430).

Nashville-Davidson–Murfreesboro—Franklin includes:

  • Nashville / Davidson County Emergency Communications Center
    • 10th percentile: $13.37/$27,820
    • Median: $17.90/$37,230
    • 90th percentile: $26.93/$56,010

Chattanooga includes:

  • Chattanooga Police Department
  • East Ridge Police Department
  • Hamilton County Sheriff’s Department
  • Hamilton County 9-1-1 Emergency Communications District
    • 10th percentile: $11.91/$24,780
    • Median: $16.60/$34,530
    • 90th percentile: $21.20/$44,090

Knoxville includes:

  • Knoxville Police Department
  • Knox County 9-1-1
  • Marion County Sheriff’s Office
    • 10th percentile: $12.75/$26,520
    • Median: $17.19/$35,760
    • 90th percentile: $26.68/$55,480

Memphis includes:

  • Crittenden County Communication Center
  • Memphis Police Department
  • Shelby County Communications
    • 10th percentile: $10.56/$21,960
    • Median: $20.48/$42,590
    • 90th percentile: $28.84/$59,980

911 Operators in Tennessee: What They Earn in the Metro and Non-Metro Areas of the State

From the largest metro areas of Nashville and Memphis to the smaller metro areas of Kingsport-Bristol and Clarksville, 911 operator jobs abound in Tennessee. The highest paying 911 dispatchers are found in the Memphis area, where the top 10% earn $59,980, and in the Nashville area, where the top 10% earn $56,010.

Area Name
Employment
Hourly 25th percentile wage
Chattanooga
250
14.09
Clarksville
30
12.60
Jackson
60
13.88
Johnson City
80
12.55
Kingsport-Bristol-Bristol
30
13.43
Knoxville
270
14.37
Memphis
430
13.23
Morristown
50
13.06
Nashville-Davidson--Murfreesboro--Franklin
580
15.24

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_tn.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 Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce 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.

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